It was a seminal moment for Sam. There was no turning back. He walked into his manager’s office and handed in his resignation. It felt incredibly freeing and the culmination of so many years of effort.
Several hours later, Sam was called into his manager’s manager’s office. The executive wanted to let Sam know what a valued employee he was, if he would consider changing his mind, what a great member of the team he was, and the fantastic quality of his work.
Sam was grateful for the training in maintaining a neutral expression he developed over the past few years. If not, he might have burst out laughing halfway into the conversation.
This was the same executive who had:
- Told him the body of his work was extremely poor, but so was everyone else’s who reported to him
- Ignored all the extra work he had done to keep the department going, and rated him average, affecting his raise and bonus
- Told him he wasn’t qualified for a promotion available in the department
- Told him that, in the executive’s previous position, his peers would have tossed out his work as being inferior
So, now being given such head turning compliments rang more than just a bit false with Sam. It was obvious that the executive was worried about who would do the work that he relied upon for his success, and wanted to keep Sam there and happy. Sadly, it was too late. For Sam, it wasn’t just a letter of resignation, but rather a declaration of independence.
Still, if Sam had any hesitation about leaving, the none-too-convincing performance by the executive erased it completely.
Simply said, if you want your employees to stay, then treat them as if you want them to stay. Don’t expect to rush in at the last minute with sweet words and expect the employee to come rushing back saying, “You had me at hello!”. Work is not a romantic comedy with a happy ending despite all the hardships that took place in the movie. As a manager, however, you should not make it a horror movie, either.
Pretty words don’t change ugly actions. Good managers make sure that they put actions behind the pretty words, so the pretty words are necessary at all.