The Transition From the Manager to the Director


Good managers get promoted as directors. This is a step in the right direction toward career advancement. But many managers find the transition between the roles difficult to handle. Directors need to think and act differently than managers. The other board members, particularly the chairman, may take note of this and help the ex-manager slide into his new role of director easily.

Nature of Responsibility

  • The responsibilities of a senior manager are distinct from those of a board member or director. The board is accountable to the stakeholders for the ultimate financial soundness of the organization. Senior management is responsible for the executive day-to-day operations of the organization to enhance growth and maximize profitability. This difference calls for a critical shift in thinking on the part of new directors to be effective in their present environment. As managers, they may be able to look at day-to-day activities or plan for short-term goals. As directors, they have to broaden their horizons and think in terms of the bigger picture.

Decision Making

  • Decision making is the key responsibility of managers. A good manager makes the right decisions at the right time. Even the most democratic manager is used to having the final say in decision making. As a director, decision making is not a simple process. All courses of action have to be approved by the board before implementation. The best a new director can do is to put forth his points on the issue as persuasively as possible and hope that the board agrees. Many successful mangers, now directors, find this changed scenario in terms of decision making very difficult to handle, according to the Free Management Library.

The Chairman's Role

  • The chairman of the board may take on the responsibility to help the individual's transition from manger to director. This can be achieved by having an informal discussion with the director after a board meeting where the director may have failed to convince the board of his ideas. This is the ideal opportunity for the chairman to put forth to the director the differences in his roles as a manager and a director.

Tackling Unacceptable Behavior

  • Certain managers find the transition from their managerial roles to the director extremely difficult to handle. They find it hard to have their decisions rejected by the board. They are so convinced that their decisions are right for the organization they may take recourse to unacceptable behavior such as direct communication with the staff involved in implementing the decision or lobbying with the stakeholders to overturn the decision, according to the Free Management Library. The chairman has to step in at this stage and make it clear that such behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the board.

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