Are You Ready for a Director-Level Role? Check Your Skills Against These 6 Questions

Kyla Duffy
4 min readApr 7
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

In today’s fast-paced and constantly evolving business world, the role of a director is more important than ever.

Directors are responsible for setting the strategic direction of an organization, ensuring that it operates efficiently and effectively, and making critical decisions that impact the long-term success of the business.

The path to becoming a director is challenging and requires:

— Experience

— Skill

— Industry & Organizational Knowledge

In this article, we will explore the key steps managers can take to position themselves for a director-level role and successfully transition.

If you’re considering a move from Manager to Director, how would you answer the following questions?

— Have you demonstrated strong leadership skills, strategic thinking, and the ability to collaborate effectively with others?

— Do you have a track record of managing projects and teams, delivering results, and developing and executing strategies that align with the overall mission and objectives of the organization?

— Do you possess a strong network of relationships within the organization and industry?

— Do colleagues and senior leaders view you as a trusted resource?

— Have you engaged in continuous learning and growth, embraced new challenges and development opportunities, and proactively sought feedback and mentorship from other senior leaders?

— Are you up-to-date with industry trends and best practices?

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you might be ready to make the leap.


Develop Strong Leadership Skills:

As a manager, you are already responsible for leading and managing a team. Now, it’s time to strengthen your leadership skills, including inspiring and motivating others, communicating effectively, delegating responsibilities, and leading by example.

You must also be able to make tough decisions, take calculated risks, and handle conflicts effectively.

Consider seeking out leadership training programs, attending seminars, and reading leadership books and articles.

Build a Strong Network:

Directors are often responsible for building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders, customers, and partners.

Start building a solid network by attending industry events, participating in professional associations, networking with colleagues in your field, and participating in relevant groups on social media platforms.

Develop Strategic Thinking:

Directors are responsible for setting the vision, mission, and goals for their organization.

To prepare for a director role, you must develop strategic thinking skills to analyze data, identify trends, make informed decisions based on insights, and devise/execute strategies that align with the overall mission and objectives of the organization.

Pursuing an MBA or taking strategic leadership courses can help you hone your strategic thinking skills.

Learn to Manage Up:

To become an influential director, you must go beyond managing your team and nurture relationships with your boss and other senior leaders. This includes understanding their priorities, communicating effectively, and regularly updating them your team’s progress.

You can practice managing up by intentionally engaging with your boss and senior leaders, listening attentively, reiterating that you understand their priorities, and offering insightful feedback.

Embrace Continuous Learning:

A growth mindset is essential to success in any leadership role.

Follow publications that monitor industry trends, participate in industry groups and forums, and pursue certifications that apply to your work. Seek out mentorship and feedback from other senior leaders.

Make Your Contributions More Visible:

Making your contributions in the workplace more visible is vital to advancing your career and gaining recognition for your hard work. Here are a few ideas:

Communicate regularly with your supervisor about your accomplishments and the impact you are having on the organization through regular check-ins and progress reports.

Proactively engage in projects or initiatives that align with your skills and interests.

Volunteer for cross-functional teams or committees.

If they don’t already exist, introduce regular opportunities to celebrate team successes together.

Advice in Action

John, a manager at a technology firm, felt stagnant in his role as manager and wanted to take the next step in his career.

When he was requested to lead cross-functional team on a long-term project, he realized he needed to augment his leadership skills to succeed.

John sought out leadership training programs and began reading books on leadership. He also started attending industry events and networking with other professionals in his field.

Through these experiences, he heightened his understanding of what it takes to be an effective leader and prepared himself for a future director-level role.

He began regular check-ins with his boss to share wins and solicit constructive feedback.

Impressed with John’s initiative, when the company needed a new director, John was the first person the boss recommended!

Upskilling, networking, and boosting your visibility works!

Preparing for a director-level role requires intentional effort, strategic planning, and continuous learning.

As a manager, you can position yourself for success by developing leadership and strategic thinking skills, expanding your network, and learning to manage up.

With these skills and experiences, you can take the next step in your career and achieve your professional goals.

Kyla Duffy

Energized by “A-ha!” moments, I’m a career coach and resume writer who helps people move toward happiness & fulfillment. Get help at