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