Leading Peers, pages 221-226
Part Two: Leadership Tactics, 3. Maneuvers, B. Leading Peers, (pages 221-226)
B. Leading Peers
Leading peers is a demanding style of leadership. “When rank and position are equivalent, more tact is needed, and an even better relationship must be built.” As discussed earlier, influence is the desired method of leading. When leading peers, influence is essential. The most challenging part of leading peers is keeping egos in check. The first step is to subdue your ego. The best way to go about that is to support your peer's ideas. If they have a plan that is similar to yours, but equally effective, go with their plan. If you see some possible issues with their plan, tactfully offer suggestions to improve it. When their plan succeeds, do not take the credit, just give the credit to your peers. Additionally, when new tasks are assigned, take on the most difficult ones. If you fail, take full responsibility and get work towards solutions. If your peer's egos are out of control, don’t overreact. “Don’t attack them: simply continue to do great work and put the mission first.” Your peers might get some unwarranted attention with their out of control egos, but it will be short-lived. ‘Take the high ground, or the high ground will take you.” As you continue to put the mission first and keep your ego in check, you will form solid relationships. “This is the ultimate goal; if you have a relationship, you can then influence your peers. That is leadership.”
I played a lot of tennis when I was younger. I played throughout high school and after serving in the US Army, I took it up again when I started college and joined the college tennis team. I never sought out leadership positions. They always seemed to find me. I was the captain of my high school tennis team, I was the youngest leader in my platoon during my permanent party portion while serving in the Army, and now the college tennis coach asked me to be the captain. Her request took me off guard because there were more veteran players on the team. She told me that I had the work ethic and playing style she wanted others to mirror. She pointed at a few players who had already changed some of their actions to better align with mine. The military had taught me that you can never be too early, but you can always be too late. So, I was always the first to practice. I was also taught to respect those in charge and to remember that everyone in the platoon had a part to play in achieving the mission. So, I was always respectful of the coach, and treated all members, regardless of their abilities and rankings, the same. As to my playing style, that developed at a young age, probably around ten years old. I was always the shortest and skinniest of my friends. Tennis helped even out the playing field because it didn’t rely on brute strength or exceptional speed. While I understood that I lacked natural tennis talent and superior physical attributes, what I did have was a stubbornness to not fail. I was always willing to outwork my opponent. I was referred to as a snake that would latch on and not let go until the other was tired and gave up. I carried that same mentality onto the college tennis courts. I would often tell my teammates that even though their opponents might be more talented, they could always outwork them. This is the playing style the coach wanted to see in the other players. So, I was the captain during my two years on the team (I was enrolled in an associate's degree program). Our team suffered losses and but we were a very tight bunch and we all grew as players. I was proud to see that my coach was right as some of the players took on some of my playing attributes. I had influenced and lead peers. While I never really thought about my ego. My actions seemed that I had it well in check.