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Why Indispensable People Are Far Too Costly For Your Organisation

by Gina Gardiner

The "no one else can do it as well as I can" and the "It's quicker to do it yourself" Schools of Management can work very well in the short term but have significant consequences over time. Consequences for the individual who tries to manage the impossible and ends up with stress and ultimately burn out. Consequences for the organization, when there are no contingency plans for when the person has a heart attack, a breakdown or leaves the company.

Think about the people in your organization. Include yourself in this. How many of their roles could be covered easily if they were to suddenly disappear for a few weeks? Do you have a planned strategy which ensures that all tasks have at least two people who can comfortably undertake them if necessary.

How often does your organization spend money and time on recruiting people to posts and being disappointed with the outcome?

How much time, money and effort does your organization spend in recruiting middle and senior managers who then have to be taught your company culture and mission?

The two styles of management raise similar issues. Whenever a manager does too much themselves, it has implications for the ongoing development of individuals and the team. Those managers have little time left for strategic planning and managing their teams effectively as they are too busy at an operational level.

Consider how inexperienced members of staff learn best. Think about when you first learned to ride a bike. To start with you probably needed stabiliser wheels and the help of an adult in steering and staying upright. Once you felt more confident the adult took their hands away -- hovered near to give moral and practical advice if needed. For a while you needed the extra help of stabilizer wheels, but ultimately you took control and responsibility for riding your bike. Confidence grew and you tackled greater challenges.

Ask yourself how much time you invest in developing your team. Many people I work with are quick to tell me that they would delegate but their staff are not yet ready. The paradox is that they will never be ready until they are given the chance.

You need to consider very carefully what underpins your style of management. Lack of time, fear of letting go, becoming redundant as younger and more able people come along, are common issues. Yet the real skill of being a leader and manager is in attracting and developing the very best people and maximizing their potential.

Learning through experience works particularly well when this is underpinned by good quality training, ongoing monitoring and constructive feedback to ensure that people know how to make continuous improvements. Effective delegation also offers people the opportunity to grow and develop. It is a great tool for succession training. It leads to a growth of expertise and confidence. The best leaders can have confidence that their team will be as effective when they are out of the office as when they are there and that their legacy will continue when they leave -- ideally to sun themselves on a beach in Hawaii.

Gina Gardiner may be contacted at

Gina Gardiner has been described by Ofsted as an “inspirational leader” and by Investors in People as an “impressive coach and exceptional mentor who has developed an innovative and exemplary training scheme” for emergent, middle and senior managers. Gina has a huge interest in leadership, she has led a wide range of training and facilitation activities with individuals, schools and other organizations, In her work as Independent Consultant and as an Executive Life Coach and mentor she supports people at individual or organizational level to develop confidence, leadership and people skills and effective delegation; empowering them to see themselves as part of the solution. She is a Neuro Linguistic Master Practitioner and a qualified coach. Author of “Kick Start Your Career” and “How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And In Doing So Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion)”


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