Forced Resignations and Other Noble HR Myths

This week, I read a story on ESPN about how Mack Brown, coach of the University of Texas football team, is going to resign this week:

The source reiterated Brown would not be coaching at Texas in 2014.

“By the end of the week, that will be the outcome,” the source told ESPN. “That will happen. It’s a shame after 16 years he’s not able to do it on his own with dignity and grace.”

I have no idea if it will actually happen, but that part about doing it on his own terms, with dignity and grace? Yeah I’ve heard that song and dance before.

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Coaches get fired and hired all of the time. In fact, Brown’s case is an anomaly. 16 years at one school, as head coach, is damn near impossible. The guy they want to hire — Nick Saban — has had four jobs in that same time period. It’s also not the first time people have probably wanted him gone, either.

The idea that Mack Brown deserves the grace and dignity to part on his own terms (or should have come to the conclusion on his own and fallen on his sword) is a mythology rooted in faux “We Care” corporate double-talk though. Here’s the real deal: when you’re the second highest paid coach in the country and you perform worse than many of the guys making half (or less) of your salary, it’s probably time for the college to cut you loose.

A forced resignation, an encouraged resignation, or a resignation that Texas allows Brown to do on his own terms? It’s a transparent attempt by a weak organization to shirk their decision-making responsibilities.

I’ve been a part of conversations where I’ve encouraged people to look for a new job (after, obviously, many months of working with them). I’ve also been a part of conversations where managers want to let legacy employees hang around while they look for new digs (or, even worse, await retirement). They deserve it, they’ll say. In reality, they don’t want to have the tough conversations or take responsibility. They hope the employee will feel enough guilt to leave on their own or they’ll find something new.

There’s nothing noble in forcing a resignation to keep your own slate clean. Own your decision and make it.

3 thoughts on “Forced Resignations and Other Noble HR Myths

  1. Follow the money. With high dollar, high visibility contracts of employment, the method of exit typically has ramifications in the millions of dollars.

    In typical corporate employment life, the worst possible scenario I’ve seen is managers aggressively passing an employee around the company into new roles (even promotions!), passing the responsibility of true decision-making and communication off to their colleagues.

  2. I agree with the own your decisions as opposed to the forced resignation. Not only is this something that shouldn’t be done as it’s not the right thing (IMO) morally…it poses the possibility of not being the right thing legally. I call it a Pandora’s Box moment.

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