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Irreplaceable Leaders Limit Organizations

Irreplaceable leaders limit organizations.

Irreplaceable leaders lack the most important attribute needed to grow an organization.

Capacity.

Irreplaceable leaders lack capacity because they have not made it a priority to train others to fill the roles they are currently filling. This limitation becomes a lid on the growth potential of the organization. It stunts revenue growth and limits the ability to keep high performers.

If you want to lead well, ensure everyone in your organization is replaceable. The last thing you want to be is an irreplaceable leader.

If you own the company and are irreplaceable, you are stunting the growth and limiting who chooses to join your team. If you are working as a manager, executive, or highly trained skill person, the attribute of being irreplaceable could keep you from moving up within the organization. If no one else can do what you do, why would they take you out of that position?

I want to clarify, there is a difference in treating someone as replaceable and creating a culture where crosstraining and a focus on personal development allows for every person to be replaced. If I view others as replaceable, I fail to invest in them. I focus on financial outcomes at the expense of what is good for them as a person. However, if every person in the organization is actively trying to replace themselves by training and developing others around them, this creates the environment for a healthy organization to flourish.

Great leaders are replaceable. They are constantly working to have someone trained who could take their place. Weak leaders are threatened by the thought of others doing their job. Great leaders are actively trying to train and develop others to fill the roles needed in the organization.

This perspective has a side benefit. We all know that life can change in an instant. If you are irreplaceable, everyone suffers because of your lack of planning to train someone else to do the work only you could do. Who will step in for you if you are in a wreck? Who knows how to handle the crisis while you're on vacation? You need to have someone trained and capable to fill the gaps if you are out of pocket. Replaceable leaders create strong organizations by decentralizing the knowledge and developing organizational capacity.

If you focus on making yourself replaceable, it will require you to raise the level of professionalism in the organization. This requires you to:

  1. Identify Talent
  2. Focus on Others
  3. Intentionally Delegate
  4. Provide Accountability & Feedback

We all want to be part of teams and work with leaders who make us better. By adopting the mindset of replacing yourself, you are creating the environment where this can happen. The strongest organizations are ones where every member of the organization is replaceable.