Are You Necessary?

I’ve never really thought about job security. I’ve never considered that “job security” could or should come from a person’s place of employment. I don’t even think I like the term “job security.” I much prefer the term “income security.”

The most successful people I know do not count on a job to help them feel secure. They count on their ability. If you can do something others cannot do then you will always have security. If you can do something better than most others can do it you will always have security.

No job can make you necessary. You must make yourself necessary. When you make yourself necessary you will always be needed.

If you truly want to be secure then learn to create, innovate or be someone other people can use and need.

It’s a stressful time for people out of work. But only for people who count on a company or someone else for their income security.

There are people who have made themselves necessary and those people are getting multiple job offers in the middle of a pandemic. So I ask you…are you necessary?

It’s entirely possible you’re more needed than you know. It’s all in how you look at it. If I ask most salespeople what they do for a living they would tell me “I’m in sales.” While they may be very good salespeople that statement puts them in the very same pool as a gazillion other people who try to make their living peddling who knows what to anyone who will buy it.

But if the same salesperson has a mindset of success, the mindset of sales professionals who have made themselves necessary, they will answer my question by saying something like. “I help people overcome challenges and succeed. I do that through selling and by representing only the finest products and services. The kind of products and services that make a difference in the world and in the lives of real people.”

If I ask a person in a leadership position what they do for a living most will answer “I manage the….. and then tell me what department of what company they work in. There’s lots and lots of people like that…they aren’t all that necessary.

But if I ask an actual leader what they do for a living I’ll almost always get some variation of, “I help people grow in their careers so they can help their companies grow as well.” They very often DO NOT mention where they happen to be working until I ask a follow up question. Their income security does not come from where they work, it comes from what they do.

Making yourself necessary requires you to constantly be improving. Necessary people do not wait for an employer or company to help them get better. They make themselves better. They study. They learn. They have a coach or a mentor.

No one can make you necessary but yourself. It begins with a change of attitude. Develop an attitude that you’ll be better today than you were yesterday and you’re on your way to becoming a necessity. Even if it turns out you are not a necessity where you’re at today, you will be a necessity wherever you are tomorrow.

The Legacy of Authentic Leadership

If you’re a leader who is ready to move on, either by promotion, for a new challenge or even retirement and there is no one prepared to step in and take your place then no matter what your accomplishments have been, you have not fully succeeded as a leader. 

Authentic leaders build more leaders not just a bigger following.

At any level of an organization the surest way to advance is to prepare others to succeed in the position that you currently hold. That’s where true job security comes from. Never limit your thinking to the belief that “job security” only comes from the job you currently hold or company where you are currently employed. 

The ability to build leaders ensures that you’ll always be in demand, it ensures that you’ll always have “job security.” Today, more than ever before true job security comes from what you bring to an organization.  Job security doesn’t come from a job or an organization, it comes from you.

Leaders who see themselves as “the boss” responsible only for controlling and ruling people miss out on what authentic leadership is all about. Authentic leadership is about building other people, not yourself and not a company or organization. When a leader builds people they take care of building the company or organization. 

The process of building other people begins with a change of mindset. If you’re “spending” time on your people you must change your thinking to one of “investing” time with your people. If you do not see your people as an asset to invest in then you’ll find it very difficult to make the personal sacrifices required to truly build them.

Personal sacrifices include putting their needs before yours. It includes listening, really really listening even when you just don’t have the time. If you’re going to truly build more leaders you’ll need to courageously have the difficult conversations that leaders who just spend time on their people won’t have.

Most of all, more than any other single thing if you’re going to build more leaders then you’re going to have to accept the fact that your leadership is about other people and not about you. You’re legacy as a leader will be determined by the success of the people you lead when you’re not leading them anymore. 

If you really want to determine the effectiveness of a leader then don’t look at the leader, look at the people they lead. If you don’t like what you see when you look at your people then don’t ask what they need to change, ask instead what you need to change. 

That’s authentic leadership!