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What Is a Chief Of Staff and How to Become One


What Does a Chief of Staff Do?

As a chief of staff, you are the right hand of the CEO at your company. Your job duties are to act as a sounding board for the CEO regarding new ideas and strategies, communicate with other executives, clients, and stakeholders, take meeting notes and attend meetings on the CEO’s behalf, and help the CEO prioritize their time. The chief of staff (COS) role is different from the chief operating officer (COO) in that the COS reports directly—and primarily—to the CEO, not to the board, other executives, or major stakeholders.

How to Become Chief of Staff

To become a chief of staff, you need excellent interpersonal skills and several years of executive-level experience in corporate settings. The chief of staff position is relatively new in the private sector, and the qualifications for the job vary from company to company. However, many companies prefer job seekers with a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a related field. Working well as part of a team will help you be successful in a career as a chief of staff, especially since you’ll have to collaborate with other executives across departments to implement the vision of the CEO.

How to Be a Good Chief of Staff

To be a good chief of staff, you must be a strong partner for the CEO. Your responsibilities are to lead alongside the CEO to promote the company’s culture and sense of community, explore new directions or innovative technologies the company could adopt, and to communicate on behalf of the CEO. You perform a variety of jobs depending on the size of your company and the specific needs of your CEO. To do those tasks well, you must be extremely well-organized, efficient, and effective. You need to be a strong communicator and able to work with colleagues, clients, and shareholders at every level.

Chief of Staff Job Description Sample

With this Chief of Staff job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember though, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for their Chief of Staff position.

Job Summary

We are seeking a Chief of Staff to coordinate and manage the essential activities of our business, making strategic plans to ensure all business functions are efficient and at their most productive. The ideal candidate will advise on projects and is the main organizer and planner of company initiatives, attending to the minute details while staying attuned to the macro vision of business operations. As Chief of Staff, you will work with and report directly to the CEO, relaying messages and ideas from other senior executive leaders to improve the internal functions and processes of the company. You must be a creative and results-driven thinker, an excellent problem solver and possess incredible interpersonal skills to effectively manage staff and act as the central contact for all business communications.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Organize and coordinate staff functions and activities
  • Coordinate strategic business initiatives and guide to completion
  • Supervise daily operations and help oversee projects of high importance
  • Act as a main consultant to the CEO
  • Manage company calendar and ensure deadlines are being met
  • Work with and/or lead cross-functional teams
  • Be a liaison for staff, chief executives, department leaders, and CEO
  • Assist CEO with internal communication, meeting with HR leaders and attending to staff needs, ensuring any problems are resolved
  • Keep CEO abreast on current company climate (employee wellbeing, project statuses, new proposals, etc.)
  • Work with team leaders and present to senior executives
  • Build strong relationships with employees and oversee their progress, noting any issues or successes
  • Help coordinate business-wide procedures and work to improve existing processes for maximum clarity, efficiency, and success
  • Attend executive meetings and deliver progress reports to CEO

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Experience in consulting and operations
  • Strong interpersonal skills and a knack for productive collaboration across varying departments
  • Detail-oriented and data-driven
  • Able to successfully organize, lead and direct large teams of people
  • Possess an encouraging, can-do attitude
  • Effective manager
  • Impeccable time management and multi-tasking skills
  • Business-minded and a strategic planner
  • Proven problem solver who can make clear-headed decisions while under pressure
  • Ability to analyze and compile large sets of data and present effective reports
  • Highly experienced with project coordinating and management
  • Self-motivated and self-sufficient
  • Bachelor's degree in Business Management or related field; MBA preferred
  • 10+ years' experience in a leadership/management role
  • Proven creative thinker with strong business acuity