Historically, many leaders have assumed that the best way to develop new leaders is to have them learn from someone who is more experienced or has a more “important” title. However, recent research has shown that rising leaders also benefit substantially from peer-to-peer learning.
Over the years, individuals have found that we can learn a lot by sharing our experiences, thought processes, and ideas with those immediately around us. Typically, our peers or team members will provide feedback and share their opinions as well.
Often, explaining your thought process to a colleague also offers a sense of mastery or accomplishment over a task. This process is known as peer-to-peer learning, during which individuals share their ideas and experiences for a mutual benefit. Sharing of information subsequently drives growth. Below, serial entrepreneur Jason Kulpa discusses a few steps leaders can take to help engage in peer-to-peer learning in the workplace:
Find Someone or a Group in Similar Roles
The first step is to establish an individual or group of peers with whom you wish to collaborate. In the workplace, this will most likely be those who are in a similar role, whether it is job type, description, or title. Establishing a group of peers who are relatively equal in position and responsibility helps level the playing field and eliminates any issues with power dynamics. Establishing a community around you is beneficial for creating a support network.
Find Creative Ways to Share Information
One common way peer-to-peer learning has gained traction is through simple events such as “lunch and learn” or “snack and share” meetings. In these meetings, you can rotate with peers and to discuss various topics; for example, each session, one person can take the lead to share their knowledge on a specific matter. This method encourages learning between peers and allows colleagues to identify who they can turn to when specific issues arise.
Examples of Ways to Learn
Leaders can learn and develop by building a network outside of the immediate workplace. Training groups, or T-groups, are a way for those who don’t work together every day but are facing similar issues can gather together to talk through situations collectively.
Another way for leaders to grow is through mentorship. Find someone you look up in your organization or even a peer who has mastered something you wish to achieve. Set recurring meetings and try to learn from their experiences.
Small group coaching is another method. Don’t be afraid to hire an outside coach to work with you and your team. A professional can help you and your peers develop new skills or adapt a different thought process to tackle the projects at hand. Through learning something new together, your team’s shared experiences will further build your relationships.
About Jason Kulpa
Jason Kulpa is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of UE.co, San Diego’s Fastest Growing Business multi-year award winner, and a Certified Great Place to Work multi-year winner. Mr. Kulpa is a San Diego’s two-time winner of the Most Admired CEO Award of the San Diego Business Journal and also a semi-finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur award.
Under Mr. Kulpa’s leadership, in 2018, his teams volunteered at over 24 events and worked side-by-side to improve the San Diego community. They hosted a gala dinner benefiting individuals with autism, cheered on Special Olympic athletes as they broke their records on the track, and brought school supplies and cold-weather gear to students impacted by homelessness. Jason’s mission is to bring awareness, support, and inclusion for special needs causes.