To operate in a directorship role is to assume much responsibility.
A director should have a wide breadth of knowledge and experience in their area of expertise to deliver and implement suitable strategies for the organisation to move towards its goals.
In this post, we explore the role of directors within an organisation, what they do day-to-day, and how they help their organisation meet its objectives. By ‘directors’, we’re referring to those who have responsibility for specific departments or aspects of the organisation, such as marketing directors, financial directors, or human resource directors, rather than chief executive officers (CEOs) or managing directors (MDs).
What is a director?
A director is someone who has responsibility for the overall operation of a department within the organisation, although we understand that when you hear the word ‘director’, you may think of a corporate leader or even think of a film director. A director may supervise the operation of the department and have commercial awareness, but they may not perform any functions in business-related aspects such as sales (unless, of course, they’re a sales director).
It’s important to note there are two main types of directors: executive and non-executive. An executive director operates within the organisation, whereas a non-executive director doesn’t perform a management role within the organisation. Non-executive directors are likely to serve as consultants on the board. Note that not every director in a company or organisation is a shareholder or will serve on the board.
What does a director do?
One of a director’s main duties is to promote the success of their organisation. Although not focused on the growth of the organisation in the same way that a CEO may be, they must bear in mind how their departments can support the growth of the organisation. This could mean revising systems or implementing new technology to increase productivity, generate extra revenue or even save the organisation money that it can then redirect to other areas.
Another important thing a company director does is plan, devise, and implement strategy, and ensure that a strategy is being correctly applied across their organisation. They must also communicate their strategy so that the different stakeholders can follow it successfully. This is especially important when an organisation is going through a period of change. The organisation will call upon its different directors to lead their departments and motivate them when times get tough, as well as to oversee change initiatives and measures, and help to ensure a smooth transition.
What does a director do in a typical day?
Directors support the CEO and the board, but must also be able to challenge them. When they do challenge a CEO, however, they must do this in private so that the two parties can reach an agreement and then present a united front. In addition to being experts in their field, directors must be able to lead high-calibre teams, understand the commercial aspects of the organisation, and communicate superbly with different stakeholders. Below is a look at some of the activities a director performs on an average day.
Study industry trends
Directors must have a broad knowledge base when it comes to their field. Part of their role is to study trends in their area of expertise and generally keep up to date with developments so they can understand how these could affect the organisation.
This is important because the director’s insight can help the organisation to gain an edge on their competition, or at least keep up with them. It’s an opportunity, too, to try new things that could allow the organisation to grow.
Not only this but keeping in touch with what’s happening in the industry is also good for the organisation’s reputation. Demonstrating you’re in touch with developments builds clients and followers’ confidence and trust in the director and the organisation.
Compile a report
Often, directors must report to a CEO, managing director and possibly the chairperson. These superiors make major decisions about the company’s direction and will require performance data on which to base their decisions.
This means departmental directors must produce reports to illustrate the progress the department or certain campaigns or approaches are making.
Besides information on performance, the report may contain an analysis that features explanations for the success or failure of a measure, strategy, approach, etc. There may also be suggestions or recommendations of potential next steps to improve the situation. The superiors can use all of this information to formulate goals.
Due to their experience and expertise, directors bring valuable insight to their role and can use this to plan strategies, implement, and oversee them. They’ll coordinate other managers in their department, such as line managers or, depending on the structure of the organisation, heads of departments, who will report to them.
Directors are responsible for the overall strategy in their departments, but also see the bigger picture, so they’ll also work together with directors or managers in other departments. They need to align strategies with the goals of the organisation and understand how they, their department, and others fit in. Understanding the organisation as a whole will help them to lead their own departments appropriately.
Note that controlling budgets is also part of supervising a department. A director will manage the overall budgets for their departments, although they may also grant some budgetary autonomy to their line managers or heads of departments. In some cases, line managers and heads of departments may have to request authorisation from the director before going ahead with certain expenditures.
Meet with other leaders in the organisation
In the afternoons, a director may schedule a meeting with a middle manager or with the CEO or other C-suite executives to discuss strategy and performance, especially the findings of the latest reports, and any issues that may be affecting a team, department or a particular project. This is an opportunity to discuss and identify solutions or ways to improve the situation and support growth.
Be aware that directorship can entail a lot of travel to meet with other branches or offices of the organisation. COVID-19 and the greater implementation of video conferencing has changed this, of course, but the requirement of travel in a director’s day can lengthen a working day that is already long. Instead of staying overnight in a meeting destination, directors may travel to and from the destination at the earliest and latest points possible in the day to make sure they have the time to address everything for which they travelled originally.
Book a directorship course with us
Directorship is a highly responsible area of expertise and requires a range of skills, training and experience that the director can then employ to aid the growth of the organisation and help it move closer towards its goals.
To learn more about these and other courses, visit our courses page and click on the relevant course, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, send us a message using the form on our contact page or call us on 0161 826 3139. We look forward to assisting you in your journey.
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