For years everyone wanted to be indispensable. That was the goal of every leader. Everyone wanted their organization not to be able to survive without them or do as well without their presence. Well, we are now reaping the seed we have sown. There is a huge shortage of talented leaders in the marketplace because many executives did their job so well and made themselves so indispensable, that there is now no one to replace them as they begin to think about transitioning to a new role.
Being indispensable is overrated and actually a detriment to organizational development and succession planning. Everyone wants to be thought highly of and great leaders are of very high value and should be treated as such. But do not make yourself indispensable. Replace yourself. Be dispensable. Make your services not needed. Invest in those around you, develop a rock star team, and make the people around you better. Sound scary? It is not. This is actually what leaders need to be doing. By not investing in those around them and making them as good or better than they themselves are, leaders are actually guaranteeing that their organization will not be as successful long-term. Short sighted leaders think that if they create a team that is better than they are then there will be no need for them in the organization. It is actually the opposite. The need for their leadership is much greater!
Every organization needs top-notch leaders with a proven ability to replace themselves by developing those around them at a very high level. The person a leader is investing in may very well become better than they are and that is the goal. By making this type of impact the leader making the investment is proving their value to their organization and there will always be a place at the table for someone who can replace themselves and take on a role that has an even bigger scope of impact. This level of people development ensures that a company can achieve their goals and objectives with the right leadership in place. It also guarantees that the organization will be operating with a strong bench of leaders waiting in the pipeline to take on new leadership roles as business grows and more opportunities become available.
So the next time you think about holding on to all that responsibility because you feel like you have to, ask yourself why you don’t have the team you need to accomplish your goals and objectives? Or if you are doing everything yourself because you think it makes you a better leader, think again. Bring someone along side you on your team and invest in them. Let them take the opportunity and watch them grow. Be there to coach and guide them. Do this again and again. All of a sudden you will have the rock star team your organization needs and you will become a much better leader than you ever thought you could be. And you might just find that your ability to develop great people is indispensable to your organization.
Published September 4, 2013