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How to Tell Your Boss You Will Move to Another Department

by Lisa McQuerrey

Moving from one department to another in your company can create an awkward situation between you and your direct supervisor. You may be uncomfortable approaching the subject with your boss, particularly if you're leaving the department because you didn't feel challenged in your position or because of conflict with your boss or co-workers. Be professional and respectful in how you handle this transitional scenario.

Provide Notice

Give your boss plenty of lead time to process your departure, just as you would if you were leaving the company for another job. If you're making an in-house transfer, have accepted a promotion, or have interviewed for an internal position and got the job, explain the circumstances of your move. Give your notice in writing and make arrangements to finish work projects. If the boss asks, be willing to train someone else to fill your position.

Answer Tough Questions

Your boss may know why you're leaving, or, it may take him by surprise. Be prepared for your manager to ask why you're leaving. Be honest yet professional in how you respond. Talk about the potential for new professional opportunities with the internal move. If the boss asks if you're leaving because of conflict or a lack of professional development opportunities, be careful in the way you respond. You'll still be working for the same company, and it's in your best interest to maintain a cordial relationship with your boss even after you leave.

Scenarios to Avoid

Resist the urge to give your manager a rundown of all the reasons you no longer want to work for him. Even if you're making an in-house transfer because you had a personality conflict with your boss or didn't feel you were well-managed, being blunt about it won't allow you to leave on good terms. In fact, if your boss is angry, he could poison others’ perception of you. If there were significant problems with your manager that prompted your departmental move, bring them to the attention of your human resources office when you complete your transitional paperwork.

Colleagues and Clients

Your colleagues and customers are sure to notice your absence, and since you're still working for the same business, there’s a good chance they'll question you about your move. Again, resist the urge to speak poorly of your previous boss. Doing so makes you look petty and unprofessional. Instead, find an appropriate, neutral response and repeat it as necessary. “It was a great opportunity to look at my profession from a different angle,” or, “I was looking for new challenges.”

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