Blog / The Pro and Cons of Being A Non-Executive Director
The Pro and Cons of Being A Non-Executive Director
In this blog, Jo Haigh utilises personal experiences to share the possible pros and cons of being a non-executive director.
Any job comes with positives and the negatives. It’s impossible to find something so marvellous that it’s nothing but a wonderful experience. In fact, frankly, I think that might just be a tad boring. With regards to a Non-Exec Director (NED) role let’s start by reviewing the possible cons:
As with any role, there is no certainty of tenure but for NEDs it’s likely a fixed term position and in some companies, this will be subject to annual approval of the shareholders.
Whilst remuneration on the face of it may seem very fair and more compared to a salaried position for the contracted time commitment. The role will always require considerably more time than you anticipated.
If you work in the private sector and particularly for an entrepreneurial owner-manager you will be “on-call” 24/7.
As a board director whilst you are not an executive and as such don’t have a day to day role, you will have exactly the same liabilities as your executive colleagues. These are very extensive indeed and should not be taken likely.
It can be exhausting and when a company hits a challenging time, relentless.
Your liabilities rest with you for some issues and for anything that happened on your watch forever.
On the plus side, the pros that I have personally experienced as a Non-Exec Director include:
The sheer fun, excitement and frankly huge satisfaction with assisting in delivering effective solutions.
The flexibility of the role is great in that, if you want to work in multiple and ideally non-competing companies, you can.
The hours you work are, to at least some extent, in your own control.
The opportunity to learn is huge and the ability to pass that knowledge on to others very rewarding and satisfying.
No day is ever the same – the sheer variety of the role is immense.
You have the opportunity to meet amazing and talented people and learn from them. Plus, I have also learned masses from those not quite so talented to be honest!
If you have joined the right firm you may also have the opportunity to engage in more formalized director development.
Hopefully you will make friends and contacts for life, I know I have.
So, on the positive/negative scale being a NED definitely bends the scales towards the good. However, as with any position much of this is how you approach the role. Just as a perceived strength can become a weakness, so a pro can become a con. Complacencies are for the foolhardy. Each role and each day can bring about challenges and opportunities, it’s up to you how you chose to respond.
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