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I get the impression that I am a temporarily added layer of hierarchy to coordinate some processes for various teams in the company that are related to each other; but at some point these processes will be so fluid that those above me and those below me will be easily able to work without my help.

I can already see that the improvements I have brought in are making my role as an extra coodinator redundant. So I am constantly wondering what to do next.

While I have been the employee of the year and always got 100% positive reviews, deemed as an essential part of the company etc. I am starting to fear for my role and job safety.

Is there anything else I could do apart from automating myself to be more useful as an added layer of hierarchy and to stay within the company?

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    What is making you think your job is in danger despite glowing reviews and having positions made for your talents to shine? Sounds like you're doing great to me, but if there's something in specific that makes you think otherwise, could you toss in an edit to share?
    – jmac
    Dec 17 '13 at 9:19
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Let's imagine for a second that you create such awesome processes that you make yourself completely redundant. How will this look to your superiors?

"Hmm. We had all this coordination that needed to be done such that we had to hire a middle manager to do it, but then TheBoss came in and optimized the workflows. Now everything works like a clockwork and he's sitting on his hands."

Do you think they'd want to fire a person like that? No. People like that get promoted.

And if they are foolish, and they do let you go for "doing a good job", you will have a fairly easy time finding employment somewhere else with this story.

But in terms of what to do, I would approach your superior and ask for more responsibilities. I would make sure to tell them that you have 'solved' a number of problems and that you are ready to deal with new challenges. If you keep doing this, you will grow within the company.

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    +1: and also - talk to your boss during your 1:1 (you have them right?): "I was working on coordinating X, but it's going smoothly now. (pause to make sure your boss agrees) Is there something else I can help with? I'm not feeling very challenged."
    – Telastyn
    Dec 18 '13 at 14:28
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In short, you need to make yourself indispensable.

If you want to stay within the company, look for opportunities above and below what you deem to be you level of responsibility/accountability. Branch out into learning about other areas of your business; make connections with colleagues with whom you don't usually work.

The more you become involved with current and, importantly, future facets of the organisation the more likely you are to be taken along on the journey.

Show an interest in future activities, be part of everything where possible.

If you add value to yourself, you add value to your company.

Good luck!

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    I wouldn't say indispensable. I'd say make yourself into a mean machine that gets stuff done. Companies always have stuff in need of being done.
    – iluxa
    Dec 17 '13 at 13:20
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tl;dr: You've moved from damage control to risk prevention. Well done!

... at some point these processes will be so fluid that those above me and those below me will be easily able to work without my help.

Your job is to help people work with other people and you think that they're going to approach perfection without help? I think you are a bit overly optimistic about human nature.

I can already see that the improvements I have brought in are making my role as an extra coodinator redundant. So I am constantly wondering what to do next.

Great. You're doing your job.

Is there anything else I could do apart from automating myself to be more useful as an added layer of hierarchy and to stay within the company?

Of course. You can aways be planning for the future. Here are some basic examples:

  1. New guy: you feel like things are going great with your current team(s) and processes. Now, imagine hiring a totally new person onto the team. How quickly could you bring them up to speed? Could you summarize the high points of what your team does in a single sheet of paper that a person with no background could understand in five minutes? How long did it take to integrate the last new hire? Could you decrease that time by 50%? Motivation: until a new hire is integrated and productive, they are a cost to the organization. You are saving future money by thinking this way.

  2. Hit by a bus: who is your critical team member? What happens when they get hit by a bus tomorrow? Or you can imagine that they quit with no notice if that's a little less grim. Who takes over their tasks? How does that cascade throughout the team? What projects will be at risk? Motivation: plan for disaster now to avoid future cost.

  3. Double in size: what if your team suddenly doubled in size? It sounds like you're doing great with the people that you have. It's entirely likely that senior management will say "this is a good manager, let's give them more to manage!" Could you absorb a whole pile of people who, quite likely, are not up to your current standards of process and skillset? Motivation: plan for promotion.

  4. Halve in size: what if the economy hits harder than expected and you lose half of your people but maintain the same workload? What would you have to trim to get the critical work done? Can you negotiate schedules? How about requirements? This could also happen as a result of your work: your great team members get promoted to bigger and better things. Motivation: cutting my team improved efficiency! Please feel free to give me some of the increased profits as a bonus!

In short, I think you've passed damage control and are now presented with options for the future. You have the credibility and flexibility to plan for the future. Do so and reap the benefits!

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Keep your eye on the business.

You're doing the right thing in making yourself redundant - good management helps teams be more effective, and that can mean making then self-managing so that the role becomes obsolete. My experience has been that before the team is really ready to let go of you, another opportunity to fix a different mess will come along. A company is more likely to have hard managerial problems that need fixing and not enough people to help.

Keep your eyes open for new challenges. Keep your boss in the loop on not just the work, but your interest levels in taking on new work. In many cases, you might be able to carve off a bit of work without changing your role. It's not unusual for work to form around successful managers who have proven they can get things done.

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Its a valid thought in IT, no doubt...

There is one criteria that plays an important role here, "The Culture". I am not sure about yours, but there are certain employers who think the same way of 'elimination' as a part of cost-cutting or re-structuring !

As I see your employer recognizes achievements like 'best employee' & others, probably you should be fine.

The best way to evade this situation is through collaboration. Most of the times in IT, there are things that needs to be done but because everybody has their own 'things' to do, they ignore. You have to first find; & then take one of the tasks and convert it in such a way that the teams; mgmt & the company notice to be worthful that others wouldn't have thought so. And, of course you are adding your mark on each item that is progressing.

And, to remember, selling your idea is the first step; most of the time people don't see a problem before accepting an idea/solution.

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