The Art of Delegating – don’t take the monkey!

The Irreplaceable Employee

My mind is momentarily distracted by the realization that Mister C is my one irreplaceable subordinate! Because his job has no internal rationale independent of history or personality, his sudden loss could be a minor catastrophe. No wonder no one has ever been rated "promotable" to his job! No one else has personally lived through its long and tortuous evolution into the current ad hoc working relationships that Mister C employs with me and the rest of my staff. If Mister C him­self has any future at all, he is unquestionably one of the best qualified candidates for a top job entitled "Vice President, Miscellaneous." Never having heard of any job openings in that category, I realize that Mr. C is dead-ended where he is. He has a career problem and I have an organizational problem. (These two nearly always appear as two sides of the same coin). It's paradoxical that my most irreplaceable man is also the one with the least promising future! This state of affairs is bad business for me and tragic for him.  

"But what will happen if you suddenly leave your job and I'm unable to replace you?" I ask.

  "At first, things will pretty well blow up around the place. Eventually, though, the people with final accountability for results in the many facets of our operations will discover and pick up those pieces of the puzzle that most affect their own interests and get them in line again. But not without your going through a period of near pandemonium."  

"In that case, if I decide to live through the pandemonium period, I could just abolish your job." Mr. C flushes with embarrassment. He, too, sees the light. By allowing himself to become my most irreplaceable man he has also become my most expendable man!

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