The Graveyards are full of indispensable men.- Charles de Gaulle




Like many other Leadership traits, one significant trait I believe should be looked out for is “Being Dispensable”. A leader equipped with this trait could automatically be excelling on other qualities that a workforce looks for. While many of us as Individuals possess, believe & practice being dispensable in the areas that we work in, I believe this does a greater good if this is encouraged as an organizational culture for everyone to practice than a select few.

To become dispensable in a role, one needs to possess the following qualities:

Most of us are surrounded by our own insecurities & doubts over our ability to learn new technologies which drives us to believe we are more valued when our absence is felt i.e. when we are indispensable. Only when you understand & believe in your capabilities as well as limitations and proactively look for ways that you can actually overcome these.

Growth Mindset:
An individual having a growth Mindset is always on the lookout for opportunities to learn new technologies, skillsets and tends to achieve much greater outcomes as against one with fixed Mindset.

Coaching / Mentoring:
For one to become dispensable, you need to identify someone with similar or near similar capabilities & skillsets to replace and coach / mentor the individual for a period till that individual is comfortable to continue in the new role. This involves identifying gaps in skillsets, generating confidence in stakeholders you are dealing with over the role transfer, gain acceptance and transitioning your knowledge over.

Collaborative Mindset:
Individuals with collaborative Mindset are able to share knowledge & information with the team, develop trust and are able to inspire the group to achieve bigger things which in a way makes transition easy.

This is just a concise list and there would be many add-ons which could help one become dispensable.

In order to extrapolate this to whole organization and be practiced as its culture, below actions are recommended:

Talent Pool:
Organizations need to have an ideal and transparent talent management framework to identify right talent that maps to its growth vision & understanding their career aspirations. This needs to be a continuous ongoing process of identifying talent to cover for movement of resources in and out of organization due to attrition.

Learning & Development:
Post identification of talent pool, one needs to be provided with right amount of learning & development opportunities to fulfil their professional and personal goals. In most Organizations should put the onus of identifying skillsets / technology areas that one wants to upskill is defined by the managers than on the employees based on their strengths & career interests. Not enough focus is placed in this area would mean rising levels of frustration amongst the workforce, impacts employee engagement resulting in increased attrition levels.

Career Progression:
Organizations need to provide enough confidence to the workforce to embrace the culture of “being dispensable” by providing growth opportunities to satisfy their professional needs. With most organizations moving to Agile and adopting flat structures, growth opportunities would be more about handling greater responsibilities and / or moving through horizontals rather than just looking to move up in the hierarchy. Cross- skilling plays an important role in facilitating movement across business segments / technology domains.

Organizations promoting the trait of being dispensable as a culture would gain in increased employee satisfaction, negligible people dependency, improved succession planning, and reduced attrition levels amongst others.

Looking forward to hear your thoughts!!!!

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