Innovating and upskilling for 2018

Innovative team
By Eleanor O'Neill, Professional Development

15 February 2018

Are you innovative in your approach to leadership? Ahead of #InnovationDay (16 February), we ask you to consider what you are doing to drive success and inspire others in the ever-changing world of work.

People skills are an integral part of what makes a good leader. In order to fulfil their role, they must be able to not only earn the respect of their peers, but also bridge the divides that emerge from the different perspectives inevitable in a team of any size.

Working in today's professional environment guarantees a varied experience of personalities, motivations and cultural values that have to be managed and understood.

Emotional intelligence

Having become a highly-regarded component of effective leadership in recent years, emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability to interpret and act upon the feelings and values of yourself and others. It is a particularly useful skill for managers and executives as it enables a careful consideration of the personal drivers and motivations within a team or organisation, therefore allowing for an all-encompassing approach to strategy.

One of the first applications of EQ to the business world came from the Harvard Business Review in 1998, which defined this aptitude for working with others as having five essential factors:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

Leaders in the modern era are generally expected to have a healthy dose of each trait in order to excel, naturally garnering the support and respect of their peers by virtue of EQ skills. However, in some cases, circumstances may require more advanced development.

Cultural intelligence

Expanding on the principles of EQ, its cultural counterpart requires a deeper level of empathy and motivated desire to understand those around you.

For professionals who find themselves in foreign situations, working with and managing people with a significantly different background and perspective from your own presents a unique and often extremely difficult challenge. The normal parameters of displaying EQ are altered by cultural differences and behavioural interpretations that are all the more important in an increasingly global business world.

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is defined by Forbes as combining cultural knowledge, cross-cultural skills and cultural mindfulness to overcome the typical barriers caused by complications like language, tradition and custom.

FutureLearn, the open online course platform, offers a professional development programme in 'Developing Cultural Intelligence for Leadership'.


ICAS offers an online profiling assessment for members in partnership with market-leading global behavioural profile provider MoralDNA™.

Ethical leadership is at the heart of the ICAS Power of One initiative, challenging CAs to shape the culture and values of their organisations and uphold the principles of ICAS in their professional lives. The MoralDNA™ survey asks about your values in both work and your personal life to determine your strengths in interacting with those around you.

Take part in MoralDNA™

Upon completion, you will receive your own personalised analysis and be able to discover your ethical preferences in order to make good decisions and do the right thing. Data is securely and privately held.

Masterminds Executive Coaching Programme

Leading Figures, experts in coaching and consulting for finance and business professionals, have produced the ICAS Masterminds Executive Coaching Programme to promote innovative thinking and accelerate the career growth of CAs.

Our next cohorts of the programme commence in March 2018 in Edinburgh and London.

Book now

Improving your performance with emotional intelligence

ICAS offers a face-to-face course in Improving your performance with emotional intelligence in partnership with BPP Professional Development.

Book now

Online learning and development pack

Find new and better ways of doing things and adapting your leadership style with the ICAS / BPP Online learning and development pack. This collection of 10 courses covers essential skills and learnings to keep you at the forefront of innovative thinking, including:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Dealing with change
  • Management expertise
  • Negotiation mastery
  • Presentation skills
  • And much more!

Book now


  • Development of the profession
  • Leadership and management

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