So you’ve been wringing your hands over the fear of losing a key employee. Your top performers have read all the articles about how to become irreplaceable and they have executed the plan. They now own key client relationships or are in the critical path of a product development project.

The problem with the irreplaceable employee is that she probably knows she is key to your success and you helped put her in the driver’s seat. How did you help? You helped to create this irreplaceable employee by allowing her to develop such strong client relationships that your company became insignificant in that client’s decision-making process.

Or you viewed the employee as a high-potential employee who had the capacity to take on more responsibilities and decision-making, and you neglected the other team members. If only a few are developed, the remainder of the employees are left behind and aren’t ready to take on added responsibilities should a key team member leave.

There shouldn’t be an irreplaceable employee in your organization.  And you can ensure that you don’t fall into this trap by doing the following:

  • Create a pipeline of talent through a robust development program.
  • Measure managers by how well they develop their team members.
  • Have robust knowledge management systems.
  • Identify successors for key employees, before you need them.
Once these steps are put in place and successfully implemented you will probably sleep better at night knowing your short-term success doesn’t hinge on a key employee.

Coaching tip: Team salespeople with client service reps so that the client relationship isn’t about one person. As part of their role as a salesperson, make the development and teaming with service a priority.

Image Credit: The Stock Exchange ( User: svilen001