Being indispensable means you’re universally acknowledged as someone who is highly valuable and absolutely necessary. People tend to assume that indispensable roles reside at the top of the organization chart, but that’s not necessarily true. One thing for certain is that indispensable employees possess great power. They often exert more influence over an organization than members of the senior leadership team.
Indispensables include the salesperson who consistently stands atop the president’s club, the innovative scientist who inspires a research team to be manically focused, the division head who cuts through an organization’s red tape to get things done, the plant manager who keeps employees engaged while producing record output, the sales leader whose business acumen and charisma attracts top talent or the controller who thinks strategically and understands the why behind the numbers.
There’s a famous quote in George Orwell’s Animal Farm “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” As it turns out, this is a fundamental business principle. So consider: Who are these animals that are more equal than others and how can you become one of them?
Indispensables have discovered a secret formula that contains two ingredients. They operate at the intersection of individual competence and optimal platform. They first understand their natural personality strengths and how to leverage them. They grasp how these personality strengths, which underlie their competencies, are tied to the big picture. They are often both individual stars and strong team players, which makes them incredibly valuable. But without the second ingredient, the optimal platform, personality strengths will never be maximized to create that magical formula – the one that results in being indispensable. Your organization, position, or role must enable your strengths to flourish.
Below are statements describing derailers to becoming indispensable. Do any of these apply to you?
– You still don’t truly know what you’re great at.
– You feel stuck. You’re surviving but not thriving.
– You’re in a tactical, non-strategic role.
– You feel under valued and easily replaced.
– You’re subordinate to an egoist who keeps you in the shadows.
– You sometimes think you’re a charlatan and secretly fear you’ll be discovered.
– You look forward to weekends but hate Monday mornings.
If any one of the above resonated with you, your likelihood of being indispensable is low. The first step to getting on the right track is to be able to answer the following question with an unquestionable and enthusiastic YES!
Do I believe that I possess personality strengths that make me totally unique?
Some people don’t believe they have any unique or special talents to offer the world. They do, of course. But their own self-perception limits their ability to grow and leverage this uniqueness into a career differentiator.
Your own uniqueness forms the foundation of your power. We each have a distinctly individual psyche. If we mature what we call our highest self, we will have developed our personality strengths. And, the opposite is also true. If we develop our personality strengths we will grow our highest self. Once this occurs, fear disappears. You naturally become more confident in who and what you truly are. The elimination of fear and newfound confidence is key to taking the next important step.
Now the challenge becomes finding the right platform to maximize those unique personality strengths. Renewed confidence about who you are should clarify what organizational dynamics must come together to be the best fit for you. Many talented people never become indispensable because they work at the wrong company, in the wrong culture or report to the wrong boss.
Through many years of studying human capital systems in organizations, we know that the people who are most successful have done two things well. They understand their inherent personality strengths and have found a platform to exploit those strengths. But before any of this can occur, they must know, deep within, they are gifted with a unique personality. When you declare, emphatically, that this is true for you too, you will have taken a powerful first step.
If you want to better understand how you can take full advantage of your own higher self, we suggest you read our new book, Becoming a Strategic Leader, which is available on Amazon. You’ll discover who you are through a science based model and then learn how to leverage your personality strengths in order to take your career in a new direction.
Dr. George Watts