by Michael Holland    

A leader can often feel quite lonely as the day passes into the evening.  The “to do” list is still too long and emails await responses.  A recent employee issue weighs heavily on the mind.  Tomorrow’s calendar is already full with back-to-back meetings.

Creating and cultivating a network of peer leaders can be tremendously helpful and is often overlooked by leaders.  The network can provide:

  • Advice – Your peer network can provide keen perspective/advice for situational leadership revealed through their clarifying questions and 3rd party, objective vantage point.
  • Strength – Your peer network gives you a strong sense that you have allies and are not alone in the continual juggle of management balls.  There is strength in numbers; two are much stronger than one.
  • Motivation – Peer insight and advice can prove to be a strong motivating force for you, as you dig deep into your personal energy bucket.

To have a peer network available when needed requires that you establish the network ahead of time.  These are relationships that need to be earned, established, nurtured, and cultivated before they can be leveraged.  Once established, it’s easy to reach out to your network for advice, counsel, affirmation, and ideas on managing through a situation.

Here’s a simple plan to move forward with creating a peer network that can be cultivated.

  • Set up a schedule to meet with one peer – either in your company or at another company – once per week for coffee, lunch or a phone call.
  • Make a rotation of 4 to 5 peers, who you will meet once every 4 to 5 weeks.

Mediocre leaders say they are too busy with blah, blah, blah to invest the time to build and sustain their network.  Leaders who lead well say they can’t lead effectively without their peer network through which they gain perspective or simply know that they are not alone.

You decide which leader you’d like to become.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Make a list right now of the people you might contact for a peer network.  Are you having trouble getting past 3 names?  Why might this be the case?
  • Make a list of all the excuses that would hold you back from creating a network.  If you took that list to your CEO, how might they respond?
  • Test out the process with time limit of 6 months.  This will allow you the opportunity to re-group and decide if there has been value in your investment.