6 Questions to Answer Before You Resign

It is never an easy decision for leaders to leave their jobs. In fact many leaders stew with their feelings of uncertainty of whether or not to stay or go for periods of time before taking action. And that’s a good thing. Making a quick or impulsive decision to resign from an organization can sometimes lead to “buyers remorse”. What that means is when a leader exits a work situation without looking inwards and doesn’t take the time to ask themselves some critical questions, they may regret their choice. Does this really happen? Yes! This is what happened to several individuals I worked with recently. Do any of these comments strike a bell with you? “I can’t stay one more day or I will go nuts!” “There is absolutely no reason to drag this out. My mind is made up.” “It’s either my boss or me who needs to go.” “I just don’t understand what else they want from me.” Before a leader makes the big move to jump ship from a team they might want to look inside themselves and do some helpful inquiry. After all, what is the rush?

Six questions to answer before you resign:

1. What Are The True Facts?

This first question can often set a leader straight about why their job situation is falling apart. Step back from your workplace and make a list of what is not working. Think about the successes and challenges of your work world. Reflect on both the job responsibilities as well as on the people that you come into contact with each day.
  • Are there some time management or personal organization challenges?
  • Is there enough clarity in your role responsibilities?
  • Do you possess the best skills mix to accomplish your assignments?

2. What Emotions Are Driving This Decision?

An equally important question for a leader to delve into is whether emotions play a part in their choice to resign. What can sometimes happen is that we become overwhelmed with our workload and are not able to see clearly what can be adjusted. We leap to the conclusion that we are not happy or valued and therefore must leave. So take a deep dive into whether you are resigning because the job really isn’t working or you are just not feeling part of the team. Are tears rolling down your face just thinking about your work environment? It is probably not in our best interests to lead with our emotions.

3. If I Could Redesign My Job What Would It Look Like?

This is an incredibly empowering question that leaders can ask before they walk out the door of their company. When we take the opportunity to think about changing our job responsibilities we help our organizations play to our interests and strengths. Ask yourself:
  • What tasks make sense for me to keep and which ones could I delegate?
  • What new assignments could develop my skills and knowledge?
  • Which of my talents or gifts are not being best utilized in my current work situation?
  • What is missing from my job to make it more fulfilling?

4. Who Should I Speak With To Discuss My Options?

Each leader should seek out trusting advisers in their organizations before resigning. This step has saved many leaders from leaving unnecessarily and eventually finding a meaningful reboot of their job. A mentor or advocate who has our best interests in mind can be invaluable in helping us find stretch opportunities and assignments.

5. What Is My Best Timing To Leave?

Knowing the best time to leave can also impact our decision. Conducting a proper analysis will lead us to choose more deliberately. On the other hand, some situations that may not be the best times to resign may be:
  • When we have a new boss and they are still figuring out their direction.
  • During a change or transition of team responsibilities.
  • Right after a big blow out with a colleague or boss.

6. How Can I Avoid Burning Bridges?

The final question before resigning is assuring yourself that you are not destroying relationships when you resign. This is a critical step as many leaders know because we often reconnect with past team members and bosses as we move along in our careers. Team members today can be our future bosses. Always leave graciously and professionally. What additional questions have you answered before resigning a position? How has asking those questions changed your mind about resigning?