What skills do Non-Executive Directors need?

Use this check-list to see if you have the skills Non-Executive Directors need to be effective

non-executive directorsRegardless of any specialist expertise, Non-Executive Directors must be independent, have integrity and the respect of the other board members, be prepared and able to look at the business from a ‘big picture’ perspective, be well-informed and manage difficult decisions in a facilitative manner. The chemistry with other board members is vital. It is the Chairman’s responsibility to ensure that the Board functions as a team, with the NEDs functioning as a cohesive unit within the Board team.

NEDs should act in a mature and professional manner and be prepared to make a stand if they do not agree with the way the organisation is being run. Increasingly NEDs are obtaining professional qualifications such as the Institute of Directors’ Chartered Director qualification to demonstrate that they have the understanding and experience to undertake their non-executive duties in a thoroughly professional manner.

Examples of how you demonstrate the following skills are commonly asked for when applying for Non-Executive Director positions:

  • Integrity – high ethical standards
  • Sound judgement – willingness to challenge
  • Interpersonal skills – listening, persuasiveness, ability to communicate ideas, sensitivity, openness and awareness of non-verbal communication, co-operation and team-working, facilitation skills
  • Leadership and self-awareness, ability to gain respect and attention, confidence
  • Critical thinking, creativity and strategic awareness – the ability to take the wider, strategic view
  • Business acumen, ability to identify new business opportunities, embrace change and innovation
  • Ability to assimilate, assess and analyse information, especially financial information
  • Political astuteness, diplomatic, able to deal with conflict
  • Determination, with the tenacity and drive to succeed
  • Keenness to gain new knowledge and skills to develop competences further

2 Responses to What skills do Non-Executive Directors need?

  1. […] summary of the skills needed to become an effective Non-Executive Director can be found here. Your NED CV will need to demonstrate that you have these skills by drawing examples from your […]

  2. Paige Hawin says:

    Great post highlighting the basic but essential skills for a Non-Executive Director. I guess it is a job that is made to sound rather simple and easy but actually requires careful action and a specific mind-set and attitude. Having said that, I think these sets of skills are applicable to every candidate in any job regardless of its sector. Interpersonal skills for example, are of great importance to succeeding in a large range of career prospects, wouldn’t you agree? However, it’s great that you have highlighted the sheer importance of these in regards to a non-executive role. It may be of greater importance to this role in comparison to others.

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