If you enjoy managing projects, problem-solving, advising your boss, and overseeing multiple departments, the chief of staff job might be right for you. Read on to discover what a chief of staff does day to day.
What Is a Chief of Staff?
Within a company or organization, a chief of staff is an executive-level employee who supports the chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), and other top-level executives. A chief of staff typically supervises and communicates with lower-level staff members, providing project management, and implementing strategic planning processes.
Historically associated with the military and politics, in recent years, startup companies have added chief of staff (CoS) positions to provide additional support to their leadership teams.
What Does a Chief ofStaff Do? 7 Duties and Responsibilities
In addition to supporting the executive team, the chief of staff often works as the right-hand advisor, sounding board, and gatekeeper to the CEO and possesses in-depth knowledge of daily operations. Duties and responibilities of the chief of staff include:
- 1. Communication liaison: You are responsible for relaying information between executive team members and other staff members. The chief of staff attends board meetings, provides an overall picture of productivity to executives and stakeholders, and then transmits information to the department heads.
- 2. Consultation: As chief of staff, you provide data analysis and metrics of the company’s productivity to the executive team, then suggest strategic initiatives to improve workflow, teamwork, and budget management.
- 3. Measure team performance: In your CoS management role, you’re responsible for determining performance indicators for the company, then delivering those metrics to board members.
- 4. Oversee daily operations: Your chief of staff role includes working on the everyday action items that executive team members do not have time to carry out, such as working with department leaders on project coordination and business administration.
- 5. Prioritize tasks: Part of your job description includes assisting the CEO with scheduling to make the most of their limited time. You may schedule meetings and travel or delegate those duties to an executive assistant.
- 6. Problem-solving: As chief of staff, you wield decision-making power to identify employee issues and provide workable solutions, then communicate only the pertinent details to the executive team and board members, who may or may not follow up with additional direction.
- 7. Project assessment and facilitation: Whenever the CEO or board members execute a new initiative or special project, you’ll assess the risk, cost, and work required to achieve it, then facilitate and oversee the enterprise to completion.
Chief of Staff Skills and Qualifications
The career path to a chief of staff position requires both prior experience and a background in business. The skills and qualifications you might find on a CoS job description include:
- 1. Higher education: At the very least, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, though many human resource departments prefer a master’s degree in business administration or a related field such as finance or economics.
- 2. Interpersonal skills: As the link between the leadership team and the rest of the staff, you’ll need excellent communication skills. Emotional intelligence and diplomacy go a long way when transmitting directives from one department to another.
- 3. Leadership experience: The CoS role requires several years of prior experience in a business or executive management position, specifically overseeing multiple departments with an emphasis on communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills.
- 4. Project management experience: Planning, overseeing, and implementing strategic initiatives requires experience with project coordination, budget management, data analysis, and strong decision-making skills.
Ready to Start Designing Your Dream Career?
All you need is a MasterClass Annual Membership and our exclusive video lessons from the likes of Elaine Welteroth (the former editor in chief of Teen Vogue and host of CBS’ The Talk), Issa Rae (the powerhouse multihyphenate behind HBO’s Insecure), Robin Arzón (the lawyer-turned-head instructor of Peloton), and other luminaries who have have embraced the twists and turns on the path to professional success. With their guidance, you’ll learn how to lean into your strengths, follow your heart, and build the career of your dreams.
Was this article helpful?