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Karin’s Leadership Articles

Peer Pressures: 5 Reasons You Frustrate Your Peers

by | Jun 4, 2013 | By Karin Hurt, Career & Learning, Communication |

Don’t destroy fantastic results with lazy relationships. Strong performers grow backwards when trust breaks down. Small issues mushroom overnight. Peers stop helping. Communication collapses. Careers derail. Without support, working harder can backfire. Unchecked frustration fertilizes conflict. Invest in your peers like you invest in your team.

5 Peer Problems

  1. Lack of Investment 

    The Problem: It’s easy to under-invest in peer relationships. Leaders tend to focus on their team and boss first, and leave peer relationships to naturally evolve. Peer relationships take time and energy to grow properly. There’s a higher likelihood of competing priorities and agendas, and no natural hierarchy to inform norms.

    The Solution: Make a deliberate investment in the relationship. Take time to understand their goals and objectives. Ask them what worries them and how you can help. Break bread. Learn about who they are outside of work. Invest in their success.

  2. Too Many Spectators 

    The Problem: You work the issues in meetings. Your disagreements have an audience. Sometimes conflict emerges in front of your boss.

    The Solution: Take issues offline. Stakeholder potentially contentious issues in advance. When conflict arises, call them afterwards to work through. Resolving peer conflict is not a spectator sport.

  3. You Don’t Ask For Help 

    The Problem: You know they’re busy too, so you don’t ask for help. That can make you look arrogant, or aloof.

    The Solution: Understand their skills and ask for advice, or even support. There’s no greater form of flattery.

  4. You’re Not Acknowledging Their Contribution 

    The Problem: Okay, suppose they did help you and now, you’re getting a lot of recognition for your work.

    The Solution: Stop give credit out loud to the right people. Make a big deal of how much they helped.

  5. You Don’t Proactively Share 

    The Problem: You share, but seldom first. You look toward a balance of give and take.,/p.

    The Solution: Say yes as much as possible. Help as much as you can. Don’t keep score. Then, help some more.

Your peers provide diverse perspectives. Your peers have resources you need. Today’s peer may be tomorrow’s boss. Invest well.

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

13 Comments

  1. Steve Borek

    I love having convos with peers.

    I make it a regular habit to reach out to a diverse set of people in my industry.

    They give me different perspectives. They teach me new things. They give me a standard for which to shoot for. They help me raise my game. They remind me if I’m on the right track. Some remind me of who I don’t want to become.

    It’s never a good idea to live in a vacuum.

    p.s. Day 3 on the plant based diet. It’s expensive eating vegan!

    Reply
  2. letsgrowleaders

    Steve, Great add. Building a diverse network of peers you trust is so important… I love that you add looking outside your own company to build peer relationships. Diverse perspectives enhances creativity.

    p.s. I’ve done the vegetarian thing, but not vegan. Bottom line, I like bacon now and then 😉

    Reply
    • Steve Borek

      I’m doing the 21 vegan deal just to see if I can do it.

      My numbers from the last doctor’s visit look great.

      I’m looking forward to learning over the next three weeks. We shall see.

      Reply
    • Matt McWilliams

      Try vegan bacon. It’s actually delicious.

      Eating vegan is expensive but so is eating right (i.e. grass fed meats). It’s worth it.

      Reply
  3. Matt McWilliams

    I suck at 1, 3, and 5. My wife is getting on me about #1 in particular because I am leaving some friends behind. Ironically that ties right into #3. #5 is all about being a bit shy and trying to seem humble and not too eager to take the floor.

    Reply
  4. letsgrowleaders

    Matt, you raise the important point of balancing act. You can’t keep every peer with you forever. I think peer relationships are one of the trickiest parts of leadership…. particularly for the highly driven.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Karin. You’ve got me thinking of the times I’ve raced forward to achieve MY goals to get MY recognition or to further MY team. The thought makes me cringe. It takes guts and wisdom to step back and balance your objectives with those of your peers, but wow, what lasting and powerful bonds it forms. What results it delivers in the long term. Thank you for bringing it to mind.

    Reply
  6. Robert Kay

    Karin. You’ve got me thinking of the times I’ve raced forward to achieve MY goals to get MY recognition or to further MY team. The thought makes me cringe. It takes guts and wisdom to step back and balance your objectives with those of your peers, but wow, what lasting and powerful bonds it forms. What results it delivers in the long term. Thank you for bringing it to mind.

    Reply
  7. letsgrowleaders

    Robert, so great to have you in the LGL community. Read your post on progress… not unrelated 😉 Moving forward quicky while damaging peer relationships may feel like progress, but will jeopoardize your long-term vision.

    Reply
  8. Jennifer V. Miller

    Karin,

    Love this: “Unchecked frustration fertilizes conflict” – I’m all about organic imagery for workplace blogs. Cool! Glad, too, that you found benefit in my “workplace relationship audit” post – I think that concept ties nicely into this post. People are “keeping score” even when you don’t know it and then boom! conflict.

    Reply
    • letsgrowleaders

      Jennifer, thanks. My Dad’s a photographer and I’ve had fun working to incorporate some of his cool shots 😉

      Reply

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