Who is a non-executive director, and what are some of the notable challenges they face at work?
A non-executive director is someone who is on a company’s board of directors but does not have any role in the management and decision-making of the company.
While they have the same legal rights as executive directors, they are independent directors and are not under employment contracts, unlike their executive counterparts.
Non-executive directors also face different sets of challenges compared to executive ones. So, if you plan to be an independent director like this someday, here’s what you need to brace yourself for:
Having lesser control of things
When you join as a non-executive director, you’re already well aware that you’re not going to have the same level of control like the others.
However, when it actually comes to policy- and decision-making, it can be a challenge to take a backseat. After all, you are still on the company’s board of directors.
Non-executive directors can provide feedback and suggestions that can help the board make a decision. However, you will not be directly involved in the daily decision-making process itself.
This can be especially difficult if you are someone who is experienced in the field and have something valuable to add.
Not having a team of your own
Non-executive directors function independently from the rest as mentioned earlier. You are part of an organisation, yet at the same time, you are separate from them.
While you are there to provide advice and opinions, executive directors will be able to sit together and agree on something as a team.
If you are someone who enjoys teamwork, the role of a non-executive director might be a challenge for you.
But, if you still want to give a role like this a go, remind yourself of the scope of your role from the start. This way, you will not be disappointed each time you feel left out.
Keeping work separate from everything else
Non-executive directors are usually appointed by friends and family to provide support for a company, even though this is not always the case.
If you are asked to be on the board of directors by someone you know, make sure you see your role for what it really is instead of it being just a job given to you by an acquaintance.
As someone who’s on the board of directors, you’ll need to put the company’s interests first instead of anyone else’s, regardless of how close they may be to you.
Accepting criticism without seeing it as an attack
Assume that you are a non-executive director who was hired due to your expertise and knowledge in a particular field.
For someone who is experienced like you, having someone disagree with you, or being on the receiving end of comments, can be a challenge.
In cases like this, do not see yourself as being inferior to the rest, but remember the importance of your role–you are there to support and assist the rest.
If you strongly believe in something, stick to it, but do not take it to heart if it is not accepted by everyone else.
Non-executive directors face multiple challenges but are still essential
Although these directors experience different challenges, they provide valuable information that can contribute to the company’s growth.
Before you decide to take on this role, think about the benefits and drawbacks, and whether you feel that you are up for them!
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