If you’re looking to get far in your career, you’ll need to invest in your leadership skills. Even if you aren’t currently in a leadership position, finding ways to hone and show off leadership-related traits is vital to moving up the career ladder.

Soft skills are the key to showing your employer that you’re ready to take on a bigger role in the workplace. The experts at FlexJobs covered nine leadership habits to develop for career growth. We look at some of our favorites and add our own insights.

Support your team

The best leaders are those that elevate their team members to new heights by celebrating their accomplishments and putting them in the best position to succeed. Leaders that make people actually want to follow them are the most successful.

You don’t have to actually be a manager or project leader in order to hone or show off this skill. FlexJobs’ Kimberli Lowe-MacAuley suggests offering to train or mentor new team members along with creating opportunities to make sure every team member is heard.

“Visibly exude caring, compassion, and concern for employees. Thoughtfully administer rewards and recognition (tailoring to employee preferences for how they like to be rewarded), ensure employees have robust personal growth and development plans, and unswervingly show respect.” –Scott Mautz, keynote speaker

Another step is to share credit and accept blame when necessary. You’ll build goodwill with your team by celebrating their accomplishments and taking responsibility for your own shortcomings rather than shifting blame.

Focus on the big picture

Adjusting your focus is a great way to change your mindset and think like a leader. Learn to see the forest for the trees and start thinking about the big picture.

Kimberli says to offer solutions that have a greater effect than just the needs of your team. Leaders have to think of what is good for their entire organization, and pitching an idea that doesn’t directly benefit you shows thinking from the top and a willingness to make sacrifices.

Forbes’ Erin Urban also writes that sometimes this means focusing on relationships over immediate results. This connects with the above point of supporting your team. Taking the blame for an issue might make you look bad in the immediate future, but your team will respect your efforts to fight for them.

Be a self-starter

It can be hard to show leadership skills if you aren’t leading a team or even a part of one. But one of the strongest ways to show you have leadership potential is to always be proactive and find ways to contribute.

Kimberli writes that being someone always willing to suggest new ideas and taking initiative is a great way to get noticed by the bosses. If you aren’t afraid to step up and float an idea, this shows creativity and a willingness to do the extra work.

Walden University suggests you can go even further by learning to anticipate organizational needs. This shows a strong understanding of the organization, a focus on the big picture, and the proactive approach needed in a leadership role.

Look for growth opportunities

Another sign of a great leader is the ability to keep growing and learning. A strong leader needs to be able to adapt and make decisions, and by constantly learning new skills, you’ll be ready to make those decisions.

Kimberli says to find training courses and workshops, even if they aren’t required for your role. You can also take advantage of any tuition reimbursement opportunities and take courses to keep learning and upskilling. Do some research to find out what your organization can offer and take advantage!

“Individuals that develop a growth mindset believe they are capable of learning and their talents, abilities and intelligence is not static. They believe in their ability to “figure things out.” They trust that their hard work and persistence will help them develop the skill set to meet a particular challenge or need.” –Jackie Capers-Brown, LinkedIn

Forbes’ Ashira Prossack also suggests finding a mentor to learn from. An experienced leader in your organization will have insights that can’t be found in an article or in a course, and this person will directly see you making efforts to learn and better yourself. They might be able to recommend you for a promotion down the road.

Wrap up

You don’t have to already be a leader in the workplace to show off your skills. By simply being a collaborative team member, focusing on the big picture, and taking initiative and finding ways to grow, you’ll show your employer you have the skills to take the next step and earn that coveted promotion!

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