Why peer networking is vital to good leadership

I’m fond of saying that no one has perfect vision, because it’s true.

When it comes to work, however, far too many leaders seem to believe their view of the world (and their business) is without flaw and completely self-sufficient. No Other Opinions Necessary.

This is foolish thinking.

Two or more intelligent heads focused on the same issue determined to meet a similar goal is much better than one.

Given enough time and success, I suppose, it’s only natural for an employer to begin believing she’s uniquely situated to comprehend the challenges, trends, and opportunities of her business.

Problem is—it’s probably not true.

Business is too complex and moves too fast. Plus, there are way too may “moving parts” for any one person to be expert in every aspect.

Peer leadership groups, such as Sage Executive Group, Vistage, and the Business Round Table can bridge the gap between your knowledge and your problems. Peer groups also provide support, mentoring, and camaraderie from those who understand the trials of managing a business—something non-business owners, no matter how talented—simply may not “get.”

Other benefits of peer leadership groups include:

Been there, done that

It’s likely that someone in your peer group has faced—and resolved—the very problem that’s keeping you up at night. Why not take advantage of that? Even if your issue and your peer’s issue differ in some regard, you could still learn something from his experience, I bet, because people are people, problems are problems, and there are probably more similarities than differences in what you encounter each day. How your peer handles his challenges could provide you great insight into how to handle yours.

What you lack, another may possess in abundance

In a very real sense, we’re all limited by our experiences, worldview, and biases. Fortunately, my limitations aren’t necessarily your limitations and vice versa, which means you can help me to see a situation more clearly, and hopefully I can do the same for you.

Peer relationships facilitate accountability

The necessity of making tough decisions comes with leadership territory, but some of us have a harder time than others. Peers can make it less hard, however.

Imagine going to a monthly peer meeting and telling all your fellow employers that you’re finally going to bite the bullet and fire that bully manager nobody wants to work with—then having to face the group next month and admit you’ve done no such thing. They’re committed to supporting you, but they know your excuse is lame, and now you know your excuse is lame.

Want to face that again next month? I didn’t think so.

It’s lonely at the top

CEOs of smaller, family-owned enterprises in particular, may find themselves shouldering the burdens of running a business all by their lonesome. Faithfully fulfilling one’s responsibilities is commendable. Stubbornly insisting that you must have all the answers isn’t. Thankfully, however, martyrdom isn’t a job requirement. The buck will always stop with you, but you can still seek information, insight, and support from others. In fact, you absolutely must.

As the saying goes, there’s strength in numbers. Use that principle to strengthen your business by tapping into the combined knowledge and experience of your peers. Who knows? You might even teach them something!


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