“You are neither indispensable nor irreplaceable … you’re fired,” I said.
 
That moment is one of the most vivid memories I have from my days as a manager.  I don’t remember the circumstances all that well.  I do remember those words that have haunted me for over fifteen years.  If indispensible and irreplaceable is the standard I used for that employee it should also apply to me.
 
Actually he was fired because of an infraction of company rules.  But because he was neither indispensible nor irreplaceable, it made it much easier to let him go.  How would you measure up, if the indispensible-irreplaceable rule was applied to you?
 
Let me say that just because you think you are the only one who can do your job, does not mean that others see it that way. 
 
Seth Godin in his book, Lynchpin says “The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about.”
 
Here are a couple of tips on how to secure your position.
 
Tip #1: Take on the unwanted.  If there is a project, an employee, or a problem that no one wants to deal with volunteer to tackle it.  You may have to put real emotional energy into making it work, but you will get the reputation as a problem solver. And that’s priceless.
 
Tip #2: Be the connector.  Make connections with people who are valuable to your endeavor.  Share your connections.  What if you introduce your boss to his next successor? You will be seen as the one to bring a “star” into the company.  That makes you valuable beyond belief.
 
Tip #3: Do your own thing.  Learn to create at work.  It may be only a small percentage of your time at work but put some effort into bringing your unique gifts to the workplace.  Let your passion  peek through in the workplace.
 
If you are a leader, the best way to make yourself indispensible is to become dispensable.  Give way your knowledge, empower others and help them develop.  Theodore Roosevelt said, “the best executive is one who has the sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and the self-resistant enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
 
Being unique, creating something new and giving way your secrets are all scary things (see the “Whatever I want…” article in the Success Savvy Ezine archives.)  But when I think back to the day I fired that young man, I always am convicted about how I’m being indispensable and irreplaceable.  How about you?
Here’s to your success,
 
Linda
Linda K Sommer, MBA
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