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Have you ever worked with someone who hoarded knowledge as a way to make themselves indispensable?

This is pure insecurity at work.

People like this don’t believe they can stand on their merits, so they try to make themselves impossible to fire. “What would the company possibly do without me? It would fall apart and lose money because no one knows what I know, or exactly how I do what I do. I’m bulletproof.”

Ridiculous! Nobody’s indispensable. You might be a miracle worker with knowledge no one could ever hope to duplicate. You might have some mighty big shoes that would be tough for anyone else to fill. Go ahead, gloat. Now think about this: if you are so indispensable your employer can’t afford to fire you, how can they ever afford to promote you?

A controller is someone who has a commodity (time, expertise, money, authority, etc.) and rations it out in a way that makes others dependent on them. A controller could be a CEO, an accountant, the computer guy or even a secretary.

You know if you’ve ever worked with one because you dread asking them for anything. It would be easier to break into Fort Knox than to get any meaningful assistance from them. They might reluctantly assist you, but on their terms and conditions. They never let you forget how much you need them. Whether the control factor is handing out paychecks, gaining access to resources or getting a frozen computer running again, it’s all about power. It’s about being indispensable.

Surf-Titude-Don’t look at your peers as competition. Learn from them and help them be better surfers. This will enhance your skills and opportunities. Surfing with the best makes you a better surfer.”

But here’s the truth: controllers are always replaceable, and they’re usually replaced quickly. Their security is false. What they have is not true security, but corporate extortion.

Surfers familiar with an area have knowledge of the waves and the best places to line up to catch one. But controller surfers won’t share information. They will just watch you get pummeled until you figure it out for yourself. They think that since they had to learn the hard way, so should you. Don’t do this. Make the path easier for those who follow you. Take pride in the success of others.

Conventional wisdom says to make yourself irreplaceable. The Carpe Aqualis! philosophy is “be replaceable.” Pass on what you know and help others become better and more capable. As you equip others for success, you will see positive results for yourself. True leaders inspire others to improve and make it easier for them to do so. Add value to everyone you work with, regardless of level, position or immediate value to you. It is a great way to live your life and the law of reciprocity will repay you.

Stop looking at others as competition. When you strengthen others, you strengthen yourself. In the end, that delivers value to the organization. If you hard-wired yourself into a position where they cannot be without you, how can they possibly consider losing you to a promotion? Instead, look for ways to teach others and assist their growth. Teach people to replace you. Then you can move up when they take your place. Do not let fear of someone replacing you to move you out stop you from adding the most value to your teammates.

Don’t control. Contribute!

This post is an excerpt from the book Carpe Aqualis! written by Kahuna Business Group’s Founder/ CEO Frank F. Lunn.

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