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Being replaceable—a concept various company executives and business management books have promoted over the years—isn’t as precarious as it sounds; it just means that someone else at your workplace can do your job. That doesn’t mean the work isn’t important, or that you aren’t the best person for the role. But if you want to move on, you’ll have more luck getting promoted if there’s already a successor able and ready to take on the role.
Being considered irreplaceable on a team might sound good on paper—but it can actually put your career in a rut and stifle your opportunity to advance. Plus, it doesn’t actually benefit the company if you’re the only person who knows how to do your job.
Being replaceable means that you’ll share knowledge and skills related to your role with other employees, which ultimately benefits the company and demonstrates to supervisors that you have leadership skills.
Conversely, thinking of yourself as indispensable can be dangerous if you’re overestimating your worth to the employer.
If you’re a micromanager that’s always checking in, you’re telling the team that they don’t have the same level of skills as you to do the job.
You might think you’re being indispensable and securing your role in the organization, but you’re likely demonstrating that you’re not a very good boss, which in the end makes your job less secure. You’re also more likely to burn out.
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