“Hermits have no peer pressure.” ~ Steven Wright
Peer pressure can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Here’s the deal: stay close to those you want to be like and use great wisdom in your interactions with those you don’t want to be like. It’s not necessarily a “birds of a feather” situation. You can just as easily be influenced by “birds of a different feather” if you hang around them long enough.
Your peers do matter. This doesn’t mean that you would never associate with someone who holds different values and beliefs than you do. They need your positive influence in their lives. The key is to have a built-in support and accountability system with the right people. By having peers who consistently live out the values you admire, you will be more likely to stay the course. Solomon provides some wise poetic advice on this topic.
Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous. (Proverbs 13:20-21 NLT)
Christian leaders have a unique responsibility when it comes to setting the culture and standards of the organization or team they lead. Leadership is influence. You must be intentional about how you create an environment within your organization that has positive peer pressure. You can actually change the trajectory of someone’s life by creating a positive peer-influencing culture on your team.
The standard bell curve provides a visual of continual probability distribution which in essence reveals that the majority fall somewhere in the middle of most issues. The two ends of the bell curve indicate the opposing views or outcomes. The responsibility of the Christian leader is to create more “pull” on the middle from the right end of the continuum by creating positive peer pressure to conform to godly standards.
Influence gains momentum over time. Don’t ever stop because you don’t see immediate results. Imagine the strongman competitions where the athlete is harnessed to a bus that he has to pull across the finish line. He has no momentum at first, he strains and pulls as the bus begins to inch along, but if he persists he gains momentum to reach the finish line. Building momentum takes time and energy.
The best way to have a positive influence on the culture of your organization is to recruit a team of like-minded believers to help you. Don’t try and do it alone. Collective strength wins by creating greater peer pressure pull; good or bad. You must intentionally recruit a team to stand together for what you believe and hold as the standard. Think of it as tug of war and your goal is to pull the rest of your team to your side of the line.
Be intentional about using the “Peer Factor” to your advantage in your organization today. The bottom line reward of having a culture based on positive peer influence is experiencing greater productivity and profits.