Traditionally, leaders take a hierarchal approach when building new leaders. They assume that the leader with more experience or a higher title should always teach those at a lower level. But peer-to-peer learning can be a precious tool when building leaders, too. Here, Jason Webb, Milwaukee-based pastor, public speaker, and leader, pinpoints why peer-to-peer mentoring is a great tool to build your leadership team.
Peer-to-peer teaching improves employee engagement
Research shows that 85% of employees are not engaged at work. Low engagement then translates into a high turnover rate, which causes companies to lose time, money, and overall company’s morale.
It also shows that five of the top reasons that good employees quit their jobs are:
- Lack of trust and autonomy
- Not being appreciated or recognized
- Lack of respect
- Little opportunity for growth and development, no advancement opportunities
- Feeling underutilized
At the core of each of these causes of turnover is a feeling of being undervalued. Everyone wants to think that their ideas and experiences are of value to their employer. Therefore, organizational peer-to-peer teaching can provide a valuable opportunity for employees to share what they have learned.
Providing employees the way to share their ideas and what they have learned through their work experience significantly enhances their motivation to continue learning and improving. Denying or neglecting these peer-to-peer teaching opportunities will demotivate and discourage employees.
In 1970, Robert K Greenleaf published an essay entitled “The Servant as Leader.” From this initial essay, the leadership philosophy of servant leadership was born. It has gained popularity over the decades since this first essay and is now a thriving business leadership movement.
This philosophy is different from traditional business leadership, where the leader’s primary focus is the success of their company or organization only. A Servant Leader delegates authority, puts the employees’ needs first, and helps people improve and perform at their best.
Invariably, an organization will reach unprecedented success levels when the entire team is vested in that success. Micromanaged or ignored staff members are less likely to contribute to their full potential.
Peer-to-peer teaching is second nature to a Servant Leader. Just as they want their employees to learn from each other, this enlighted leader wants to learn from them as well. Employees will sense this and give their all to do their best.
How to implement peer-to-peer teaching
There are many ways to involve people at every level of the organization in teaching the group. Some helpful suggestions include:
- Incorporate a 10-minute education component in staff, sales, or group meetings. Allow each employee to take a turn making that meeting’s educational presentation.
- If you use a company or organizational newsletter, let even the junior staff take turns sharing some aspect of what they do in each edition.
- Use all team members in your quality control review procedures. A junior staffer may not find every error, but the value of their input may be surprising.
- Take time to ask for opinions from employees that don’t usually have an opportunity to contribute to decision making.
About Jason Webb
Jason Webb is a gifted fundraiser and entrepreneur with a track record of leading multimillion-dollar campaigns in Milwaukee and worldwide. He has helped start, lead, and mobilize volunteers for domestic and international nonprofit organizations. Mr. Webb is a movement leader and a devoted advocate for racial reconciliation. He recently started working as Team Manager and Groups Director for Great Lakes Church.