The Role of a Chief of Staff: An Essential Member of the Senior Leadership Team

The role of Chief Of Staff is essential for any senior leadership team. Learn more about what this role entails here.

The Role of a Chief of Staff: An Essential Member of the Senior Leadership Team

The chief of staff is an essential member of the senior leadership team. This role is similar to that of a CEO, and is invaluable to many executives. As a chief of staff (CO), you will experience the professional life of a busy executive and the daily operations and initiatives that they oversee. Given the variety of responsibilities and the versatility you have, it can be difficult to define the right position after completing your CoS period.

However, you should be able to use your long list of responsibilities, skills, experience and accomplishments to position yourself for various subsequent positions. The good news is that you have options. See the blog below to learn more about what a chief of staff does, what skills make a chief of staff great, and why you might want to become one yourself. Usually, a chief of staff is the right hand of the CEO or a senior executive.

Your objectives are essentially the objectives of your manager, that is, you must help them to be as effective as possible in whatever capacity that makes sense. As the chief of staff, it's your responsibility to get everything you can out of your manager's work so that they can focus their energy on providing unique value, that is, on things that only he or she can do. Anything that someone else can do must be done by someone else. Think of it as a ladder of influence: at the bottom of the scale, you can help your manager through tasks such as printing materials and managing their calendar or inbox, while at the top of the ranking you can own parts of your responsibilities and be a strategic thinking partner.

A good CoS brings a unique and varied set of skills. Most importantly, you must have the intellectual capacity needed to work with top management, but also the agility, humility and execution orientation needed to turn those ideas into reality. You have to feel as comfortable sitting in front of top executives as you are rolling up your sleeves and being in the trenches with younger employees. The big X factor when it comes to being the right candidate for an operations director position is the chemistry between you and your manager.

Often tied at the hip, they'll spend an incredible amount of time together; it's a true partnership and some even equate it to a marriage “(work). While it's important to assess if the position is a good fit for your abilities, it's also essential to assess if you and your potential new boss are the right match. In short, as a chief of staff, you'll incorporate a wide range of your skills and past experiences to achieve what your boss needs. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to work with senior executives, learn about an industry, and learn how to effectively manage a company. The highest-level OC must be a full member of the senior leadership team, albeit without the rank or compensation of a high-level official.

During my 25 years working in a consulting and software company, I had a chief of staff for 12 years as president and CEO. The right chief of staff can be an important source of help for leaders who are pushing their organizations and themselves to achieve ever better performance. The most sophisticated chiefs of staff also help CEOs to think about and establish policies and ensure that they are implemented. She states: “If the leader experiences these areas of dissatisfaction, the best solution might be the right type of chief of staff”.The possibility of staying in the company may be accompanied by conditions and a stamp on the forehead that reads: “eternal chief of staff”. Communication is often improved in large companies with elaborate executive structures due to the efforts of the chief of staff.

Staff managers are often unsung heroes whose impact can be felt at every level in an organization. In an established technology company, there may be several chiefs of staff who oversee skill gaps in their respective areas of focus (e.g., Zippia lets you choose between different easy-to-use chief of staff templates and provides expert advice). Although as a chief of staff you mainly support an executive and focus on their objectives, that doesn't mean it's a job in silos. Some routine tasks such as meetings and correspondence can compromise the amount time available for CEOs to move their company forward; these are also tasks for chiefs of staff. In conclusion, being a chief of staff offers an unparalleled opportunity to work with senior executives, learn about an industry, manage a company effectively and develop unique skills.