Ten tips to help you decide if a non-executive director role is right for you

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In these days of portfolio careers, more and more people want to become non-executive directors (NEDs). It’s a crowded market and a role that doesn’t suit everyone.  

Despite the regulation and voluntary codes surrounding a NED role, and responsibilities for those in listed companies, NEDs also have a place in family‑owned companies, those backed by private equity, and those seeking growth and development, as well as in social organisations, charities, trade associations and government bodies.


But how do you decide whether a certain non-executive director role is the right fit for you? 

Cranfield School of Management has established ten pointers which you should consider in turn to determine if a NED role is for you: 

1. Why does the organisation need a non-executive director? 

If it is an early-stage business, the role might be mostly about providing advice to the executives and strategy formation. For a later‑stage business your work will involve
more governance and monitoring. Are you and they clear about what the role entails?

2. Why do you want this job, and what can you bring to it?

The NED role can cover a wide spectrum. You might be an ‘independent friend’, or a
strategist, or a monitor, or all of these things on different days of the month. As with
applying for any job, think about what makes you right for a particular role at a particular organisation.

3. Due diligence is essential

The company will do due diligence on you before it makes an appointment, but you must do your own due diligence as well. Make sure you understand the business, the dynamics between owners and executives, and the people with whom you will be working. Unless the other people on the board share the same level of integrity as you, the boardroom could be an uncomfortable place.


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Download all ten tips, which we hope you find useful when deciding if a non-executive director role is right for you. 

Download all ten tips


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