Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: This is the absolute best way to quit a job

How to quit your job without burning any bridges

Whether you're leaving a job you love or a job you hate, it's important to depart on good terms with your boss and colleagues.

Employers rely heavily on your professional recommendations during the hiring process, and so bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch emphasizes that you should never quit your job in a way that could "haunt your career for years to come."

"It's good manners to leave gracefully," she tells CNBC Make It. "It's smart business to leave generously."

To ensure that you resign from a company without burning any bridges, Welch suggests taking these three steps:

1. Eliminate the element of surprise

It may not be possible to give your current employer ample notice about your departure, but Welch says you never want to exit a company without some level of warning.

The night before you plan to discuss your resignation, Welch says you should email your boss with the subject line "My future." In the email, she suggests giving a heads up about the meeting that needs to take place by saying something like, "I hope we can sit down tomorrow for a conversation about my future with Acme Corp."

This way, she says, your manager has at least 12 hours to process the idea of you leaving the company. When it's time for the meeting to take place, Welch warns that you should avoid being too honest about any negative dimensions of the organization that may have led you to look elsewhere.

"Everyone you've worked with can be a reference down the road," she says. "Stay positive. When it comes to telling your boss why you're leaving, less is definitely more."

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2. Make the transition easy for your replacement

To avoid having your exit leave a huge void within the company, Welch says you should offer to accommodate any chaos or disruption that may take place after you leave. She suggests writing an "operating manual" for your replacement, so they have a guide that will fast-track their acclimation to the role.

Or, she says you can offer to be on call to that person for three months to help answer any questions or concerns they may have.

"Softening the blow from your departure could pay dividends in the future," she says. "Business is an island, and it's smaller than you think. You see almost everyone again."

3. Express gratitude

Welch says that showing your appreciation to your employer and colleagues can go a long way. Even if you're excited about leaving a company you hate, she suggests telling your boss, "Thank you for the opportunity to work here. It's been an incredible experience both personally and professionally."

While quitting your job may be one of the hardest things you have to do, Welch says that using these strategies will help make the experience better "for your company, for you and for your future."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker.

Video by Richard Washington

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