So, last week I told my two bosses that I am quitting my job and after that I e-mailed my resignation in writing to upper management, them and HR. In that e-mail I told them, as diplomatically but clearly as possible (thank you Mr Esther for helping edit the text!), why I am quitting my job. The bosses were clearly not amused by the text and micro-manager asked to speak to me. Mr Esther coached me to not be goaded into a fight, but to sit back and allow silences to fall where they may. The talk went something like this:
MM (Micro-Manager): A plan needs to be made for transferring your tasks to someone else.
Esther: Naturally (silence)
MM: Of course, we don’t know yet who will be taking over your tasks, we’ll have to get the team together to see who can do what, also in light of P who will be leaving as well (P just gave notice as well today! 🙂 ). We also need to look at the tasks left vacant by D who left last week. You need to make manuals, so others can know what to do.
Esther: Naturally (silence).
MM: I want this to end on a positive note.
Esther: Naturally. I don’t want to burden my colleagues with unfinished business if I can help it (silence).
MM: Also, I wanted to get back to the e-mail you sent to the top manager and HR.
MM: I didn’t appreciate it that you sent it to HR like that, writing out your reasons for leaving. People start talking from that. The impression has been created that you leaving is all my fault.
My face, in the meantime, was doing stuff like this:
MM: (backtracking a bit): Of course, you have every right to state your reasons for leaving… And it’s up to you who you send the e-mail to.
MM: I just want you to know I have the best intentions.
Esther: I don’t doubt your intentions.
MM: Maybe I didn’t handle everything right but the fact is only 3 of you from the 12 had problems with this…
MM: … and it is your choice to leave.
Esther: It is.
MM: There was no policy to get anyone to leave. I didn’t come here with the intention of thinning out the team.
MM: It’s a pity this happened this way, I came in with the best intention and just wanted to change things for the better.
Esther: I am sure you did. But if you find something is wrong, it would have been a courtesy to discuss the problem with the team instead of coming up with unilateral rules out of the blue that make no sense. Within the team we are all grown professionals and like to be heard and solve any perceived problem as a team.
MM: They were more like guidelines instead of rules.
MM: When I started here, you and the other two never gave me a chance. I just wanted what was best for the team. Everyone agreed it was necessary to have a team leader and no one else has a problem with me.
MM: You said a while back that you found my management style oppressive. I am sorry you felt that way, it was never meant to be that, I want to have a good relationship with my team.
Esther: I thought our initial meetings were alright, even if we didn’t see eye to eye on everything. Then you wrote up a report of our meeting for the personnel files and instead of it being a two-way representation of what we spoke about, as you promised, it was a top-down authoritarian report. Then, when I commented on it, it came back even more authoritarian. So no, that style did not fit me. After that you started hounding D and her contract was suspended due to faux ‘policy’ reasons and I didn’t feel comfortable here anymore.
MM: D was pregnant and tearful, so it was difficult to speak to her and explain to her why it was always clear that her contract would not be extended..
Esther: Sceptical, no-such-thing-was-ever-clear-look
MM: … and we had to keep on postponing our meetings with her because she couldn’t handle it. Maybe we should have shared with the team more openly why her contract wasn’t being extended.
Esther: D aside, the problem here is that no one knew of any of these policies or where these policies came from and suddenly someone is let go over them. Again, top-down management without consideration for the team. I suggest, for future reference, you let the team know these policy ideas even exist before using them as an excuse to let people go. Grown up professionals like to be consulted.
MM: I am only doing what’s best for the team.
MM: Maybe we could have been a little more open about things.
MM: Maybe we should just look forward now and make sure we end your time here on reasonable terms.
Esther: That may be best.
Letting someone who is angry just ventilate without saying much in return and allowing silences and facial expressions to speak for themselves works wonders. A meeting that had every potential of becoming an angry argument never became that and was over in just 15 minutes or so. I have heard before that my face is an open book and this talk confirmed that for me once again. There were many more things I could have said regarding that oppressive leadership style but there was no point. Condescension and passive aggressiveness worked just fine for me. So, we agree to disagree and move on. Just 8 more weeks to go now…