Real Leaders

Master These Skills to Increase Your Effectiveness As a Leader

A charismatic young business man wearing glasses, gray jacket, white turtleneck having a conversation on the phone in a modern space

Strong leaders use their Emotional Intelligence to increase their effectiveness.

Not all of the tactics below will be relevant to your situation, but undoubtedly, some ideas and strategies will assist you in enhancing your understanding of yourself and help direct you in becoming an Emotionally Strong Leader. 

Improve Your Self-Regard 

Leaders who have high self-regard have an accurate view of their strengths and development opportunities. They are more likely to have a genuine concern for others, share success, and hold themselves accountable when things go wrong. They are confident in themselves and don’t shy away from admitting their development opportunities or mistakes.

Tips and Tools for Increasing Self-Regard:

  • Surround yourself with supportive people.
  • Integrate more positive habits daily. 
  • Believe in yourself, and until you do, act as if you do.
  • Challenge your self-limiting beliefs.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People 

Surround yourself with the people in your life who simply “get you” and love you. When you feel bad about yourself, rely on those supportive people to help you counter your self-limiting beliefs or negative thoughts. Solicit feedback about your strengths from your supporters so you can start to appreciate, as much as they do, your natural talents and personality traits.

Integrate More Positive Habits Daily 

This need not be an arduous exercise—in fact, that would defeat the purpose of this building block for increasing your self-regard. The best way to add positive daily habits is to keep it simple, especially at first. Identify the areas in which you are looking to grow or change, and find small ways you can incorporate a new habit or routine into an already existing structure. Do you want to improve your outlook on life? Why not incorporate a daily gratitude statement with your family before dinner? Looking to exercise more? Perhaps plan a walk to fetch a coffee after lunch? The possibilities for small positive habits are endless if you plan and tie them to things you already do.

Believe in Yourself, and until You Do, Act as If You Do

You are capable of achieving amazing things. Believe that you can, dedicate yourself to taking steps toward what you want, and work hard. Create a vision in your mind’s eye. That vision will help you think through your action plan and how your dreams will materialize. Until you feel confident in yourself, act as if you are. At times, you may believe everyone can see your insecurity. But here’s the wonderful truth. It’s invisible—it’s just a thought. As long as you don’t act on that thought, no one can see it. Just act as a confident person would, and start noticing the results.

Challenge Your Self-Limiting Beliefs

Our self-limiting beliefs can control our life choices—what we choose to do and not do. We need to put those negative beliefs aside and work on not letting them rule our life. These destructive beliefs get in your way of being the best version of yourself. With that in mind, think about what you can do, and rather than letting your self-limiting beliefs continue to damage you emotionally, learn to reframe a previously negative mindset into a more positive outlook in your life. For instance, are you are looking at any situation through a negative lens? How could you turn this around and interpret the same set of events in a more positive framework?  

Boost Your Self-Actualization 

Leaders practice self-actualization by continuing to improve themselves. Self-actualization enables leaders to bring creativity, innovation, and an open mind into the workplace. It relates to a motivation to optimize both their performance and that of their teams. Leaders who are strong in self-actualization often participate in activities with meaning and are aligned with their own values, which leave them feeling satisfied, energized, and motivated. They are passionate and enthusiastic and strive to be their best. 

Tips and Tools for Increasing Self-Actualization:

  • Take time to rest.
  • Learn something new.
  • Exercise your way into happiness.
  • Discover your passions.

Take Time to Rest 

Technology has made it possible to stay connected with each other 24/7; messages and emails come flooding in at any time, and we feel inclined to respond, even if our workday has ended. But remember, we are humans, not machines. We need time to rest, rejuvenate, and reconnect with ourselves. Getting proper rest requires discipline. So take some much-needed time for yourself and schedule rest.

 Learn Something New

Learning something new keeps your mind engaged; you are exercising your brain and improving your memory, concentration, and ability to problem solve. Learning expands your world view and perspectives and helps you gain skill sets, opening more doors for you. One excellent way to broaden your social circle is to take a class or pursue a new hobby, which will increase your likelihood of making friends with similar interests. 

 Exercise Your Way into Happiness

Study after study has shown the positive effect being active has on our brains. Exercise produces endorphins and proteins that make us feel happier—it increases our cognitive abilities, helps us sleep better, enhances our self-perception, and improves our whole sense of well-being. It puts more pep in our steps every day. On days that you don’t feel like exercising, go for a five-minute walk (I mean, if you can’t find five minutes, that points to a larger problem, no?). Getting a daily dose of fresh air and activity can help you feel good about yourself.

Discover Your Passions

Ask yourself what fills your bucket and is meaningful to you. Being self-actualized means first discovering and then pursuing what matters to you. That is what fulfillment is all about. Not sure what matters to you or what you are passionate about? Start with determining what you value. Your values are your guiding principles. They determine what you think is important and can dictate how you choose to live your life. See if you can take action and live more congruently with what you value. In essence, that will make you feel more fulfilled. 

Excerpted from “The Emotionally Strong Leader: An Inside-Out Journey to Transformational Leadership” by Carolyn Stern

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