Dictionary.com defines the word "indispensable" as absolutely necessary. We've all heard that all employees are replaceable, but are you absolutely necessary? If you can't answer that with a resounding yes, then read on to determine if you fit the bill.
On the road to success, do you drive the speed limit?
There is a fine line between caution and carelessness, and an indispensable employee walks that line like a tightrope. Inc.com says that risk takers climb the corporate ladder faster and they earn more money along the way. It's important to make sure that your decisions are based on logic, need and vision - not fear.
Will you agree to disagree?
"Thought Leaders" are individuals who are considered authorities on a particular subject. They are generally among the first to advocate for an idea, and they are key to helping others share their vision. If you are a "yes man" or someone who just wants to go along with the silent majority, you will be one of many. If you are a thought leader, you will be the first of many, and that same majority will become your followers who depend on you.
Do you get your hands dirty?
An indispensable employee does what needs to be done. Forbes.com calls this being a team player. GreatPlaceToWork.com frames this as leading by example from the top down. Whatever you call it, every employee must do their fair share.
Can you flex for success?
Too often, employees fear for their jobs and they hoard information and skills as though they are lifelines to longevity. Sure, it's great to be needed, but no one is available to work 24x7 and leaders are looking for people who can be a part of a succession plan if needed. Be willing to teach others your role, and be ready to learn a new role. As a result, it will be more likely that you'll always have one.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Are you unique, or is there a sea of employees that do exactly what you do? Inc.com compares this to Alice in Wonderland. They say that quirks make us who we are, so we should embrace them. There might be a hundred people who crunch the same numbers that you do. But if you also have a passion for photography and social media, that makes you special and memorable. Besides, if you left, who would post the annual holiday party pictures? Embrace what makes you unique, and your company will too.
It's true that anyone can be replaced; however, the key is to adopt traits that make it hard to do so. Take risks (but not too many.) Be a thought leader, but someone who isn't afraid to get your hands dirty too. Do your job well, but teach others along the way. And always embrace your quirkiness, letting YOU shine through.