Five Simple Ways to Lead Your Peers

In part I of this three part series overview of The 360 Leader by John Maxwell, I provided 6 high level tips for leading up.  This installment will cover 5 tips for leading across, to your peers in the organization.

Your peers are we where most of the collective great ideas for the organization will be generated.  They are knowledgeable about the opportunities and challenges in their business units.  They can explain the strategies that their leaders are focusing on.  Building relationships with your peers in the organization is personally gratifying and ensures the best ideas surface to the top.  

Summarized below are 5 ways to effectively lead your peers:

  1. Complement your peers ahead of competing with them.  As individuals you have gaps and weaknesses, as a team you have none.  As with leading up, find the strengths and weaknesses of your peers.  Find ways in which you can complement each other in order to move the organization forward.  Healthy competition (as in competition that pushes each of you to do better) is good, but avoid the temptation to get ahead in a way that makes your peer look bad or gives you an advantage not available to them.
  2. Be a friend.  Think about the first time you went to lunch with a peer.  Even if the discussion was work based, did you have a different feeling about them afterwards?  Your peers in many cases will be the people you spend most of your day with.  They are also the people who will best understand your struggles at work, since often times they face the same challenges.   Don’t limit building effective relationships with your peers to just the workplace.  
  3. Avoid office politics.  Office gossip and politics is often destructive.  Many times gossip is from uninformed people or from those seeking to gain a “leg up” on everyone else.  Don’t be afraid to stand for what’s right instead of just what’s popular.  Finally, if given the opportunity by a peer who wants to share a challenge/struggle, be attentive and listen.  Don’t always try to solve their issue and be supportive of their challenge.
  4. Expand your circle of influence.  Don’t be afraid to take a peer to lunch, if nothing else to pick their brain on a few ideas or listen to their challenges.  The more people you are thinking for, as well as the more people who are thinking for you, expands your ability to generate the best ideas.   Find people who complement your strengths as well as offset your weaknesses.
  5. Let the best idea win.  Don’t always push your agenda.  Your are wrong a lot more times then you realize.  Don’t feel that because it’s your idea that you have to receive all the credit for generating it.  Recognize that even the best ideas need input from a variety of people to truly take shape.  By allowing each idea to be shaped by all of those involved, ownership of the idea transcends across the group.

By building effective relationships with your peers you will find that the best ideas will inevitably surface and that your ability to lead at all levels will grow.


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My name is Greg Syferd. Here I share my thoughts, ideas, and random stuff I come across. For work, I am a Systems Manager at the Columbus Metropolitan Library. When unplugged I'm a husband/father, read books, and aspire to be a photographer.
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