Yes, no one is indispensable, but we all know people whose presence is sorely missed when they are not around. What is that about? It is all about attitude. There is a familiar statement, ‘What goes around comes around’. The negative emotions we feel can ‘infect’ those around us, while positive emotions can ‘uplift’. This can come back to you in an amplified way.
Since your attitude will influence your team culture, it means that you are much more than your technical competencies and expertise. Especially in times of challenging change a willing and supportive attitude provides the lubrication to help smooth out difficulties and boost team resilience.
That’s how you become indispensable.
Three indispensable attitudes
Lessons on an indispensable attitude in the time of the 2009 global crisis
Memories of the shock global economic recession that happened ten years ago might be fading, but there are some lessons to be drawn. One of these is a story of an American business owner whose order for his manufactured goods was cut by 30%. This was a result of declining demand. He faced a severe challenge to cuts costs to match reduced revenue from turnover. The typical response would be to retrench some of his staff – especially those considered less indispensable. But he had a dilemma – he had created a hardworking culture of mutual trust and shared commitment to achievement – he appreciated each member of the team. So he decided to share the problem with his staff. Three options were considered. He could retrench some staff members to meet the cost saving or they could all continue to work the five-day week but take a commensurate cut in salary. His staff came up with a better idea. By all agreeing to work and be paid for a four-day week they would save 20% on the wage bill and the business would take a cut in profit to save the further 10%. The 30% drop in revenue could be managed.
The outcome was surprising. Firstly their shared commitment resulted in their efficiency and productivity increasing – and thereby reducing the loss on profit. Secondly, they found a variety of creative ways to use that extra day off; some spending better quality time with their families; some spending time on furthering their education and skills; and some even finding other income generating opportunities.
The ultimate outcome was that when the economy recovered from the recession the business flourished. Team spirit had not been disrupted and no capacity and talent had been lost. There are two important lesson here. One is the quality of leadership that keep them engaged and sharing in the challenges being faced – the other is their resilient attitude that had been created through a shared commitment to the business outcome.