I might shock you when I say the following: Be replaceable (at work). Think about it, but don’t take it so literally. What kind of person do you want to be at work? I have worked with many types of personalities. The one that I found to be the most frustrating to work with are the ones that don’t share information. These are the people that are afraid that if they tell someone how they accomplish their job, that they will be replaced. To them, it’s job security that no one else knows how to do what they do. To me, that’s the worst kind of person for any organization.
I walk into work everyday telling myself, “be replaceable.” What does that mean? It means I work to improve processes every single day and make those around me smarter. These processes when put in place will automate tasks (and I don’t mean electronically). I give my team the tools they need in order to do their job more efficiently. My hope is that as I fix and implement certain processes, that function/task will no longer require my “managing” and attention; the team will be on autopilot once everyone is equipped to successfully execute it.
Work should never be a secret. What people work on; how they accomplish their task; best practices. None of it should be a secret. I am 100% transparent and that is the expectation I have of everyone at work. When I learn something new, I share it. When I solve a problem, I share the situation and how I resolved it. Being replaceable means you are arming those around you with the knowledge you have. You are helping people work smarter and be more efficient by being an open book.
Be replaceable. There should always be someone on your “bench” that can do your job if and when you leave the organization. I measure my success by one rule: If I leave an organization, they will be able to continue right where I left off. If a company can continue marching on after my departure without skipping a beat, that means I have succeeded. It’s when things go bad and a company takes three steps back that I know I failed and didn’t do my job prior to leaving.
Be replaceable. Put systems into place and share your knowledge so that everyone learns from it. Being replaceable means you have the confidence that you will not lose your job because you are sharing your knowledge and creating a succession plan. Being replaceable is the most selfless act one can do for any organization. By being replaceable, it means you are putting the company above your own agenda and needs.