It's within your power to make yourself so essential to an organization that no one can imagine the place without you.
Last week we talked about ways to get your boss “on your side.” Seeking common ground, making the boss’s priorities your priorities, and displaying impeccable integrity are all foolproof ways to win over even the most standoffish boss.
But perhaps you want to simplify your focus. Is there just one simple technique you can practice that guarantees you an appreciative and supportive boss?
Well, yes, there is. You can make yourself indispensable. The key is to make your contributions so essential that no one, including the boss, can imagine the place without you.
The best way to be indispensable is to do things that earn or save your company money. No matter what your role in an organization, there are aspects of it that have an impact on sales, productivity and efficiency. Put top priority on those aspects. Devise ways to do them faster, better and with fewer resources. Too often we aim to fly under the radar, or just get by doing the easy stuff. Don’t just do the easy stuff. Do the important stuff.
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Hint: Don’t forget to make sure that your boss is aware of these accomplishments. It doesn’t help you to be amazing if no one knows about it.
You can also achieve indispensability by making your boss’s job a littler easier. If there are areas where you can relieve your boss of tasks and responsibilities, do so. If your boss is weak in a certain area (say, technology), make that your strength.
Speaking of strengths, consider that an indispensable person is often one who excels at a particular skill. The skill needs to be important to the company. Preferably, it’s an ability no one else at the company has. A little trick here is to pay attention to personnel changes. Is someone with a particular expertise leaving? Learn what that person knows and be the one to step in and pick up the slack.
Of course, while in the end we are all “replaceable,” there’s still quite a lot you can do to make the thought of replacing you a little more unthinkable. Meanwhile, consider this: Being indispensable is good for your morale, too. Not only will you appreciate the enhanced job security, you enjoy a job more when you’re truly contributing.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.