Sally Henderson
Powerful change from the inside out




New MD's - 7 tips to set yourself up for success


Time and time again, my work as an executive mentor has showed me how the role of MD is the most misunderstood and overlooked. And when you're new to the role - and most likely new to the organisation too - it can be extremely difficult to get an idea of what you simply don’t know, whether it is about what is expected from you, or about the general culture of the business.

here are my top tips for setting up for success as a new MD:

  1. How far you've come

    Before you get swamped in the new challenge of business leadership, as well as client / team leadership, take a moment to capture what you have achieved so far in your career that makes you ready for the role of MD. This is your foundation rock to call on when you need it - keep adding to it with small & big wins as you learn & grow!
  2. How far you want to go

    Now capture what you think you still need to learn, understand, experience, and gain to not just DO the role of Managing Director, but be BRILLIANT in the role of MD before you “go native” in the organisation, or even gain a new level of leadership through an internal promotion. 
  3. What do these 2 lists tell you?
  4. Make it happen

    Now create your action plan: how will you boost your strengths & capabilities, and how you will mitigate / deal with the things that couldn’t hold you back if left unchecked?
  5. Find your Partners

    Make this plan time-bound and allocate people / supporters who can help you both inside your current company & outside.
  6. Break it down

    Set goals from the first day to the first week, month, quarter, 6 months and year, then sense-check these goals with your boss to make sure you are on the same page.
  7. Embrace the excitement

    Finally, remember to enjoy not knowing! Never again will you be this “new” as an MD, so don’t fight or mask it: relish in curiosity & the opportunity to ask for help!

Yes, the journey of Managing Director can be a highly isolating one with the power to leave you feeling squashed between the needs and demands coming from both above and below. The great news is that it doesn't need to be so lonely, and there is support out there, whether in the shape of a peer* or mentor. 

If you feel you could do with some valuable guidance, let's have a chat, or get a clearer perspective with my eBook, the 5 Vital Assets to being a Brilliant Managing Director, which you can download for free right here


* I run regular Leadership Round-Tables enabling ambitious Managing Directors to connect with peers in a non-judgemental and confidential setting, to share experiences, challenges and advice on how to break the isolation to become a greater Leader, do better business and enjoy a richer life. Sign up here for priority access to future gatherings. 


sally henderson