Tara was by far the most experienced and knowledgeable. She had the tribal knowledge of what happened since the project started. Everyone depended on her for everything. When she got an internal job offer to leave the department my management team said we must stop it and make a counter offer. I listened and tried to talk her out of leaving. It did not work. She left. And you know what happened? The performance of the total department increased. I learned a valuable lesson – sometimes the person that makes themselves indispensible actually holds everyone else back.
I saw it again a few years later at the senior levels above me. There was a SVP that was considered the indispensible and the next potential president. When he left because he did not get the job, the whole company grew and performed better. I thought about this and realized the leaders that make themselves indispensible hoard information, limit people’s potential and don’t allow teammates to make mistakes and learn from them. They instill fear to make themselves more powerful. For that time on, I study the dynamics of all organizations and when I find that so called indispensible person, I visualize how much the team is being held back and how well the team might be performing. Dispensable beware.
Can you remember a time when someone the organization just could not lose left and the whole team benefited from the exit?