Probably at our workplaces we have all heard many times that “no one is irreplaceable”, though it is more likely to hear it more often in big corporations where people are still considered as “positions”. However it is not the technology, the product or the process that makes a company great, it is the people behind that great solution.
By Nina Angellovska, Forbes, October 30, 2018
And while some might think that “irreplaceable” is a very strong statement I think everyone would agree there are some people who make themselves very difficult to replace. These are the people who enjoy a competitive advantage because they are an invaluable asset to any company. And it doesn’t take a genius manager to recognize these people. These are the 15 behaviors that separate the “almost irreplaceable” ones from the “easily replaceable”.
1. They do more than asked.
Most people under-deliver or meet the minimal requirements only to check the task on their to-do list. Here is a simple example. The manager asks “We need to order branded t-shirts for our campaign”. The easily replaceable employee would send a link from the first vendor he ran into. The almost irreplaceable one would say “I found 5 good solutions for our branded t-shirts, the cheapest one is this one but the best considering price and quality is this one. I asked for an offer and negotiated a discount and we can have them delivered in a week. But I also came across a very good offer of Bluetooth speakers we can brand if we want to reconsider changing the t-shirts”.
2. They have exceptional communication skills.
They know how to easily communicate an issue without going in circles and long explanations. They respect the time of others and practice effective communication. Irreplaceable employees with handle a client’s request or a customer complaining in one email conversation foreseeing the situation and other sub-questions the client might have, while in the inbox of the easy to replace employee you will find dozens of conversations for the same issue.
3. They are one-step ahead instead behind.
Every manager loves when he gets a series of yeses to questions like “Did you send that email?”, “Did you also include the specification”, followed by some reassuring actions like “And I also did this and that...”.
4. They are good listeners and observers.
They listen and don’t ask the same questions twice. They know to recognize important content that has been communicated, note it and act upon it. They create value by anticipating the situation and do what is needed.
5. They are trustworthy, accountable and reliable.
When the manager is out of office he turns to his irreplaceable person in the room to leave his big duties in safe hands. The irreplaceable employees are not afraid to take on big responsibilities because they believe in their ability to deliver. And on top of the cake comes the cherry - they are loyal.
6. They initiate.
Great employees initiate new better solutions. They make recommendations, they ask questions and are willing to help others. You won’t hear the easily replaceable employee saying “I think that if we change the way we target our audience we can increase our ROI”.
7. They fill the room with good energy.
Positivity feeds positivity. They are friendly, outgoing and optimistic even in hard-working tense hours.
8. They are adaptable.
They can easily adapt to changes. Let's say you just switched to a new CRM solution or implemented a new policy that everyone needs to follow. These employees are just riding the waves of change, they don’t resist it and know that there is a good reason for it.
9. They are problem solvers, not complainers.
They don’t come just with a problem, they bring their proposed solutions to consult on further actions. Or even better they are driven by the principal “ask for forgiveness, not permission” and they have already solved the urgent problem in a way they believed was the best at the moment.
10. They are self-motivated and can motivate others.
They don’t require for constant attention and motivation. They know what they do and why they do it and if they have an issue with motivation they find their own source. And even better they know how to motivate their colleagues.
11. They don’t need to be micromanaged.
They can see the big picture and anticipate all the things that need to be done without specific detailed guidance. Every manager wants to have people who pay attention to the tiniest detail and take care of things on the go without being told to.
12. They embrace new challenges.
They are not afraid to take on a new challenge in a field that is not their area of specialty. Let’s say your company needs to organize a celebration event for your clients. The irreplaceable employee will take over the responsibility even if it is something he hasn’t done previously. They are willing to put themselves out there despite there is a risk involved of potential failure.
13. They are fast learners and fast thinkers.
They have deep knowledge about the company, its products, processes, clients and culture. When something new comes they can easily process and apply new knowledge and put it into effect.
14. They love their job.
They come to work because they want to, not because they have to. It is very unlikely that there is an irreplaceable employee who doesn’t love his job.
15. They are well organized and efficient.
If an easily replaceable employee gets the task done in 2 hours the irreplaceable can get it in one. They are good organizers of their own time and they can coordinate others.
Great leaders recognize and appreciate the people who practice all, or most of the behaviors. Those are the people who invest their time and potential each day to make the company a success and those are the people that any company wants and can't afford to lose.