When is the right time to resign? This question was asked of me recently by somebody I met on a plane. I answered in a very non-committal way highlighting that there are a number of factors that lead to somebody resigning and that there is not one definitive answer. I was waffling, however I was trying to get a point across that there is not one single fail safe time to resign. My fellow passenger gave me a challenge; he asked me to think of the signs that show when people should consider resigning. So, in the spirit of always accepting a challenge, here is a list of signs the show that you should consider resigning:

  • You no longer respect your manager. Without doubt, this is the number one factor that leads to resignations. For me, it is also the most valid. A good leader makes tough circumstances bearable and occasionally challenging. A bad leader ensures that good employees feel totally disengaged and without purpose.
  • You can no longer achieve tangible results. I have seen this many times over the years. The most obvious visible sign is the person who is busy being busy and who tells their team how busy they are. Sadly, they are so busy I quitbuilding an external profile that they accomplish nothing. They may not realise it however it is probably best that they move on and re-energise.
  • Small things become big things. Internal conflicts are the most obvious manifestation of this and arguments can be over the most trivial matters. This becomes even more costly when many people are involved and factions divide a workforce.
  • Attending work becomes a chore. Your team member is regularly late. The first thing they do is plan their holidays for the whole year and ensure that they are maximising long weekends with scheduled leave days. Work becomes purely an extension of their social life and they no longer feel “the vibe”.
  • Money and job title are not reflecting the role. This isn’t as common as most would think however there are still occasions where job title and remuneration are valid reasons to leave. When people are looked over for internal promotions, people can look to remuneration and job title as the reason to leave.
  • Role ambiguity. People look to leave when they don’t know what is expected of them. They may be confused or not engaged to the overall business strategy and they feel isolated and not valued.

So, that is the list that I came up with. Each and every one of us will or have resigned at some time. It is not a bad thing usually, for the employee and the employer. For me though, as an employer, the challenge is now to read the signs better so that I can plan for it and manage it in a productive manner. Hopefully, this list may help you to open your eyes.

Brad McMahon – Managing Director

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