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Saying Goodbye

Jeff Watt | 09.11.2020

Any departure of a valued member of staff or a key client is disheartening but your response is just as important. Putting emotions aside and taking a positive approach will ultimately benefit both parties in the long term.

All the talk of concession over the past few days got me thinking about parting with good grace. From the examples here, outgoing US President George HW Bush writing to Bill Clinton: “Your success is now our country’s success. I am rooting for you”, is a particular highlight for me.

Now, not for a moment am I equating handing over the job of leader of the free world to some of the losses we might experience in a PR consultancy, but the departure of a valued member of staff or a key client happens, and how you respond to a setback like this is important.

No matter what you feel (anger, sadness, rejection, a sense of being let-down), my view is that it’s best to accept it as a fact of working life. It should lead to a period of reflection. Why did it happen? What could we have done to stop it from happening? It’s a good opportunity to learn about how to do things differently, maybe better, in the future.

And being magnanimous and wishing the person or company the best for the future is, in the long run, likely to leave you with a greater sense of well-being than giving into negative emotions.

In a small world like ours you never know when your paths may cross again. An experience that will almost certainly be more positive professionally if you found you could say ‘good luck’ when you parted.

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