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07 Sep

What you need to do when everyone is at your sleeve


Datum: 2011-09-07 15:43

When you are receiv­ing more emails than you would like, when you feel that your col­leagues are con­stant­ly dis­turb­ing you, when you can’t get many feet out­side of your office-door before some­one stops you to ask for some­thing – then this might be due to that more peo­ple than nec­es­sary depend on you, on your knowl­edge or your authority. 

Make your­self dispensable. 

Strive for the inde­pen­dence of your co-work­ers and the rest of the orga­ni­za­tion so that they can be self-suf­fi­cient and do their job regard­less if you are present or not. 

Even if you are not around they should be able to move on with their work.

You will not become isolated

And this said, you will nei­ther lose your job nor be lone­ly by giv­ing your knowl­edge to oth­ers. You will be includ­ed in the work­group because your col­leagues want you to, because you have a valu­able com­pe­tence and because you are of great use to the group, not due to that they feel oblig­ed to include you since you are the only one who has the knowl­edge of some­thing nec­es­sary for every­one to pro­ceed with their work. 

It is not a mat­ter of teach­ing every­one every­thing, but rather get­ting your­self out of hav­ing to attend to every­body else regard­ing mat­ters dis­tract­ing you from what you would rather be doing. And it is not a mat­ter of you no longer tak­ing to your col­leagues. On what top­ics would pre­fer to have con­ver­sa­tions with them; how to per­form a pure rou­tine-task or about the excep­tion­al chal­lenge your busi­ness is fac­ing at the moment?

If you make your­self super­flu­ous, you will obtain few­er ques­tions from col­leagues, which gives you more time for the tasks and assign­ments you would rather spend your ener­gy on (and which con­tribute to the well-being of the busi­ness to a greater extent).

Do this

Here are four sim­ple ways in which to make your­self dis­pens­able, which you can apply right away.

  1. Rou­tine-descrip­tions. Describe how cer­tain things you tend to get ques­tions on are done in for instance the form of check-lists. This will enable oth­ers to imme­di­ate­ly read and learn how some­thing is done with­out need­ing to ask you first.
  2. Care­ful­ly doc­u­ment your ongo­ing projects. This way you do not need to keep it all in your head, but some­one else can catch up on the process quick­ly when you are not on site. Keep, for exam­ple, a log of some kind on what is said in con­ver­sa­tions and dis­cus­sions regard­ing a par­tic­u­lar mat­ter and make short notices on your own thoughts and what you decide to do (which are actu­al­ly not your deci­sions, but your business’).
  3. Store your good-to-have-mate­r­i­al in a sys­tem­at­ic and con­sis­tent way, so that you eas­i­ly from a dis­tance can guide some­one towards find­ing the right doc­u­ment. This goes for both dig­i­tal and phys­i­cal mate­r­i­al. It is eas­i­er to find the right doc­u­ment if you are able to say in the Acme-fold­er under A in the fil­ing-cab­i­net” rather than About halfway though the pile to the left of the com­put­er screen. No, not that pile, the one just beyond the hole-puncher.”
  4. Put all your con­tacts in a con­tact-data­base, for instance in Out­look or Notes. Give your col­leagues access to search amongst your work-relat­ed con­tacts, so that they are able to find the num­ber to NN them­selves instead of ask­ing you.

More undis­turbed, more concentrated

You will get to work more undis­turbed, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to now work with the tasks of your choos­ing. Now oth­ers will be able to per­form your tasks and you will be increas­ing­ly freed of redun­dan­cy and able to move on, devel­op, grow and learn new assign­ments to excel in. 

Your col­leagues will no longer call you names such as the bot­tle­neck” or the plug”, but you will be known by an epi­thet you can feel pleased and proud over.

What is your way?

What was your most recent step towards mak­ing your­self more dis­pens­able? Leave a com­ment to let oth­ers know. 

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