Chief of Staff Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Chief of Staff, or Chief Executive Assistant, supports executive employees in their roles by taking over their smaller responsibilities or handling other day-to-day items. Their duties include attending meetings on the executive leader’s behalf and taking notes, leading and implementing various strategic planning processes across the organization and providing leadership members with important company information to prepare them for upcoming meetings or presentations.

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Chief of Staff duties and responsibilities

A Chief of Staff will use strong leadership and problem-solving skills to assist with the daily operation of an organization. A Chief of Staff typically has the following responsibilities:

  • Collaborating with executive team members to determine and prioritize business strategies
  • Managing the Chief Executive’s schedule, scheduling meetings and planning travel
  • Providing department leaders with recommendations and consultation to improve teamwork
  • Planning, coordinating and keeping contents of a meeting focused
  • Determining key performance indicators and how to measure team performance
  • Providing tactical support to implement ideas
  • Working with leadership to deliver, monitor and communicate progress towards goals
  • Responding to inquiries on behalf of the Chief Executive
  • Overseeing strategic business initiatives from ideation to implementation
  • Identifying and helping solve core problems or opportunities within business processes
  • Providing Chief Executive and other senior leaders with insight and analysis on the company’s operations
  • Assessing risk when business decisions are made
  • Providing support and oversight for special projects and initiatives
  • Planning, coordinating and leading meetings and workshops
  • Identifying and providing recommendations on improvements across the organization
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What does a Chief of Staff do?

Chiefs of Staff often take over responsibilities executive team members lack the time to complete. They often handle the daily operations of a company by interacting and engaging closely with employees to identify any issues and provide valuable solutions. Chiefs of Staff take the information they gain from their day-to-day duties and relay any important details to executive members to keep them involved in the company’s operations. 

They usually handle the internal and external communications with employees and clients through speeches, reports and newsletters. Chiefs of Staff are usually in charge of implementing and managing any organization-wide initiatives and programs. They’ll then communicate these decisions and efforts to executive staff members.

Chief of Staff skills and qualifications

A successful Chief of Staff will have certain prerequisite skills and qualifications, which include:

  • Communication: A Chief of Staff regularly works with team members of all levels, so strongly developed written and verbal communication skills are crucial. 
  • Leadership: The Chief of Staff acts as a leader, planning meetings and determining the needs of the business. The ability to lead in an effective and trustworthy way is important when working as a Chief of Staff.
  • Time management: The Chief of Staff is not only responsible for improving the efficiency of the business but managing the time of the executive leader. They use skills in organization and planning to prioritize tasks, set meetings and diffuse work conflict without bringing it to the attention of the executive leader.
  • Problem-solving: Whether it is conflict within the workplace or a problem with a vendor, customer or partner, it is the role of the Chief of Staff to take the necessary steps to overcome problems their organization faces.

Chief of Staff salary expectations

 A Chief of Staff makes an average of $120,079 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location. 

Chief of Staff education and training requirements

While some Chief of Staff applicants have a bachelor’s degree, many hiring managers prefer at least a master’s degree. Candidates generally have a degree in business administration or in a related industry like finance, economics or logistics. Previous training, either through an educational program or in an executive role, is often expected of a Chief of Staff. Some Chiefs of Staff may also choose to pursue a certification either before or during employment.

Chief of Staff Experience Requirements

Because organizations often choose to hire a Chief of Staff to improve the daily operations of the company, a Chief of Staff is often expected to have previous experience. Some employers will choose a candidate with prior work experience in an executive role in their industry, whereas others may choose a candidate who has previous Chief of Staff experience in a different industry.

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Frequently asked questions about Chiefs of Staff

 

Who does the Chief of Staff report to?

The Chief of Staff reports to certain members of the executive team. They may report to an individual executive member, which is usually the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO typically handles more big-picture items, working with the board of directors and other leadership members to make high-level company decisions. 

Chiefs of Staff collaborate with employees to handle daily tasks on the CEO’s behalf. They report to the CEO regularly to tell them the decisions they’ve made, projects that have been implemented and any other important company information. The CEO also passes down important high-level business details for the CEO to relay to employees.

 

Do Chiefs of Staff hold different responsibilities in different industries?

Chiefs of Staff usually hold responsibilities depending on the position they’re working directly under. For instance, if they work directly for the CEO, they may complete more operational duties to help the company function properly. If the Chief of Staff works directly for the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), more of their responsibilities may focus on finances and building budgets. 

Others can work for numerous executives at once, so it’s best that they have extensive knowledge of different aspects of how businesses function. They should also hold experience working in that specific industry to accurately and efficiently complete different tasks every day. 

 

What makes a good Chief of Staff?

An effective Chief of Staff must possess confidence to take initiative and make decisions each day that can impact the business’ daily operations. They must have extensive knowledge on how a business functions, so it’s best if they hold years of experience working in different departments within an office. 

Chiefs of Staff regularly work directly with employees each day, implementing projects and delegating tasks. This means they should have strong communication and interpersonal abilities to regularly meet with employees to understand their skills, strengths and goals. They regularly present on new business strategies and updates, so experience giving speeches is beneficial for strong Chiefs of Staff as well. 

 

What's the difference between a Chief of Staff and an Executive Assistant?

Though they both assist and support high-level executives, most of an Executive Assistant’s tasks differ from the Chief of Staff. Most of the Executive Assistant’s duties involve completing clerical work, like taking calls, scheduling appointments and meetings and handling corporate documents. Chiefs of Staff may complete some clerical duties along with larger work items that help the company function and operate properly, while most Executive Assistants stick primarily with clerical tasks. 

Many executive team members hire both a Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to complete some of their many tasks. Others hire an employee to complete both their clerical and operational duties. This role can be referred to as a Chief Executive Assistant.

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