Thursday, July 12, 2007

Most Useful When Already Useless

Today I started training a number of colleagues in the same group.

From the management side, this is just the way to stabilize our processes.

If anybody will go on leave, somebody else can cover that person’s job.

Or in the worst cases, even with half of the team out, the work goes on.


I would always remember that a person is most useful when he is useless.


What does this mean?


It means that in a group, if only one person is able to do something, and

he doesn’t impart the skills and knowledge that he has, so that the rest

are made able and capable, that person is useless. Although he can do the job,

in a way he is not much help to the organization. Things work when he is

around, and things stop to function when he is not. This is disastrous.


There are a number of reasons why a person would keep their skills and

knowledge to themselves. One primary reason is job security. But this

so-called ‘job-security securing’ is actually a sign of insecurity or anxiety.

The person thinks and doubts that if he were to leave his present job,

he won’t find a new one. With that notion, he will be bound to ‘protect’

his interests at all costs, even to the detriment of the group he belongs,

and ultimately, to the company. There is also the reason of pride.

There is pride in knowing that you are needed, and that you can do the job.

This pride also gives the impression that you will not be replaced, since

only you can do the job. But is this so?


We all know that each person in an organization has a unique and peculiar

ability and capability. Each person possesses some skills and knowledge

that is purely his. And this will always remain true, even if we impart

to others what we know, even if we learn to do what others do. So what

do we need to fear if this is true?


Furthermore, a person is deemed to be very useful when he is already useless.

When a person has gone past the insecurities and arrogance, he is open to

educate and mentor other employees. He begins to see the need of others to

learn, so he expend his time and energy, consciously, to equip his fellow

workers, so that they also will be able to become better and excel more

in their jobs. He will always be on the lookout for opportunities to be of help.

There will always be the element of sacrifice: he will put as priority the

need of others to be assisted and taught, than for his own need to further

his learning and earning. He may be aware that you also learn when you

teach, but that is no longer his motivation. A person completely focused

on developing others, is, in the process, equally developed, but unknowingly.

The example he sets will be followed, and this, without his forcing others.

Having emptied himself of his own concerns and preoccupations, he is full

of the goodness and grace of being the person that he is, and even more,

he no longer worries if he will be replaced, or retrenched, or moved to a

different job. His in no longer an attitude of pride, so that he can always learn

and adapt to different jobs and situations, and can easily take the function

of a teacher, or a student.


Such is the person who is most useful: when he is already useless.

Having emptied himself of himself, he is full of others.

Having equipped others, he is fully equipped himself.

Having benefitted others, he also is equally benefitted.

Having imparted his skills and talents, he remains skilled and talented.

Having helped others, he remains the helpful person, ready when needed.


Ang oh, the joy of being that person: most useful when already useless!


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