Stepping down as a manager

Stepping down as a manager

17 January 2023
Veerle Seymus
Veerle Seymus
  • Debunking myths: moving from a boss to an individual contributor doesn't torpedo your career!

  • Depending on the circumstances, stepping down as a manager can be a positive career move. You might choose to step down from a managerial role for many reasons. It could be due to a desire to move into a different career field, take on a new challenge, or have more flexibility in your work schedule.

    Or if you feel overwhelmed or burned out in your current role. According to research, middle managers' fallout due to burnout is 43%, senior management 37%, and executives 32%. So hell yes, consider leaving your management job to help solve your (future) burnout.

    Jacinda Ardern recently resigned as prime minister
    because she no longer has a full tank. Take that as an example.

    Taking a break from management can allow you to recharge and refocus, and you may find that you can better contribute to your organization in a different capacity. It may allow you to take on new challenges, gain new skills, or pursue other interests. It can also allow you to focus on your own personal and professional development, which can help you grow and advance in your career.

    Whether resigning as a manager torpedoes your career or not will depend on various factors, including your personal goals, the nature of the job change, and the support and opportunities available to you in your new role. Ultimately, the impact of stepping down as a manager on your career will depend on your goals and the circumstances of your departure. It is possible to have a successful and fulfilling career after stepping down from a managerial role, but it may require some adjustments and a shift in focus.

  • Tips when communicating your motivation and decision to stop being a manager

    1. Remove your self-limiting beliefs: view this as a step forward, not backward. If you don't enjoy your current role but refuse to make room for someone more suitable to take over, you'll do more damage to yourself and your team
    2. Don't assume you have to demote yourself: propose a formal role or title that reflects the value you bring to the company, even if you're not directly leading a team
    3. Be clear and direct: no beating around the bush or being vague about the reasons for your decision. It is also respectful to your team and the organization
    4. Focus on the positive aspects of your decision and avoid complaining or negativity
    5. Show that you can lead without formally managing: working through influence rather than authority allows you to gain traction with more than one team
    6. Ensure your transition doesn't impair your team: build your team's bench strength before your move; develop a clear succession plan; mentor others as a colleague, not a boss
    7. Thank your team for their hard work and support during your time as a manager. Let them know that you value their contributions and will always be available to help in the future.

    These strategies will help you demonstrate to others - and yourself - that it's not a step backward but a transition that will make you happier and more productive, which benefits everyone.

    • There are times when even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog, waiting to see where the dog wants to go so he can take him there.

      Lee Iacocca
      • Manager types

      • Who are you?

    • Ambits offers business mentoring to different audiences. Our mentor community is equipped to help them with their specific leadership challenges. Discover below what Ambits can do for you.

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          • Balancing between managing up and managing down
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          • Experiencing growing pains
          • Eager to develop solid leadership to move to the next level
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