Keys to peer leadership: An unlikely source
4. Your secret formula keeps you ever useful.
Famous chefs sometimes share their secret recipes, for they know what many of us have learned after carefully following the same recipe three times: there are just some techniques that can't be explained with words. Food rarely tastes the same way twice and rarely as good as it does in your favorite restaurant!
The window washer humorously refused to share the ingredients in his bucket for fear of being replaced. The best peer leaders are afraid that their talents and "secret concoction" may go unused, so they focus on how their team is furthering the company's mission. When leading a group of your peers, you must have a firm hold on the secret formula that lies within you. Ask your team members what they believe to be your "secret sauce," and be ready to listen without judging their responses. You may find that your team wants you to talk more at meetings, even though you might think you talk too much. Your team may want you to consult them but ultimately make a firm decision, while you may lead by consensus for you fear making decisions alone. When your team tells you what they want, find a way to do what they have asked!
Dolly Parton said, "Figure out who you are and then do it on purpose." All of what you do as a leader must be naturally intentional, obviously purposeful, yet elegantly skillful.
Kevin E. O'Connor, CSP, is a facilitator, medical educator and author. He focuses on teaching influence to scientific and technical professionals who are charged with leading teams of their former peers. His latest book, "Fearless Facilitation," is due out in 2013. For more information, please visit www.kevinoc.com.