The Leadership Styles You Need to Lead Your Peers
You can show someone a better way to do something, but they will not adopt your approach until they trust you.
In John C. Maxwell’s “The 360 degree leader”, you will find this statement: “To succeed as a 360-Degree Leader who leads peer-to-peer, you have to work at giving your colleagues reasons to respect and follow you. How do you do that? By helping your peers win. If you can help them win, you will not only help the organization, but will also help yourself.”
I have told you before how difficult it was for me leading my peers in school back then. But for the benefit of our new readers let me brief you on how it went. At Students Forum on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the major stakeholders were university students and I was made to lead them. A fellow student at the time as well. How did I get through at it? Leadership development. Getting students together and making the much of progress we recorded at the time was tough. But the good news is that we were successful and the initiative was established in about two institution.
Leadership is a complex subject. There are visionary leaders, empowering leaders, charismatic leaders, and values-based leaders. For each of these styles, there are situations where that style is and is not effective. Leading colleagues rests upon two principles: understanding need and delivering value. You must understand the situation a peer is facing and you must have skills to help him or her succeed.
Leading those who can say no to you is always a huge challenge but if you can convince them by your actions and your enthusiasm then they might believe in what you are doing. Here are the key skills you’ll need to succeed:
Be a friend
“Good relationships make influence possible, and friendship is the most positive relationship you can develop on the job with your coworkers.”- John C. Maxwell
As a leader, your goal should be to be a friend, rather than find a friend. You may need to continue working at being a friend even if your peers don’t initially reciprocate the efforts. Ultimately, being a friend will give you the opportunity to influence your peers when the time comes.
Set clear goals
All team members will likely have their own perspectives. These could lead your team down every different paths i.e if there’s no defined direction to follow. Different paths can also cause conflict around resources and priorities. Few teams would get very far without goals. Certainly you need goals to point you in the right direction and to evaluate performance. When you bring together a diverse set of people, having a clear direction is even more essential and your peers will know that indeed you are in-charge.
Don’t bog your peers with unnecessary rules and regulations. Be as much flexible as you can be and adapt to changes as they occur. Be supportive and tolerant with them. Always give listening ear to the methods and opinions they present before you. Besides, you don’t know more about everything than everyone else, and you will need their knowledge too. It is better to have people working with you than it is to try and get them to work for you.
Treat one another equally. If you truly want too succeed at leading across, it’s important to stay true to whom you are and not act differently to win some people over to you. That is a sure way to lose influence among your peers. Instead, become a statesman for your organization by keeping the big picture in mind, remaining unselfish, and trying to be diplomatic with your peers.
Attitude and influence
John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence.” Among peers, the only way to truly lead is through influence because you do not have positional authority over my peers. Whatever attitude you display, you will attract people of similar attitudes. The attitudes you exude attract similar attitudes. A peer with a positive attitude will always attract followers. That way you can lead your peers through your attitude.