Article (October-2016)


Avoid being indispensable

Dr. Ruchir Sharma

Designation : -   AVP

Organization : -  Emami Cement Ltd., Raipur


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It is very important that in whichever role you are, you need to put best of your efforts and look for further improvisation. Anything is perfect till the time further improvisation does not take place and if it is you only who becomes instrumental in doing this, nothing can be better than this. 

Sometimes it may happen incidentally or by chance but repeated improvisation is possible only if consistent efforts are made. There are various instances of it spreading over different streams, be it science, sports, arts etc.

The similar concept applies in organizations too. Some employees are too good in their respective roles. They make the life of their respective supervisor simpler or in other sense the most challenging. Depending upon the size, type or culture of the organization, besides of course the capability and approach of the supervisor, the fate of the career path of such individual swings. 

Though as an individual, one would like to develop such capabilities in him/her but at times it makes the individual indispensable. Unknowingly such people create some professional enemies in the peer group by way of unhealthy competition as the fellow colleagues consider him/her as a hindrance in their respective growth. 

These people keep a sharp eye on each wrong doing of such colleagues and do not leave any opportunity to undermine, expose and criticize the actions and output of such performer. 

This process makes the performer even better at times as he/she needs to keep sharpening his/her skills at all times and needs to be more cautious while executing any task.

Up to this stage it is fine, meaningful and manageable but situation becomes even more difficult when the supervisor of such fellow see him/her as indispensable. The moment supervisor starts competing with him/her or start having a fear of losing him by way of his/her movement to other role, situation becomes difficult for that individual. There could be a competency issue with the supervisor or dependency issue, in both the cases developmental issue of the individual comes at stake. Rest depends on as how much important or powerful that supervisor is in that organization. After all the career growth is always on the top of the mind for each career cautious individual and unless the person gets a periodic feed by way of career growth, substitutes are no real feeds. 

Facilities, remunerations, locational advantage, liberties are no doubt important but only up to certain extent, beyond this real recognition is career advancement. In this tug of war either the organization lose that talent or by continuing in the similar role for too long a period, individual becomes good only for that role. In both the cases the organization as well as that individual pays the price and between these two entities, individual being the smaller entity, has to bleed more.

The organizations where there is strong HR department, such situations rarely come up and are addressed timely however, where HR function exists in passive role only, it is difficult to avoid such incidents and all have to live with it.