A friend of my father passed away yesterday. I received a message about his demise from a mutual friend. I told this to my mother, as she knew him very well. He was quite a good friend of my father since his school days. In earlier days he and his wife always used to visit our place frequently.
I didn’t like him much and never understood how my father has such rigid friend. Actually my uncle was very much stubborn. The two had a strong friendship despite their opposite nature. He was completely self – centered Don’t know how.
Being in the music field, my father had a great appreciation for engineering degree and engineers. And as my uncle was an electrical diploma holder, he always kept praising his own work in his organization.
I think there might be one such person in everyone’s friend circle. Even after having very good knowledge in their field, people don’t like them much.
As the years passed, I used to get bored listening to his similar stories of how he was important to his organization, how his organization would go in a huge loss if he would be absent for only one day, how his juniors were stupid and how he didn’t need anybody to assist him and how his seniors were dependent on him, how he was the pillar of the project he was working on… and Bla! Bla! Bla!
I remembered, one day he was talking with my parents and said loudly, like a roar; “Nobody can replace me. I am irreplaceable now for my organization. I am very important to them.”
Let me tell you, his designation was ‘technical assistant’ in a private firm. ‘Being irreplaceable’ was something to be proud of feeling’ for him then.
Some of you might be thinking that getting the position of ‘irreplaceable’ is a good thing for any employee, where company trust you blindly.
But I am telling you, it’s the worst thing if you call yourself as irreplaceable.
I have learnt one thing from one of my seniors and am going to share with you the same today. I dare you to be replaceable at work. Please think about it carefully.
Since last so many years, my uncle made himself so strong in his field that he had became literally irreplaceable for his organization. But the truth is, he retired being ‘technical assistant’ and expired being ‘technical assistant’.
He never stepped out of his position. He never trained others, never got trained further, never became senior technical assistant or manager or senior manager. In his whole career he was busy in his own bubble.
And guess what ? nobody ever encouraged him to move on.
It seems a brilliant thing for the first time, that being irreplaceable means being important for the company but it has many hidden threats.
Once my boss had said to me, “Along with your own progress, develop and empower others. If you cannot be replaced, you cannot be promoted.”
Those words have been engraved on my mind. Seriously !! it was the best career-accelerating tip for me at that time. You have to make people like you, and move ahead. You should strive to be replaceable. He actually inspired me to be a leader.
I have worked with different types of people in my career. Few of them are very similar to my uncle. It’s kinda category of people you know.
These are the people who are afraid if they tell someone, how they accomplish their job, they will be replaced. To them, it’s a job security that no one else knows what they do.
But to me, that’s the worst kind of person for any organization and also the worst thing they are doing to themselves.
Now what’s their loss in this?
Ah ! you have seen the example of my uncle. It’s so obvious that they have stopped at a certain position for long. Right?
They are happy with permanent residence in a position, in same project and same technology for years and will miss a lot of career growth opportunities.
Being irreplaceable also means immobile and hence isn’t always a good thing.
What I think is, work should never be a secret. What people work on, how they accomplish their task, what are the best practices, none of it should be a secret.
When we learn something new, we should share it. When we solve a problem, we should share the solution.
Being replaceable, means you are arming those around you with the knowledge you have. You are helping people work smarter, take them to a level of your position and just go ahead to improve your leadership skills.
Being replaceable does not mean losing your job because you are sharing your knowledge but to create a succession plan. It means, always be growing, always be teaching, always be leaving.
As you train a team member on your responsibilities, you’re helping them expand their skill set. It’s an honor and a privilege to mentor someone else. Isn’t it ?
Captains get replaced in cricket. Ministers get replaced in governments. Managers get replaced in corporate. But only those are remembered, who create leaders like them before they leave.
I understand that no one wants to be replaced by someone else in a job they enjoy and are good at. But it’s not a total replacement , it’s just an upgrade.
Friends, take my post in a positive sense. Allow yourself to be replaced. It’s the process of creating and developing a leader in you.
Do you agree?
Express your views on this in the comment box given below.