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 gain and improve their leadership skills. The oldest Millennials are now roughly 35 years old and beginning to enter the ranks of management. That means there are a lot of new managers to make great!

Leadership requires the ability to navigate social complexities, manage behavior and make accurate decisions. Preparing for this transition, improving emotional intelligence is a powerful way to bolster your leadership capabilities. Emotional intelligence can be broken down into two columns: self-awareness of your own emotions, and relationship management of other.

Do a self-audit on these three skills sets with your emotional intelligence in mind.

1. Practice Self-Management.

One major trigger to cause stress in your leadership role is letting it control you from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Resist the urge to check your email first thing in the morning. It has been proven that reducing the number of times you check your email improves overall well being and reduces stress. Instead, enjoy a cup of coffee, make time for a workout or learn how to meditate before diving into the day. Place yourself in a positive mind frame before facing the tasks ahead. You will manage the stressors with more control and grace. This will put you at your peak performance leading into any situation.

As the day winds down, take time to also wind yourself down. Put the phone and email aside and prepare to recharge. In order to proficiently manage others, you must first adequately manage yourself.

2. Hone Your Communication Skills.

Becoming self-aware is a powerful tool.  

I recently had a client come to me with frustration about how their team meetings kept unfolding. When I ask what the trigger for their frustration was, they struggled to pinpoint the exact reasons. Was it unproductive? Unorganized? Did no one speak up?

Get specific.  

Practice recognizing where your emotions come from and then use adequate words to define them. Research shows a link between writing and emotional process. Write down the experience and how it makes you think and feel, then communicate. This practice will ensure you use distinct words to define and immediately begin to address the concern. Professional transparency will build trust and camaraderie amongst your team. Start practicing now!

3. Become a Better Listener

It is no secret that you cannot hear others when you are speaking. 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 perceptive practice will give you valuable insight into what your employees, clients or managers think and need. Your team will see you as an empathetic leader. Being empathetic correlates to increased employee satisfaction, team engagement and fostering a trusting environment for idea generation.  

Listen so others can be heard.    

In walking through these skills my client was able to pick up on what she needed to focus on most as she shifted into management.  

Don’t forget to be patient, there are so many different ways to manage and it will be a balancing act of sorts while you work through finding your groove. These skills take time to master, be patient with yourself and take each small win as a victory towards success. Be proud of yourself for taking on this role or looking forward to it in the future.

Keep it up!

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  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.