Leadership skills can be learned, but it will take dedication and effort. Many successful leaders have had an extensive practice, even if they haven’t been in that particular leadership role before. They have likely been preparing for years. If you want to become an emerging leader, start by thinking optimistically, figuring out your values and beliefs, learning about your character strengths, and practicing emotional intelligence. Not only will these practices help your career progress, but they will also make you happier and healthier.

Be Positive, Even When Things Are Tough.

Optimism tends to get a bad reputation. A lot of people see it as being happy all the time and sticking their heads in the sand rather than facing reality. Having a positive or negative outlook isn’t necessarily right or wrong, it’s just a habit of thinking that gets stronger the more we think that way. Optimism is all about taking control of your life and making the most of what you have. It’s about finding the silver lining in every situation and using it to your advantage. If you tend to think optimistically, research indicates you’re more likely to excel in your career, have healthier relationships, and enjoy hobbies and other activities. People also perceive optimistic thinkers as better leaders.

Having a negative outlook on life is synonymous with poor energy and bad vibes. If you want to improve your level of optimism, be more mindful of the thoughts you allow yourself to think. If you feel like something negative is about to happen, try and take control of the situation. No matter how small it may be, what can you do to change the situation for the better? That’s where real progress occurs and is also what will make you stand out from your peers. Consequently, taking action will give you an advantage in leadership.

Determine Which Values and Beliefs You Hold.

The ideas you have about yourself, the world, and how things should be operating in your life. They guide your daily thoughts, emotions, and actions. Our values and beliefs come from a multitude of sources, including but not limited to our parents, siblings, childhoods, the media, friends, work experiences, and education. Considering that values and beliefs have such a strong effect on our mentality, emotions, and actions, it would be beneficial to understand what those motivators are.

After reflecting, write down the values and beliefs that resonate with you. They might sound something like “anything worth doing is worth doing well,” “people should be fair to one another,” or “I am not good enough.” Needless to say, your values and beliefs play a role in shaping your daily experience, so it’s worth taking the time to identify them. If there are some bad habits you want to change, take the time to understand how they started, assess whether or not they’re true, and try to improve them. Keep a list of your values and beliefs close by, so you can refer to them often and see how they change over time. Increasing self-awareness will help you stay regulated and successfully communicate your values and beliefs to co-workers.

Understand Your Strengths.

Being a leader necessitates that you give it your all. We usually only discover our strengths after some time has passed and through experiences – which is an incredibly invaluable form of learning. It is crucial to know your strengths and how best to utilize them both in your work life and when taking on a leadership role. If you want to get the most out of your work and achieve peak performance, you must understand and leverage your strengths. The Values-in-Action (VIA) survey is a great place to start.

Exercising Emotional Intelligence Is the Key to Success.

The best relationships are those where you put in emotional labor, which will always demand a certain level of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and control our emotions, as well as the emotions of those around us. Leadership often requires strong relationship skills, such as the ability to understand others’ viewpoints, create consensus, and move forward with both boldness and tact. Emotional intelligence is critical for your success in life.

If you want to improve your emotional intelligence, start with gaining self-awareness. A few times each day, set a reminder on your phone to stop and check in with your emotions. In just 30 seconds, ask yourself how you’re feeling, why you think you feel that way, and what actions should be taken because of it. If you want to learn how to manage your emotions, it’s a good idea to start by tracking them yourself. Afterward, you’ll be able to do the same for other people. For more information on this topic, check out Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence.

The practices mentioned above not only improve your well-being but can be used to help others as well. Improving your relationships with all of your co-workers, whether they be peers or superiors, can be helped by cultivating optimism, emotional intelligence, and more. Remember that your career is a long-term pursuit, not just a current job. Approaching each of these areas as a practice will aid you in becoming the leader you want to be, and opportunities will arise as a result.

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