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Managing to Make a Difference by Larry Sternberg

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Chapter 42Never Badmouth Top Performers Who Resign

Even extraordinary teams are not perfectly stable. Occasionally you have to let someone go. On the flip side, occasionally one of your top people resigns. It is understandable that a manager feels unhappy when a top performer resigns. The employee is intentionally ending the relationship, so there is an element of personal rejection involved, especially in cases in which the manager has invested heavily in that person's development. Also, the manager needs to replace that person now, which could be a daunting challenge given that the person is so good. As a result, the top performer who resigns is often treated poorly. Sometimes, after the employee has left, the manager may speak negatively about that person. What are the consequences of these types of behavior?

Remember, other employees pay close attention in these situations. Before the resignation, it is likely that the manager spoke highly of this person. If that same manager now speaks poorly about that person after he or she leaves, the manager's reputation is diminished. Employees can readily see that such behavior is both unprofessional and unnecessary. Respect for the manager is diminished. Trust is also diminished.

When trust is diminished, employees may begin to worry that if they give a standard notice of resignation, the manager may terminate them immediately, causing economic hardship. So when they are exploring career possibilities outside the company, they keep ...

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