How to Say Goodbye to a Manager

by Wendy Lau

Whether the terms of your manager's departure are due to a layoff or at his own will, saying goodbye doesn't come easy. It doesn't matter whether you have a good working relationship with him or not because the good bye should be done professionally and with grace. You don't know if you may need him to serve as a reference for you in the future or if you both will cross paths again.


Emotions can arise on both sides whenever a manager leaves the job. Whether you've worked with her for several years or for a short amount of time, take a moment to speak with her privately. It helps bring closure to the situation and allows each side to hand off genuine last words. You can bring up unique and positive experiences shared together and note how you will always remember it and share any words of appreciation you have for her. This is also an appropriate time to mention you wish to stay in contact, if that's what you want. Share your personal email address with her or suggest staying in contact through LinkedIn.

Goodbye Meal

Under most scenarios of a manager's departure, it's appropriate to arrange for a goodbye lunch or dinner along with other co-workers. The only exception to this is if it was a layoff and your manager must leave immediately. Gather together a group of colleagues who have worked closely with your manager and request for your manager's attendance. This is a time where everyone can casually dine and discuss memorable moments together at work and wish your manager a successful future ahead.

Goodbye Card

A goodbye card is something your manager can look back at, so keep your message simple and upbeat. It’s a takeaway piece that can reflect the message you present in-person to your manager before her departure. To make the card even more meaningful for your manager, you may ask your co-workers to sign the card so it's a collective piece your manager can take away.

Goodbye Gift

To keep the relationship with your manager amicable, you may also present him with a goodbye gift. The point of the gift is to show that you care. It can be used to express your appreciation for the experience together or to simply wish him the best in the road ahead. Select a gift he can enjoy. It can be wine or a gift card to his favorite coffee shop. Your manager will appreciate and remember your thoughtfulness.

About the Author

Wendy Lau entered the communication field in 2001. She works as a freelance writer and prior to that was a PR executive responsible for health care clients' written materials. Her writing experience include technical articles, corporate materials, online articles, blogs, byline articles, travel itineraries and business profile listings. She holds a Bachelor of Science in corporate communications from Ithaca College.

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