Your Peer Relationships, Are You Enabling Or Destroying It?

by | Feb 21, 2024

Article written by Nick Roud, Multi-Award Winning Executive Leadership Coach

Your Peer Relationships Are You Enabling Or Destroying It?

One aspect of leadership is that of your relationship with your peers. We often believe that in order to lead we must focus on the people reporting to you. I agree that leadership holds many aspects to it, firstly its about taking due care of yourself and then others. But what about your peers, those who sit alongside you? Are you ensuring that relationship is where it needs to be? Remembering that leadership is a team sport.

As an executive coach much of the evidence I see in our RLA360 (Roud Leadership Assessment 360) is the lack of effort and or time that is put into building trust and rapport with your peers. If this is the case for you then today’s article will be of service. 

So how do we define a peer?

A peer is an individual who holds a similar position and or rank to you. That person may be responsible for his or her function and or division but you are on the same team, an equal! 

A great deal of time you will be interacting with that peer, discussing aspects of the organisation plan and looking to harness the future. It may come as a shock to hear that most leaders struggle to have a healthy relationship with a peer. Whilst I let that settle in I want to ensure that to be an effective leadership team you have to leave your ego at the door, put your own agendas to one side and fundamentally ensure its a team first mentality. 

In James Kerr book Legacy he wrote about how the All Blacks, a New Zealand national rugby team, multi World Cup winners have a rule of ‘no dickheads’. The focus is ensuring that the team comes first and no one single person is above the shirt. I kind of like that selfless attitude towards team and whilst you are not necessarily going to be ‘best-mates’ with your peers you will have to quickly come to the realisation that if you bring an attitude, approach and or self-ish pursuit to working in a team then you are not doing yourself, team and the organisation any favours. You might want to ask yourself, 

Why Am I Here? 

Make a list and if when you review that list no matter how long and or short it is if it’s weight is towards *you, then ask yourself am I being a dickhead and not putting the team first, what can I do today to address the balance?

When I am invited into an organisation to work with a leader part of our work is harnessing the spirit and power of peers. How are you showing up to those who sit alongside you in your leadership teams? What are you doing to ensure the team is forward looking; How are you contributing to the success of others; What might you want to start/stop doing if you are working in a silo and protecting your own patch? 

So many aspects to ensuring that you and your peers are leaving the business better than when you stepped into the position. 

As a peer to others are you forgoing something that will enhance the team or are you undermining the exact reason you are on the team? When we look at a dysfunctional team we see egos, we see a me first attitude, we observe not coming together, we see poor attitudes and or negative behaviours to fellow peers. We don’t see maturity and ownership of building relationships with each other, in fact what I often see is a total disregard for others views, opinions and suggestions. Over time peers will stop brining his/her voice and focus solely on what they are there to do (think silo). 

When we look at a highly effective team we notice, calm, common purpose; each with the ability to bring their thoughts, observations and suggestions, trust, love, a deep desire for all to be doing well, no hidden agendas and total focus on the future direction. 

The highly effective team of today and into the future will not have all the answers and they know where their limitations are, they will be tighter, they will help others, they will not allow rotten eggs to disrupt the relationships and they will take full ownership. Above all they will want to win as a team. 

The role of the CEO will be to quietly nurture the awareness of his/her leadership team. They will be clear on the non-negotiable and move people on who are not effectively putting the team before themself. It will be the CEOs role to set the bar, encourage, get people really thinking of the impacts that decisions will have on the wider organisation. The role of the CEO will gradually move to one of enabling teams to be highly effective, purpose driven and attracting the right people at the right time into the leadership group. 

Peer relationships are critical to the success of an organisation. You can hire all the greatest skills from around the world, attract the very best subject matter experts/gurus but if they are not enabling and working on their relationships then pretty soon you will be looking to attract someone else again. As the CE you need to take ownership. 

Relationships don’t just happen over night. Effective teams put daily time and effort into each other. They laugh and cry together, they get to know each other not just what they are working on. They get out and walk together, appreciate each others time and in doing so progress forwards. They celebrate each others success and respect what each other needs to be effective in their work and life. Like in our homes we have ups and downs, we don’t judge and we should only have the best interest of the other person at heart. 

As a leader I’d encourage you to take ownership of building your peer relationships. Trust you are going to make mistakes along the way, hold your hands up, be curious and be mindful of what is going on for others. By taking your time no matter how long you have worked together to build your peer relationships will enable the tough, tricky and often uncomfortable conversations to be had. If people know where you are, what your values are, how and what triggers you then you are more likely to build a trust that no matter what is thrown at you, you will be able to overcome. 

Being a peer is to sit alongside another person, to help them in their quest, to build a mutual trust and to support them in the good times and the bad. Don’t wait for it to happen its your job to make this relationship work.


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630