Lessons from LeBron: Bad Break-Ups Can Damage Your Brand

The way someone leaves an organization says a lot about their character
and the repercussions of a poor exit may be felt for years to come.

Lessons from LeBron: Bad Break-Ups Can Damage Your BrandFor instance: Set aside your opinions about LeBron James’s basketball skills
and stop dreaming about what you’d buy with his salary. Instead, take a minute and consider his recent
exit from the Cleveland Cavaliers,
where he broke every rule in the career management book. Although on a much smaller scale, you’ve probably seen
similar behavior from exiting colleagues.  

LeBron offers us some valuable lessons:

  • Respect your boss: Your boss shouldn’t hear about your departure
    through the rumor mill, a Tweet, a Facebook post or another employee. Once you’ve decided to leave, tell your boss, in
    person, before you share the news with
    co-workers. Your boss deserves to hear the news directly from you, even if you
    didn’t always see eye-to-eye.
  • Be gracious: Even if you’re very angry, remain
    composed and professional and thank your boss for the opportunity. It’s okay to
    offer some constructive criticism if asked, but be selective in what you say,
    and don’t engage in personal attacks. Anyone can damage their brand through a
    bad exit, and taking the high road actually increases your value.
  • Keep a low profile: Don’t boast about your new job to
    colleagues or try to recruit them before you leave. Remember, some of them like
    their jobs and the company, and they might be offended by your comments and
    behavior. You never know when your paths may cross again, and a former
    co-worker could certainly put the kybosh on a future opportunity. If colleagues
    express an interest in joining you, wait until you leave the company before
    contacting them.
  • Be humble: Do you need a healthy dose of
    self-confidence? Absolutely. Are you irreplaceable? Probably not. Arrogance and
    overconfidence put people off and can lead to a career downfall. Be humble when
    describing your new opportunity, so others will respect your decision and won’t
    resent your success.

— Leslie Stevens-Huffman

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