Leaving a company: 20 mistakes to avoid

Leaving a company: 20 mistakes to avoid

Leaving a company: 20 mistakes to avoid


A departure negotiation is a fight in which weapons are words and a lot of steps. As the same causes produce the same effects most of the time, knowing your possible mistakes and avoiding them dramatically increases the odds in your favor to hit your objectives.

A company you want to leave or asking you to leave will always seek the best profitability in this process i.e. minimize the severance package, the HR, legal & reputation costs as well as the impact on the staying team), and you will always seek the highest deal in severance package, reference, relationship protection for the future …

Everything will be dictated by those opposite objectives and your mistakes will be exploited by the other party should they spot them. So, to identify these potential mistakes and to avoid them is of the upmost importance to reach your objectives.


Here are the most common mistakes in this context.

  • Think that the principle of the negotiation is a God-given
  • Cut corners
  • Disclose your cards
  • Negotiate before locking the process
  • Make the case “public” during the negotiation
  • Ignore the hierarchy
  • Fall into paternalism and an emotional relationship
  • Believe that the company owes you
  • Directly threaten your employer
  • Talk to more than one counterpart at the same time
  • Rush things out
  • Get into a polemic
  • Not understanding your counterpart’s problem
  • Appear as an opportunistic bounty hunter
  • Make it a personal case
  • Make illegitimate or far-fetched requests or demands
  • Be disrespectful
  • Make it a case of principle
  • Negotiate alone


A good coaching details them all but let’s look at the first 2 for the purpose of this article.

Think that the principle of the negotiation is a God-given.

It is a very common mistake coming from the belief that the company has a natural interest into negotiating a deal.

In a layoff case for example, the employee can come forward with the belief that a package is a God-given. If the company coldly replies “What makes you think we want to negotiate?” then the belief was an illusion and the feelings / emotions felt at that time gravely compromise any future negotiations.

In other words, it is necessary to prior establish a balanced negotiation ground meaning creating a ratio of power in which the company won’t see clearly what your cards are and, in any case, won’t suspect that you game is poor and that you hesitate to play it. Otherwise, why would they accept to negotiate?

On the other side, if the company thinks that the power balance is too much in your favor then they may not want to negotiate either on the ground that what you’re going to ask them is far above what they would have to pay you on a legal battle.

So, there will be negotiation if the parties have the feeling that it’s a 50/50.

Cut corners

Being too sure and cut corners negatively impacts a negotiation success!

Here are the major steps:

  • Clarify your objectives: you’re going to fight, but to obtain what from it exactly?
  • Establish a strategy: this will be the guideline of all your actions and initiatives
  • Create an action plan: this about tactics, timing, execution …
  • Prepare meetings, prepare meetings, prepare meetings!
  • Lead the negotiation: support your claims with tangible elements


Maybe you won’t avoid all these mistakes but to know they exist and prepare for them not to occur, will make you conscious and much more in control of the process.

To know more on the topic of 20 mistakes to avoid or regarding how to negotiate your departure, please use the enclosed contact form.

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