My Standard Reaction When Someone Quits

I have a basic policy…

I’ve held it almost as long as I’ve been in a management/leadership type of role…

Whether paid staff or volunteer…

If you come to me ready to resign…

I won’t attempt to talk you out of it…

I may try to:

  • Understand your heart
  • Make sure it’s not a knee jerk reaction
  • Make sure you aren’t being treated unfairly by someone else…
  • Make sure there are no misunderstandings between us…

But, if those check out, I won’t stand in your way…

I’ll simply encourage you as you move forward…

I’ve found that convincing a person to stay hardly ever works…

You’ll tend to never be satisfied again…

If your heart has already left our vision….

Am I wrong?

Leader, what do you do when someone quits?

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13 thoughts on “My Standard Reaction When Someone Quits

  1. Ron…fully agree. I also never try to change someone's mind who says, "The Lord is calling me elsewhere." I tell them that I trust their walk with the Lord, clarify if there are things also "pushing" them to leave, and then ask how I can pray for them. Those who were bluffing may be surprised, but who wants a bluffer to stay, or worse, to argue with God's will?

    • That's a great question, and I should have mentioned that I've had just as many not quit as quit in these issues, because there are lots of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and knee-jerk reactions. In those cases, I still don't talk them out of it necessarily, but I do make sure they are thinking rationally, have all the facts and are not action strictly on emotions. And, I make sure they know I don't want them to quit…unless I do! 🙂
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  2. "Let them go if they no longer want to be part of things".

    Thats usually not the case when someone leaves a position at a church. far more often it is someone who started with fire and energy who has been disheartened by something that has occurred. Even in the secular world its the same.

    Your right people don't usually just decide to quit one day, but it is rarely because they just don't want to be part of something. It'salmost always because of something that happened more times than not.

    So the advice given by Ron is sound yes, but i think I would add that one needs to remember that you may never find out the real reason someone is leaving. Especially if your the issue and they feel they can't tell you.

  3. I have seen leaders accepting resignation without any questions. They never try to understand the reasons behind the decisions or the logic behind the employees' decision. I do not expect a leader to convince a person to stay but atleast he should be try to know why that person is leaving?

    • Yes, absolutely. And, I believe in exit interviews, trying to learn what we can from the exit.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  4. Solid & wise advice. For the most part, people don’t just quit one day. They have reasons that have been developing for a long time. Let them go if they no longer want to be part of things. Life is too short and our staff teams are too important to waste time with the half-hearted. Go with the goers and don’t get distracted by the rest.

  5. An offer to resign can be simply a cry for help – there may be personal issues, there may be resource issues, the individual may simply fee powerless to negotiate what they need in terms of resources or compensation other than to exercise such a “nuclear option.” Finally, you may be the issue, not them.

    I’d call your approach a “rule of thumb,” but not a hard and fast rule, and I would certainly put in a lot extra getting ALL the facts before I accepted a resignation from someone that was performing reasonably well.