Peers and Power Are a Potent Mix

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"Excerpted from the forth coming The Truth About Being a LeaderAnd Absolutely nothing But The Truth
Have you ever walked into a high school locker room or a martial arts class? The smell that hits you is that of competition and sweat. In meeting rooms in organizations about the planet, the dynamics, if not the aroma, are equivalent, as peers jockey for power in an adult version of sports competition.
It is no accident that on feedback questionnaires of all types, peers tend to mark each other below scores received from bosses and direct reports.
When you enter a leadership function, it really is essential to recognize that the game has changed and your new peers could now see you as competition.
Its normally not personal. A particular amount of distrust is all-natural, due to the fact, now or in the future, you and your peers will be in direct competitors for roles, resources, and remuneration. And it really is okay, indeed healthful, to develop some caution relating to the motivation and moves of your peers. Otherwise, you could be in for a nasty surprise.
Consider Albert, who relied on one more departments analysis and truth finding capabilities. He soon found that their reports could be biased and that they did not give his group enough information.
Frustrated, he openly complained about the research department and refused to continue using their reports. But Albert soon realized he was burning bridges with his actions. He backed off and approached the issue differently.
Employing feedback gleaned from asking his clients what they thought, he let the research department know how the biases and omissions in their earlier reports had upset his clients. When the emphasis was on serving clients, not helping a peer and achievable competitor, the research department recognized and responded to the need to cooperate.
Given that resources are usually stretched and the interests of departments often do not coincide, developing trust with peers is tricky. Ideally, trust comes from understanding that a peer is able to place the organizations interests before his or her own, and will give credit to other departments rather taking total ownership.
But dont take it for granted that a peer will always act this way. Establish clear guidelines and expectations for your operate with each other. For instance, if you have to split a commission, agree on the percentage split in advance. And continually monitor your joint efforts, giving rapid feedback about whats working and what isnt if your peers function diverges from the framework you set up.
In Alberts situation, he identified that delivering clear guidelines and expectations backed by other individuals was the first step in producing a very good peer group relationship. He also learned that he had to communicate constantly with and test the investigation team to be positive they were working toward compatible goals.
Dont forget, a peer these days might be a boss tomorrow. See hold it clean and preserve it clear and youll be happy that you did.
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