It’s time to shut down at work and get going.
You had a tough day and you have to get home.
It is getting late and the sun is going down or totally gone from the scene.
The pressure from work is building across teams and you are thinking about ways to solve tough problems but people outside of work don’t understand what is going on in the office. This is a weight that sits on your chest. How do you handle it? Do you feel alone? Do you seek out help from an employee resource program? Do you tell a friend?
I have had great mentorship. Mentors and coaches are standing on the sideline cheering for us. They provide advice and help us make better decisions. Mentors may also inform but not be an authoritative figure. An example of this would be reverse mentorship.
At home, you have loved ones and friends. They may be an ear to bend or provide advice but it is also coming from an outside perspective.
Something I have learned along the way is the benefit of a “peer buddy.”
A “peer buddy” at work can make a difference to the speed in which a person settles into a role or new job. Having an understanding of the role, organization, and department including the people really helps. This person also may feel similar to you as they are also on “the field” as opposed to cheering from the sidelines. I have found personally that without my “peer buddies”, I would be in big trouble. Reflecting on how valuable they have been to me in my current role and career, there are a few things I’d share with you that may be of help to you if are a buddy or looking to get help.
Personal attributes of a good buddy include:
- The ability to listen and communicate.
- If you have made the commitment to be a buddy, stick with it.
- Good time management and self-management skills.
- Relevant knowledge and experience to be able to provide the right level of support.
- Honesty, providing good clear and open feedback.
- Ability to identify learning opportunities.
- Ability to use questions to encourage folks.
- Ability to learn and teach.
- Show and gain respect.
- Throw and take punches. (Huh?)
Throw and Take Punches
Howie “know it all” decides that when he was at Booz Allen, he learned how to do process better than every other organization out there. He goes to his team and tells them how we can improve if they just listen and learn the ways of the master. His team rejects his approach even though clearly it is better than what they are doing. He goes to his buddy and asks “what the heck?” and they decide to get into a room and hash it out.
The process from here is interesting. If it were a mentor advising, she may tell Howie to do something and see what happens. For example, some advice might be to “understand that you are introducing something new and that culturally it may not be acceptable to just walk in a change a practice that they have known for many years. Maybe you should try one of three things and see how it goes.” If it were his wife or friends, they may say something like “Yeah, it’s ok, you will figure it out.” or “they don’t get it.”
If it is a “peer buddy” they can explore what it means both in the organization and the team. This person has insight from being on the team as a peer, has the ability to see from the edge of the field as a coach and the ability to see and receive close quarters feedback. If Howie chooses to fight, he or she could work through it. One of the results could be that the buddy could choose to do what Howie suggested as well and take a chance. This is an important distinction as the concept of “first follower” under a condition comes into play.
Many suggest that a “buddy” or “peer buddy” isn’t a friend or you aren’t seeking friendship. My take to all those who say “you aren’t trying to make friends” is “shudddupppp”, I mean really. Last I checked we are human beings, we have feelings, we love and are emotional creatures. Trying to tell me that someone that works with me every day who knows me and that I know should not be friends is simply nonsense.
First or Not
Whether you are on your first day or just chugging along with years behind and years to hopefully go, find a peer buddy if you haven’t already. I look forward to going to work because of my peer buddies. I value what they say, and learn from them every day. I fight with them through concepts and I’ll say I do love them and some have stuck with me long after I left an organization!
Thank you, you know who you are!