John Baldoni’s recent blog post entitled How to Lead Your Peers tackles the thorny issue of demonstrating authority by showing that you are willing to share your authority with others. Clearly, an attempt to lead your peers is simply a means of exerting control over them. Handled badly, you can end up in a situation where you have alienated your peer group even to the point where your position becomes tenuous and you have to depart the group.
John’s advice is sound:
- Find the pain. Sometimes the need to act is urgent, often this is derived from something that is not being done that is having a profound effect on people and processes.
- Listen more than you speak. Get an assessment of the situation from your peers. Do they want or need help? Avoid “command and control” Identify the true problem before you act because when trouble brews, it may only be a symptom of a much larger issue.
- Stand back. Work with people — not in spite of them. Lend a hand but do not try and take over. Remember that you are a colleague, not their boss.
Leading peers is a great way to get noticed… if you don’t get burned in the process!