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Having a difficult conversation is a bit like giving a speech – most people will do whatever they can to avoid it. We’re being pushed outside of our comfort zone and feel unsure of the reaction we will get. Resigning in person to your direct report usually feels like it will be a difficult and stressful conversation in the lead up. This is understandable, but the good news is that it almost always goes better than you have imagined.

Here are some tips to help you feel confident.

1. Be Prepared

If you have a test that you’ve adequately studied for, you go into the exam with more confidence than if you hadn’t prepared. Being prepared is the first step in helping you feel more at ease while resigning in person. It’s important that you are aware of the resignation procedure. Do your homework to ensure you’re taking all the right steps and in their appropriate order. Our article on the resignation process can be found here. Once you have a plan for how you need to go about it, you’ll feel more confident.

2. Remember Your Boss Has Had These Conversations Before

Your direct report will most likely have experience with employee resignations. Remember to be polite and professional and most bosses will be understanding. Your Manager will want to discuss your transition plan at some point. Having done all the necessary preparation, you’ll be able to share your transition outline and ask what their expectations of you are prior to your departure.

3. Keep it Brief and Positive

A short, succinct outline of why you’re leaving and where you’re going to is best practice. If you start diving into all the reasons you’re leaving it could easily become negative and you’ll get your boss offside. You want to leave a last impression that’s positive. Even if you’re leaving because of systemic problems or issues you have with your boss, it’s best not to dig into these now as it will not serve you well. You might need your current boss to give you a reference one day, so be mindful of this. Additionally, you want to protect your reputation within your industry.

4. Be Mindful of When and Where You Time the Conversation

It’s a good idea to give yourself a window of time to resign ie. if you’re giving four weeks’ notice don’t plan to resign exactly four weeks from the day you need to leave. That way, if your Manager is unexpectedly away the day you planned to resign, you still have time to do so. Where you have the conversation is also important. Choose somewhere that is calm and quiet so that you can communicate clearly without interruption.

4. Work on Your Mindset

In the lead up to having a tricky conversation it’s easy for our minds to worry and start playing out worse case scenarios. Try to avoid doing this. It’s a good idea to exercise and/or meditate the morning of your resignation day to help you feel calmer. Remind yourself of all the positive reasons why you’re leaving so that you can feel confident and certain in your decision.