Do you like to feel needed at your workplace? Do you find satisfaction in being the go-to person whenever an issue needs to be resolved?
Of course, why not? Not only does this make you an important figure at work, it also gives you a huge sense of job security, as you are indispensable.
The truth is, if you are irreplaceable, you become unpromotable. You are stuck doing what you are so good at, because no one else can do your job.
This is something I have often observed at a workplace, and it’s so unfortunate because it’s not just about self-seeking people who try to protect their territory and refuse to transfer their knowledge or skills to others.
In fact, I have seen some of the most diligent, sincere and responsible people spend years and years in the same role while peers around them get promoted, because they are so dependable that their leaders want to keep them there forever if possible.
Is your indispensability holding you back from achieving even greater things in your career? What can you do to avoid sabotaging your own path to a promotion?
Here are three suggestions:
1) Adjust Your Mentality
First and foremost, setting the right mentality removes insecurity or feelings of marginalisation you may get from someone else being able to do what you do.
Many times, such feelings arise because you allow yourself to be defined by your job. For example, you may see yourself as the top project manager or creative writer in your company, but when someone comes along and does a pretty darned good job at what you’re doing, you feel like you have lost your identity.
But you are not just a project manager or a creative writer or *insert blank here*. You are you—an intelligent, unique person who is far bigger than your job title.
So do not think of someone being able to replace you as a threat, but an opportunity. Acknowledge that you are not the only person in the world who can fill in a particular role in your company, and if someone can do just as well or even better than you, it gives you an opportunity to progress to something greater and more exciting instead of being stuck in that role.
2) Share Your Knowledge
With the right mentality in place, you can then freely share what you know with others.
Become their leader by using your experience to guide and help them be competent at what they do, and do not be afraid to see them surpass you even, because a sign of true leadership is allowing others to flourish for the ultimate benefit of the company.
Developing the people around you is always of far greater value than simply being an indispensable go-to worker fulfilling a particular role. Demonstrating your ability to share your knowledge and grow others is something that all good companies deeply appreciate.
3) Learn New Things!
So now you have someone who has fully taken over what was once your exclusive scope. Does that spell the end of the road for you? By no means! It is just the beginning.
With your replacement providing ample back-up for what you do, you are now able to think of ways to improve processes and further add value to your team and company.
Let your management know that you are ready to take on a bigger role. Show your willingness to learn new things and expand your skill set.
Remember, don’t settle on being just an indispensable worker who is defined by what you do. Set your sights beyond your current scope and this will put you in good stead to progress and become a promotable asset to your organisation!
1) Is there any role where you are deemed as irreplaceable? How do you feel about it?
2) How can you progress from being an indispensable worker to become a leader who develops others around you?