If you’re looking for universal skills to set you apart and advance your career, developing leadership skills is likely at the top of the list. Those who are doing excellent work and growing their careers today will be business or department leaders tomorrow, meaning the time to prepare for that eventual promotion you’ll be looking for is now.

Some people are natural leaders, but everyone can hone those skills given a little practice and some guidance. Here are five ways to build leadership skills at any stage in your career. 

Develop Discipline in Your Work 

The best leaders always lead by example, so if you expect others around you to work diligently, you have to do so yourself. Work hard to complete each part of your assignment by their given deadlines, be punctual every day and stay organized. If you can’t master those simple things and you’re not reliable, no one will trust you enough to take on a formal leadership role in your team. 

Take Initiative on New Projects 

There’s no better way to show you can handle more responsibility than by initiating it yourself. Ask to help out with other projects in your company. Step outside your comfort zone and ask to assist someone in another department. This is a great way to expand your leadership skills, network with various people in your company, and get noticed by other managers, supervisors, and other decision-makers. Show them you’re a hard worker who’s willing to step up to the plate for the team and learn new skills. 

Develop Situational Awareness 

A good leader knows when the bigger picture is more important than a short-term problem. Sometimes a more immediate issue or task actually doesn’t need to be completed because it doesn’t help the company meet their long-term goals. A good leader recognizes the order in which responsibilities need to be prioritized. 

It’s also important to anticipate potential risks or problems, provide helpful suggestions and recognize opportunities for improvement that others may miss. If you can demonstrate you’re proactive and useful, you’ll soon be identified as a valuable leader or potential leader. 

Inspire Your Coworkers 

Effective leaders motivate those around them to work their hardest and work together as a team to achieve their goals. Encourage your coworkers, offer to help them out and be sympathetic when they just need someone to listen. Recognize when you can help each other out – sometimes you can trade or delegate tasks so everyone is utilizing their own strengths. This ensures work is done better and faster than it otherwise would be. 

Be a Great Listener 

Pay attention to what other people say – not just their words, but their eye contact and body language as well. You need to hear suggestions, advice, insight and even complaints from people around you. They can help you seize opportunities, fix problems proactively and have a general pulse on what’s important in the workplace. 

Ready to Step Up as a Leader? 

Following these five leadership skills tips will help you improve your standing with your employer and help you build vital leadership skills to carry throughout your career. Whether you’ve been in your industry for 10 years or you’re just starting out, you can build leadership skills in different ways. Contact ICR Staffing Services, a leading staffing agency in Victorville, Calif., to find your next opportunity where you can build your leadership skills. 

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