Mel Savage Executive Coaching
Managing Relationships

The Power of Building Trusted Peer Relationships

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The Power of Building Trusted Peer Relationships
Peer relationships can be the deciding factor in advancing your career. Here are 3 practical ways to build and nurture trusted peer relationships that will propel you forward.

I remember a time when I was told I was doing great work, yet I wasn’t getting promoted. The reason? My peers didn’t trust me. It stung because I knew I was to blame.

Looking back, I realized that while I had fun with my peers at work events, I hadn’t intentionally invested time in building trusted peer relationships. I often prioritized the needs of my department or team over the broader team, and I focused more on adding value than on listening.

Now, I didn’t do these things all the time, but enough to raise some valid concerns. It was a glaring oversight because peer relationships are crucial. They can be the deciding factor in advancing your career.

We often tend to put all our energy into building relationships with our bosses or clients. And yes, those connections matter. But here’s the thing: if everyone admires your work except your peers, it’s a problem that will hold you back.

So, let’s dive into three simple and practical ways to build and nurture trusted peer relationships that will propel you forward.

1. Always Keep the Big Picture in Mind

It’s easy to view your peers as competitors. Trust me, I understand. And when that happens, I recommend you shift your focus from their actions to yours. When you or your peers start getting competitive or protective, it’s crucial to be a leader and ground everyone in the big-picture objectives that you all share.

Instead of dwelling on why something won’t work or can’t be done, step up as a leader and help redirect their thinking toward solutions. Ask the team: what needs to happen for us to achieve this together?

2. Listen with the Intention to Understand

I recently had an experience ordering privacy screens for my back deck. The customer service person kept interrupting me and jumping to solutions without truly understanding my needs. It frustrated me because they were listening with the intent to speak or find problems, not to understand.

Reflect on your own behavior. Are you listening to your peers with the intention of speaking, or protecting your own interests?

It’s natural to want to protect our interests or be seen as adding value. However, the real value comes from listening with the intention of understanding. Ask questions, empathize with what others are saying, and validate their perspectives (remember, validation doesn’t always mean agreement).

When you seek to understand, your peers feel heard, and they perceive you as open to collaborative problem-solving. This creates a safe space for them to share their thoughts and ideas.

3. Be the Beacon of Trustworthiness

Let’s face it—there are peers out there who aren’t trustworthy. They might gossip, throw others under the bus, or make it difficult to get the job done. It’s understandable if you find it hard to trust these individuals. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be trustworthy yourself.

Become a role model of trustworthiness. Maintain confidentiality, follow through on your promises, and have your peers’ backs. Avoid blaming others or throwing them under the bus when things go wrong. By consistently demonstrating reliability, you cultivate a reputation as a trustworthy leader and team player. This encourages your peers to confide in you and seek your collaboration on critical projects, even if they don’t reciprocate the same level of trust.

Want to see if coaching is the right solution for you? Book a time to explore the benefits to you.

Bottom Line: Building trusted peer relationships is a journey driven by YOU, and the rewards are worth it.

By prioritizing collaboration, active listening, and trustworthiness, you’ll witness a positive shift in your career trajectory. Don’t underestimate the power of these connections—they can unlock new opportunities and propel you toward success.

Commit to nurturing our peer relationships, one conversation and interaction at a time. You’ve got the power to shape your professional growth by investing in the trust and support of those around you.


I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.

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