How To Work With Peers

It may be challenging to work with peers. Competition can be fierce. Additionally, you compete for promotions, job titles, salaries, and a plethora of other things.

However, the question still stands: why should you care to work with your coworkers?

First off, keep in mind that professional relationships are essential pieces to a successful career. Peers are the catalyst for workplace success. Moreover, networking amongst peers is critical to future success.

The peer relationship is the most important professional relationship you’ll leverage. If done well, you’ll have a professional support system for a lifetime of career success.

Also, if you’re interested, I wrote two other articles on working with your boss and subordinates.

Here are some ways on how to work with peers.

How to Work with Peers

Photo by Canva Studio

Help Your Peers Navigate The Workplace Culture

Even in the digital age, peers help you get acquainted with company culture. The weekly Zoom meeting can be an excellent opportunity for your coworkers to show you the daily work rhythm. Be inquisitive, and ask for clarification after the meeting from someone you trust at work.

Of course, remote work settings have created a strange dynamic for former office dwellers. It used to be easy to assemble in the breakroom for lunch or stop by a friend’s desk for a chat. Now, it’s a little more complicated.

Even though we’re primarily working remotely, reach out to your peers. Additionally, if you’re new to a company or have been there for a few years, those coworkers can be your greatest assets for keeping you on track.

Be A Good Peer

Here’s one experience I had with one of my peers. I was new to an Army office position where I frequently communicated with people who outranked me, namely, unit company commanders.

During a stressful time, I once sent an email directly to the company commanders demanding that they provide information for a task I needed to complete. Clearly, I got some harsh responses and jeers from the company commanders and a sharp talking-to by one of my bosses.

After that, my peer showed me how to correspond with people who outranked me. She explained how I should properly use the orders process to get the answers I needed even when I had condensed timelines.

I probably would have made that same mistake again if she hadn’t sat me down and explained the process worked.

Like my coworker, you can be that peer. She taught me to how to work with peers with her example.

If you’re respectful to your peers, they’ll help you. Believe it or not, even though you compete with one another for evaluations and promotions, your peers want to see you succeed. Keep in mind, your peers are human, just like you.

How to work with peers

Photo by RF._.studio

Support Your Peers Through Professional Challenges

Don’t be afraid of healthy competition. I once read a book called Daring Greatly by renowned author Brené Brown. Daring Greatly expounds on vulnerability as an asset to harness rather than as something to suppress.

Brown’s research highlights the advantages of opening up to people for support.

Peers can support you in that way as well. You don’t need to confess to severe misgivings. Still, a little vulnerability will allow your peers to see you in a different light.

Recently, I spoke with one of my friends about their struggles with work. He was having difficulty keeping up with his workload because of extenuating circumstances in his life.

We could have an open conversation about those challenges because he chose to be a little vulnerable, and I reached out. It’s a give-and-take relationship that is based on mutual trust.

Those tender moments are precious when you work with peers. Additionally, allowing yourself to speak to the right people can pay off in the future. You eventually create a mini support group at work.

Have lunch with these people, grab drinks together, socialize, and get to know the people who work alongside you. Remember those office parties you used to avoid? It might be a good idea to start attending, whether they’re virtual or in small gatherings.

Now that you know how peers can help you, here are some ways you need to know to be a good peer.

How To Be A Good Peer

Here are some ways to be a good coworker:

-Do your job and help out when you can

-Be positive and professional

-Stay consistent with how you act around your boss, peers, and subordinates

Yep. That’s it.

It might seem trivial, but just doing your job can pay off for you and your peers. Carrying your load will lighten the burden on your peers. Finishing tasks can ensure your coworkers can accomplish theirs.

The mutual workspace must maintain trust and confidence between those people who work within it.

Being positive may be more challenging if you’re usually pessimistic. Regardless, find one thing that was good for the day. If you’re an optimist, your bubbliness may put off some of your more subdued coworkers. Balance those two in the best ways possible.

Also, my pet peeve is when someone ALWAYS has to be correct. Just remember, not everything is worthy of an argument. Sometimes, debating a professional idea is necessary. Still, I submit that the majority of the office chit-chats do not require arguing.

The last one is critical. Evaluations, promotions, and favorable impressions are essential in the working world. However, do that while maintaining your integrity. No one likes a brown-noser. If you are consistent, people will know what to expect from you.

How to work with peers

Photo by Thirdman

Conclusion

If you don’t remember anything, remember this: be a good person. Your peers are human beings. Treat them well, and they’ll help you out. Additionally, if you don’t like your peers, try and get to know them. Start with one, and make your way to others.

Nowadays, it’s challenging to navigate virtual working relationships. Maintain contact through social media or text. I occasionally text my peers, but I’ll admit that I could do better.

How have you been a good peer at work? Leave your answers in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

Books Mentioned

Photo Credit

Featured Image: fauxels

1: Canva Studio

2: RF._.studio

3: August de Richelieu

4: Thirdman

10 thoughts on “How To Work With Peers”

  1. Hi Robert,

    this is such an informative post! I have been an entrepreneur for the past 10 years or so but before that I was in both immigration and law enforcement and getting a helping hand from peers is such a great thing to do.

    It is very much a give and take thing. Learning and then passing on your learnings to others is a great culture to be a part of.

    Loved reading this. Thanks again.

    Kev

    1. Robert says:

      Kevin,

      Thanks for your service in the law enforcement community! Indeed, relying on peers is a critical part of the workplace. I appreciate your perspective!

      Robert

  2. Tom says:

    Hey,

    This is such an inspirational and important article. Working with our peers and colleagues and helping them in every way we can is so important.

    I share a similar message that sometimes we need to be the leader without actually being the leader, especially if our own leader is not fulfilling their responsibility.

    To keep the culture strong then we all need to build relationships, build trust and increase our influence with each other.

    I have shared your article with my peers too and I hope they get out of it as much as I have.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    1. Robert says:

      Tom,

      You’re right that sometimes we need to be the leader without being in charge. It is challenging if the boss isn’t invested as they should. Thanks for your comment!

      Robert

  3. Stephanie Perez says:

    Thank you! This brought back memories of my previous jobs, especially when I worked the night shift. We had the strongest, closest team- and it was because we implemented what you shared in this article!

    1. Robert says:

      Stephanie,

      I’m glad it helped you bring back some memories! Peers are an important part of the workplace. Thanks for commenting!

      Robert

  4. Femi says:

    Robert, thanks for this article about working with peers in the workplace. I agree that it can be challenging to work with others, especially when they have different work styles and personalities than you. That being said, professional relationships will get you everywhere in the workforce! You never know when one of your peers will turn into one of your bosses. A great relationship can easily become a stepping stone to something bigger! Thanks for the straightforward advice. I look forward to implementing it!

    Best,
    Femi

    1. Robert says:

      Femi,

      I’m glad you found some good insight in this article! Thank you for commenting.

      Robert

  5. I really do appreciate this post. The world is such a better place when we help each other and the workplace is not exempted. Helping each other is more important now in the digital space we are forced to exist in, especially since Covid-19. We also get more done when we unite.

    Keeping positive is so uplifting and fruitful. I am drained by negatives and so I avoid people who are mostly negative. I chose to see that the glass is half full.

    Continued success Robert.

    1. Robert says:

      Josephine,

      Indeed, helping others is the best way to go. I’ll be sure to stay positive! Thanks for your comment!

      Robert

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