Goodbye – Entrepreneurs Should Learn The Art Of Saying Goodbye


When a great employee decides to leave, it is difficult to say goodbye. 

Goodbye’s The Saddest Word. That is the title of a certain Celine Dion song. I do not know exactly when she sang it as I am not exactly a fan of hers. I honestly don’t even think I’ve actually listened to the song.

However, the title stuck in my head because it is a serious truth. And in every area of life, people say goodbye daily.

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I want to talk about the sort of goodbye that affects us as entrepreneurs and business people – people trying to build something of themselves. We have trusted employees, partners, colleagues and so on whom we’re forced to say goodbye to, most times without notice. A partner suddenly has a change of vision. A colleague/employee is offered a better opportunity elsewhere. A boss dismantles his business because he’s not seeing the returns he expected. How do you deal with that kind of ‘loss’?

I tend to think of businesses and companies – whether established or start up – as families. They are people who bond together over a common vision or goal; people who stand together because at some point, they all see the same thing and align around the same purpose. It can be hurtful when somebody decides to leave. Even though we tell ourselves often enough that “it’s just business,” we all know the truth. More often than not, it’s a whole lot more than that.

So how do you deal with that inevitable time when an important part of your dream decides they want to move on?

It’s always important to put things in perspective, so the first question asked is “Did I know he/she was planning to leave?”

If the news has always been expected, then both parties have enough time to prepare for it and smoothen the ground where necessary, so that things end in a cordial, friendly manner.

See Also: How to start a successful logistics business.

Another important question is “why is the person leaving?” It helps to know the reason behind such a move as there is a huge difference between a disgruntled employee and an ambitious one. One of them is dissatisfied with the way things are, the other one wants more. For one, it is personal; for the other, its career.

Knowing the reason can sometimes make all the difference.

Most of the places I worked in have been sole proprietorships. These people who own their own companies hardly stand on ceremony. It was always encouraged that whoever had issues should approach the oga and lay bare their minds. And if it is a situation that can be remedied, it will be remedied to the best of the oga’s ability. Many a major disaster were averted just because the boss had a listening ear. Even when the person eventually resolves to leave, it is usually on the best of terms.

It is not unusual to find an ex-employee still upset with his former boss and vice versa. But there are also cases of friendly relationships even after the business side of things is dead. I know of an employee who left a certain company three times and came back twice, and both times he was accepted with open arms. The last time he left, it was peaceable and friendly and in fact, he is still welcome there as I write this.

The kind of relationship established with employee matters. Some bosses are standoffish and unapproachable and it’s almost impossible to have a regular conversation with them. Some bosses cannot help but be partial with some employees not particularly because said employees are better than others but maybe that/those employee/employees cater(s) to their (bosses’) whims and caprices.

And sometimes, the oga still doesn’t learn – even after they lose key staff.

As said at the opening, people lose people daily and in all kinds of relationships, for all kinds of reasons. But putting in your best in all these different relationships makes things easier all around. Knowing that people leave, sometimes not because of bad blood, but because life happens and it can just be time to move on, can be a comforting thought. Always be kind to people in whatever way or whichever capacity they serve in your life. You most likely will meet them again.

Separation is not an end. It’s a part of the process.

Here, you will find how you say goodbye to a great employee. 

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