How to mitigate an employee’s toxic exit behavior

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7 ways to better manage a bad exit



How do you handle “bad good-byes” without making the situation worse?

In a previous episode of “Aim Higher,” we discussed how to leave a job on the right foot—managing both the process and people with grace. Today, I’m tackling the issue of how managers and leaders can best handle an employee who leaves in a way that is, shall we say, “less than exemplary.”



What does that look like? It can include any or all the following:

  • Spreading rumors on the way out
  • Bad mouthing the company
  • Criticizing colleagues
  • Sharing confidential information
  • Criticizing policies and practices
  • Disrespectful behavior
  • Undermining goals



Many people think, “Well, that’s logical. If someone is leaving, they must be unhappy or have good reasons, and they may be upset at leadership or colleagues.” If those things are true? Well, then, as a leader, you have some serious work to do. Because if those problems are real, your culture and systems should be able to identify and help people long before leaving becomes the best option.

Whatever the reasons, though, I want you to think of someone’s departure—even if it comes with some unpleasantness—as an opportunity. Because this may be your last chance to create something good from the relationship. You’re the boss. You’re sticking around. It’s up to you to make a difference in this situation.

Here are seven ways to do that:

  1. Stay professional
  2. Acknowledge the decision
  3. Ask about concerns
  4. Ask for feedback
  5. Offer support
  6. Address misconceptions
  7. End on a positive, professional note

In the end? You may retain an important colleague. At worst, you will have demonstrated an admirable level of professionalism during a difficult time.



Listen in for more details.




Image Credit: Junseong Lee


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