Do you want you to feel valuable to a company?  Do you want to feel helpful to a team/individuals?  Do you want high confidence of job security?


No, I’m truly serious: determine a succession plan and implement it.  I realize that this seems like a polar opposite but let’s walk through aspects:

The “we can’t lose you on x” reason for the lack of a new challenge: 

  • Most successful delivers have faced this challenge.  You become so depended on that the fear is it would take two people to replace you.  Or we couldn’t risk this project falling through if we take you off.  This is BAD short term logic.  Many times the company has to deal with this anyway because I know I have left companies for becoming pigeon-holed and not allowed to grow.  Or worse, they stay and are disgruntled.  The best way to help a company make a better decision, reduce the fears by giving them their alternative to you.

There is no one that can be my successor:

  • I highly doubt this.  First, because I hope you are hiring smart and driven people.  Second, because there are many ways to get to the same end point – have you accepted your way and approach is not the only answer?  I don’t go into helping people grow with the succession plan as the primary goal.  That happens over time as you see who is enjoying what challenges and having success.  Don’t put that pressure on yourself or them.  Just help them grow and see where it heads.

The “I’m now doing two jobs” challenge:

  • Even when you get past the first issue, often we are then given two roles worth of responsibility because the new person is not trained.  You can’t let a ball drop so you do it.  No one wins in this situation.   The new person feels like the consolation prize of the role and you resent that you are not focused on the new stuff.  If you want to be able to move on, invest the quality time that is essential in helping prime someone to feel confident to take on a new role.  There is something to be said that you feel honored when selected to be helped to grow and expand your responsibilities.  Make the title switch the formality because the work was already occurring.  This isn’t just for the new person either.  For the experienced person, there is a world of learning in teaching someone to do something than just doing it.  This is a skill that if developed and honed, will make you a very valuable person in the company.

The “but I won’t be needed” concern:

  • One of the largest challenges for companies is scaling.  How many times do you hear statements about the rockstars like “I wish we could clone him/her.”. Teaching others is scaling.  Teaching others is empowering.  Teaching others is learning.  Teaching others is flexibility.  Teaching others is value unlike any other skill.  I have personally taught many people how to do my current role.  In some cases, they have moved into the role.  In other cases, they moved into other roles.  The more I’ve taught others, the more I’m pulled into more challenging roles.  Why?  Because you’ve empowered people to deliver which is the intent of your role and theirs.  You’ve helped give them the tools to do it faster.  And even if you are behind the scenes, there is so much appreciation by the teams for you that people might not understand exactly how you do it but they know it’s valuable.

As I developer, I always felt a certain level of confidence in being able to find/keep a job.  Now I have a high degree of confidence in knowing I can provide value regardless of the job.  Which do you think companies want?

Are you the only one that can do your job?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.

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