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Soft skills needn't be hard work

The skills and experience required to succeed in the financial sector are mostly straightforward: a degree qualification, join an accountancy practice and work, preferably upwards, through various financial positions. However it’s increasingly recognised that demonstrating so called ‘soft skills’, or emotional intelligence, is important to maintain and further careers, yet there is no clear route for learning these skills.

Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman describes five aspects of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. Being aware of and engaging with each of these aspects will help a professional to:

  • be sensitive to what is going on emotionally, both in themselves and others
  • encourage trust
  • build a better rapport with people
  • manage emotion and its associated stress.

It is also proven that demonstrating EQ (emotional quotient) puts candidates at an advantage when going through the interview or promotion process. This is because increasingly, HR departments seek these traits in the people they interview, even using psychometric tests to help them select the personality to fit the role.

The ICAEW Library holds books, eBooks and articles to help you with your professional development, including emotional intelligence – what it is; how it can be developed; and how it can benefit today's professional. You can search for resources on our online catalogue. Or take a look at our easy to use ready-packaged pages on Career and personal development to steer you through, from CV writing and psychometric testing, to managing teams and your portfolio career.