By Ashley Stahl, originally published in Forbes
Have you recently stepped into a leadership role in your career? Or are you striving to reach a point where leadership is the next step?
As a career coach, many clients have come to me in a career transition, looking to acquire and improve their leadership skills. The oldest millennials are now around 35 and starting to enter the leadership ranks. That means there are plenty of new managers to make great!
Leadership requires the ability to navigate social complexities, manage behavior and make precise decisions. As you prepare for this transition, improving emotional intelligence is a powerful way to build your leadership abilities. Emotional intelligence can be broken down into two columns: self-awareness of one’s own emotions and managing relationships with others.
Do a self-audit on these three skill sets with your emotional intelligence in mind.
1. Practice self-management.
One of the biggest triggers of stress in your leadership role is letting it control you from the moment you wake up until the moment you fall asleep. Resist the urge to check your email first thing in the morning. Reducing the number of times you check email has been proven to improve overall well-being and reduce stress. Instead, enjoy a cup of coffee, make time to exercise, or learn to meditate before diving into the day. Put yourself in a positive frame of mind before tackling the tasks ahead. You will handle stressors with more control and grace. This will put you at your peak performance leading into any situation.
At the end of the day, take time to relax as well. Put the phone and email aside and get ready to recharge. In order to manage others well, you must first manage yourself well.
2. Sharpen your communication skills.
Self-awareness is a powerful tool.
I recently had a client come to me with frustration about how his team meetings were going. When I ask what was the trigger for their frustration, they struggled to identify the exact reasons. Was it unproductive? Unorganized? No one spoke?
Practice recognizing where your emotions come from, then use appropriate words to define them. Research shows a connection between writing and the emotional process. Write down the experience and what it makes you think and feel, then communicate. This practice will ensure that you use distinct words to define and start dealing with the problem immediately. Professional transparency will build trust and camaraderie within your team. Start practicing now!
3. Become a better listener
It’s no secret that you can’t hear others when you’re talking. So stop having the loudest voice in the room and instead have the biggest ears and eyes. Focus on what your team is saying through verbal and non-verbal cues. This insightful practice will give you valuable insight into what your employees, customers or managers think and need. Your team will see you as an empathetic leader. Being empathetic is correlated with increased employee satisfaction, team engagement, and fostering a trusting environment for idea generation.
Listen so others can be heard.
By going through these skills, my client was able to understand what she needed to focus on most when she moved into management.
Remember to be patient, there are so many different ways to manage and it will be kind of a balance as you work to find your rhythm. These skills take time to master, be patient with yourself and treat every small victory as a win to success. Be proud of yourself for taking on this role or look forward to the future.
Keep it up!
For a FREE course on landing that new job you love, starting your dream business, or finding your purpose, visit https://ashleystahl.com/