Becoming a director is a goal many of us aim to achieve.

The career path we take to reach this level is filled with ambition, a desire for success, undeniable commitment, hard work, and importantly – an overarching passion for personal career development. 

The route to the role of a director is rarely ever clear-cut. There are many ways to reach board-level status, and the great news is that most of them don’t have specific prerequisites. Whether you’re starting out with barely any corporate credentials, or you’re relatively advanced in a senior role – it’s your dedication to self-development and passion for career growth that will allow you to achieve your directorship aspirations. 

If you’re ready to proactively start taking steps to realise your dream of becoming a director, our blog covers important aspects to consider. Read on to learn more about what to expect from your new role, how to make it to this career milestone, and how professional development courses can pave the way for your successful corporate future.

What is a director? Explained

A director’s duties and responsibilities will differ between organisations. It’s important to note that the duties of directors are set out in the Companies Act 2006. Furthermore, it’s the responsibility of the board of trustees to determine the duties of each appointed director, as well as to document such duties in the Articles of Association. 

Over and above daily functions, directors have two broad responsibilities as outlined in the Companies Act 2006. Directors are responsible for making decisions that promote the company’s success, as well as performing their duties conscientiously and to the best of their ability.

What does a director do in a company? 

  • Typically, a director must develop and implement plans, strategies, methodologies, and objectives. These objectives are wide-ranging, and priority can change frequently.
  • A director is accountable for setting the organisation’s mission, vision and values, as well as ensuring the organisation implements them and monitors them correctly.
  • Motivating and driving high performance through leadership is a key deliverable falling under a director’s remit, along with understanding the key differences between direction, management, and ownership.
  • The director is responsible for ensuring strict compliance with corporate governance (i.e. internal policies) as well as with external regulations.
  • Ongoing professional training is one of the more exciting responsibilities of a director. The person in this position can approve their department’s training programmes, and also suggest training courses to help meet departmental objectives.
  • A large part of the responsibilities of a director involves driving the organisation forward by implementing clear, effective measures.
  • Reporting is a major aspect of being a director; the director will generate and present necessary departmental reports to the board of directors, as well as report on progress in meeting their objectives.

Although this list is not exhaustive, it’s a good indication of the deliverables expected from a director. If you find yourself intrigued by these duties, you may be wondering how to go about becoming a director. The next section will show you how to pursue that goal.

How to become a director

We’d love to say that all you need to become a director is a set amount of experience or a certain qualification – but this isn’t the case. For a board of directors to appoint you, you must be able to convince them you can solve the problems they need you to.

If you’re already in a senior executive position, you may consider working your way up the ranks and applying to the board. Organisations are eager for new perspectives, and if you can demonstrate that your experience to that point – coupled with fresh strategic insights – offers the board a new key player, you’ll have set yourself up for success.

An option, not many consider is the non-executive director route to full-fledged directorship. In this instance, you’d typically be in the preparation phase of your move to being a director, with some senior executive experience. 

Taking a non-executive director role, usually within a charity or not-for-profit organisation, provides a practical experience that not only allows you to apply new skills to your dream role further down the line but also lends credibility to your name. This is a great way to test the proverbial waters and see if directorship would be a good fit for you. It’s also a good way to garner references from fellow trustees when you are applying for your ultimate (for-profit) role.

We’ve created a specialised non-executive directors’ development programme to cater for professionals taking this route to directorship. The programme provides the core elements for people who are looking to become more effective at board level. 

Another option to consider when working towards a director role is networking. Numerous directors find their first directorship role through networking events. Whether you’re meeting new key players and expressing your interest in directorship, or you’re strategically placing yourself in front of stakeholders with decision-making powers, networking is an excellent tool and opens doors you may not have known were shut in the first place.

How to shape your career and professional development trajectory

Irrespective of where you currently are in your career, one of the best ways to lend more credibility to your name is through professional development.

If you’re considering the non-executive director route to the directorship, our non-executive directors’ development programme is an excellent option to help you on your career trajectory. Provided you hold at least three years of senior management experience, this programme will seek to improve your effectiveness at board level. We’ve developed this five-day programme to support leaders and provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to become high-performing, non-executive directors. This fantastic tool will prepare you for the demands and challenges that non-executive directors face every day.

For those who have three or more years of management experience, our executive programmes are an ideal way to enhance your knowledge and skills. We’ve designed our courses with your busy schedule in mind, which you’ll see in our flexible approach that allows you to choose when and how you upskill yourself.

This specific set of executive programmes includes three main courses: the Directorship Development Programme (DDP), the Mini-MBA and the Leadership Toolkit Series. The DDP will help you learn how to deal effectively with the challenges and opportunities you may face in the role of director. Whether you’re working your way through senior leadership roles in your current organisation or considering this as your next step, the course will equip you with the tools you need to succeed.

You can expect the following outcomes when completing the DDP programme:

  • A fuller understanding of the role of a director – including the responsibilities and legal obligations you are bound by. Not only will you understand the intricacies of the role, but you’ll also be able to explore and develop your ability to drive organisational performance – a crucial element to being successful within the role for years to come.
  • Access to the latest techniques and processes for developing and implementing your new strategies, giving you a competitive edge over other qualifying candidates. We know that strategies and methodologies form part of the BAU (business as usual) function of directors. The DDP aims to build your knowledge around these functions while enhancing your ability to effectively contribute to boards.
  • Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – you’ll leave the DDP well-equipped to protect your organisation by upholding good governance principles.

Take the next step – it’s the most important

The next step in your career is always the most important. In Professional Development are here to support you on your journey to professional success, regardless of the route you’ve taken to reach your current role. Whether you’re looking for an online course you can complete from the comfort of your own home, or you prefer in-person professional development programmes, we have the experience and tools to help you unlock your potential and reach new heights.

Our teams are dedicated to finding a solution for you – you can reach them by filling in this form. We’re ready to propel your career – are you?    

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