An expansion on yesterday. There’s a lesson in it.
Monday mornings start with an all staff meeting followed by an inspiration session in the boardroom. But that’s not important right now.
Once I’d settled down at my desk, my boss came over to me and asked for a catchup, hovering awkwardly enough to indicate that we were to find somewhere quiet, so off we went. I had no doubt this was regarding my resignation last Tuesday.
We sat down and, after a tiny bit of pleasantry, he asked me why I was leaving. I gave him the three main reasons. They’re not important to this post, but I might talk about them another time.
While I was talking to him, quite frankly as I do, about the reasons, he asked if my decision was final; was there a chance I’d change my mind. This question really knocked me for six. He went on to ask whether I was looking for something more managerial or for a leadership role.
I wasn’t sure at this point whether he was trying to see if there was something they could do to keep me, or whether he wanted me to want something this company couldn’t provide, therefore making my departure inevitable, not personal.
I assured him that yes, my decision was final, after all, I had resigned a week ago. I was surprised at the length of time that had passed since my resignation - today being the first day he talked to me about it.
I also told him that I didn’t want a management role - I’m a software developer and I love developing software. I would only take on a leadership role if my main duty was still developing.
The thing that surprised me most though, throughout the conversation, is that when I broached the subject of not feeling supported by the company, and especially by him, he took it all rather well. My boss is a self confessed passive aggressive. He describes his management style as passive aggressive, and every conversation I’ve had with him in the past has resulted in him becoming intensely defensive and flustered. So why was it that this time he was sitting there listening, taking “some of my comments on board” and even taking responsibility and apologising for any contribution to my decision to leave?
I don’t believe this is the right time to speculate on the reasons, but whatever they were, there are lessons to learn here.
- The time to start listening and taking responsibility for your actions is now.
- You cannot manage all the people in your life the same way, different people respond to different styles.
- Don’t wait to ask for what you want - the opportunity might be gone tomorrow
- Passive aggressive isn’t a management style, it’s a personality trait marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes and passive, usually disavowed resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations.
He thanked me for my time, and for my honesty. When I told him “any time,” he quipped “I know” with a raised eyebrow. Conversely, at the end of the work day, the national managing director asked me for a chat, and I told him the same and more. He listened, thanked me and we arranged for him to do my formal exit interview next week. This is a man who is always ready to listen, has the best interests of the company at heart and appreciated my frankness, openness and authenticity. I have a lot of time for this man.