Are the employees in your organization indispensable—or are they merely irreplaceable? Believe it or not, it has far more to do with attitude than skill. Indispensable people possess a mindset that drives them to think, act, and behave differently. They're always indispensable, no matter where they go or what they do. They know they're replaceable—and perhaps most importantly, they want to be replaceable. Because that’s how indispensable people climb the corporate ladder faster than anyone else.
So what are the key behaviors of indispensable people? Let's take a closer look:
Indispensable Behavior No. 1: Take Ownership
Act like a business owner.
Show passion and enthusiasm for your job. Spend your organization's money as if it's your own. Realize that 80 percent of what you achieve is the result of 20 percent of your effort, so make sure you're focused on the right 20 percent.
Bring a solution for every problem.
When problems arise, be careful to address the root of it, not merely the symptoms. Use the resources available to you to brainstorm and research potential solutions before presenting your ideas to your manager.
Keep track of your value.
First and foremost, do what it takes to meet—or exceed—your work goals. Take responsibility for your
results and document your contributions. If mistakes occur, don't make excuses or get defensive. Instead, use these situations as learning experiences.
Indispensable Behavior No. 2: Go Above and Beyond
Broaden your perspective.
Start by expanding your sphere of influence. Are there processes and practices that can be improved? Stretch yourself to learn new things and take advantage of opportunities to work with others outside of your formal team.
It's important to be proactive. Tackle challenges without being told and don't be afraid to try new
Offer something unique.
Do you speak a foreign language? Do you have a special skill? Unique talents don’t guarantee job
security, but they can help you to stand out among others and add value to your organization.
Indispensable Behavior No. 3: Perform Under Pressure
Stay calm and cool.
When the going gets tough, take time to step back and collect your thoughts before reacting to the
Identify which issues are critical and determine how they need to be addressed. Create a simple to-
do list to resolve problems. Create a report to capture key learning points for the future.
Indispensable Behavior No. 4: Be Adaptable
Increase your intellectual flexibility.
Develop the ability—and the motivation—to change. Seek out new ways of doing things to improve performance. Take steps to increase your intellectual flexibility, curiosity, and mental agility.
Handle change effectively.
Be aware of your typical reactions to change. Commit to at least one positive action that will help you to adjust to the change. Align yourself with people who are change advocates.
Indispensable Behavior No. 5: Be a Team Player
Be someone others want to work with.
Simply put, say what you'll do and do what you say. Be consistent and follow through on the commitments you make to others.
Pick up the trash.
Don’t wait for someone else to fix a situation. Do it yourself. Realize that it's in your own best interest to invest the time and energy to improve team performance and perception.
Help others to perform better.
Encourage and motivate others to achieve their personal best. Establish high standards for team performance and hold team members to this expectation.
Indispensable Behavior No. 6: Be Replaceable
Know the difference between indispensable and irreplaceable.
Indispensable people build their strength from attitude and mindset rather than a specific skill set. They rise to the occasion and adapt themselves to face any challenge. Irreplaceable people, on the other hand, hold knowledge, skills, and information they don't want to share.
Solution-oriented and proactive, indispensable people know the key to their success is to work smarter, not harder. They take ownership of their jobs, go above and beyond the call of duty, add value to their teams, and perform well under pressure. And with the right training, a healthy dose of practice, and some experience, you can help to transform your workforce from irreplaceable to indispensable.