Dealing with the Feels After an Employee Quits

October 25, 2021

If you’ve invested in someone you manage, it’s natural to feel hurt when that person tells you they’re leaving. Yet the classic management advice is: Don’t take it personally. Be professional. Acknowledging your feelings and working through them — for yourself and with your team — is actually part of being an emotionally intelligent, compassionate leader.

Five managers, including Amy B, share their experiences of losing team members and how they’ve learned to cope with the shock, sadness, and stress.


Nicole Smith is HBR’s editorial audience director.

Maureen Hoch is the editor of and the supervising editor of Women at Work.


  • “Your Star Employee Just Quit. Will Others Follow?” by Art Markman
  • “Never Say Goodbye to a Great Employee,” by Tammy Erickson
  • “How to Lose Your Best Employees,” by Whitney Johnson
  • “When an Employee Quits and You Didn’t See It Coming,” by Rebecca Knight
  • “With So Many People Quitting, Don’t Overlook Those Who Stay,” by Debbie Cohen and Kate Roeske-Zummer

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A complete transcript of this episode will be available by November 1.

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