A managing director holds the most senior executive position on a board. They have the important responsibility of overseeing and improving the performance of the business, as well as implementing and monitoring the overall strategies as dictated by the board.
Achieving business objectives, missions, and visions require specific skills, capabilities, and an overall commitment to acting in the best interests of all stakeholders – at all times.
Perhaps you’ve been considering applying for the role of managing director, drawing from your senior management experience and looking for ways to enhance your career trajectory. In this blog, we will explore what you can expect from the role, how you can take actionable steps to become a managing director, and support you in finding practical ways to make your application to the board successful – both in the short term and long term.
The role of a managing director
Summarising the key deliverables and responsibilities of any role – let alone such a crucial one – is challenging. Most managing directors are responsible for giving strategic guidance to the board to support it in achieving the organisation’s visions, missions, and strategic objectives. While the list below is not exhaustive, it gives a good indication of the scope of work involved in being a successful managing director.
Managing director job description
- The managing director (MD) is accountable for providing strategic advice and reporting on the progress of implemented strategies to the board.
- An MD is responsible for managing the organisation’s resources – including human resources. This can span to include the recruitment and retention of key staff members, although an MD is typically not involved in the initial screening process.
- An overarching responsibility of a managing director is to ensure that employees are aware of and act accordingly in achieving the organisation’s strategic visions.
- Financial responsibilities of MDs include monitoring the annual budgets and ensuring that financial targets are met or exceeded. Further, MDs are tasked with finding new ways of driving revenue, decreasing overheads, and maintaining quality standards.
- Marketing responsibilities of an MD will include researching and implementing clear strategies that enhance market relevance and promote the businesses service or product offering to increase revenue.
- Staff management of senior executives includes the promotion of employee wellbeing, implementing internal policies that align with labour legislation and health and safety guidelines, as well as creating an inclusive, diverse, positive, and productive workforce.
- Reporting forms a large proportion of the managing director’s responsibilities. The scope of reporting is vast, and MDs will typically prepare, collate, and present reports – along with their findings and insights – to the board.
As we mentioned, this list provides a high-level overview of the key deliverables expected from a managing director. Each organisation’s description will differ.
How to become a managing director
If the duties and key deliverables we highlighted in the previous section of this blog have inspired you to take actionable steps towards becoming a managing director, this section will outline how you can start making progress towards your dream role.
While there may be certain requirements set by the board, there are many ‘soft skills’ that are required to successfully fill this role. Because the responsibilities of an MD include a large proportion of people-management and leadership, developing yourself in this area will strengthen your aptitude to the role, as well as the long-term success of your appointment.
MDs must demonstrate a positive, encouraging and supportive approach to all they do. This again ties in with acting in the best interests of the organisation. To develop this skill set, many MDs have chosen professional development as their method of choice. Our courses and programmes have been refined and enhanced over the years, and we are proud to offer practical training to professionals who have the ambition to not only meet the expectations of their MD appointment, but exceed them.
Further steps you can take on your path to becoming a managing director include:
- Completing or studying towards a bachelor’s degree (if required by the board)
- Completing or studying towards an MBA (master of business administration). This is not always a prerequisite of the board; often, a mini MBA will satisfy the need for a prospective managing director to develop higher level leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills, and to have the motivation to implement change and to effectively improve management and organisational practices.
- Gaining relevant, substantial experience, particularly developing their skills in leadership and decision-making.
- Finding a mentor. Whether this is a fellow or aspirational board member, another senior executive team member, or an external consultant focussing on your professional development – it will lend practical insights into the demands of being a managing director.
- Demonstrating your aptitude for technical aspects associated with the role. These skills can take years to refine, but a specialised course will help you discover what aspects you are already efficient in, which of them you need to develop – and will also provide you with the tools to help you apply your existing and new skills to the role.
How to shape your career and professional development trajectory
While there is no clear-cut or defined way to become a managing director, the requirements often reflect certain criteria, including a specific level of education coupled with substantial work experience. Choosing to upskill yourself will not only provide you with the tools necessary to make your application to the board a memorable one, but also indicates to key decision makers that you are committed to both your own – as well as your teams – professional and personal development.
Part of your remit within a MD role will include the upskilling of employees. By allowing senior team members the opportunity to attend professional development courses, you will be empowering them to support you in achieving business objectives, allowing you to focus on achieving your own targets and milestones.
The next step is the most important.
The next step in your career is the most important one. We 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 that 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.
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