Executives and leadership teams can benefit immensely from hiring a Chief of Staff. From implementing strategic processes, advising decision-making and assisting with their executive’s day-to-day responsibilities, Chiefs of Staff are a valuable strategic addition to a company.

This Chief of Staff job description guide will help you understand what a Chief of Staff does, their duties and responsibilities, the required skills, qualifications, salary, and how you can become one.

What is a Chief of Staff?

A Chief of Staff – also sometimes known as Business Manager – is a high-ranking administrative professional supporting their executives and leadership teams.

A Chief of Staff (CoS) works closely with the executive team and handles principal duties that allow leaders and the senior team to focus on decision-making. The responsibilities of a CoS revolve around integrating work streams, linking the leadership team with the broader organisation and advising their executives in decision-making. 

Although the position of a CoS is typically tailored to leadership and business needs, the purpose of responsibilities and primary duties are to make time, information and decision-making more effective. To achieve this, CoS take care of various responsibilities, such as attending meetings on the executive’s behalf, implementing strategic and organisational processes across the organisation and providing the executives with information for upcoming meetings.

The difference between a CoS and a COO

A Chief of Staff is the right hand of the company’s CEO, assisting them with implementing new ideas and strategies, attending meetings on their behalf and much more. The CoS reports directly to the CEO, while the Chief Operating Officer (COO) reports to the board of directors, other executives and major stakeholders. The CoS’s primary responsibility is the enhancement of its CEO’s work.

Chief of Staff job description

The primary role of the Chief of Staff is to support executives in their roles to ensure that the company’s goals and objectives are met. They handle day-to-day responsibilities and attend meetings on behalf of the executives, take notes for them and assist with leading strategic planning processes.

CoS is an essential role as they oversee various aspects of the management and logistics of their Executive’s work. This includes scheduling tasks, interactions with colleagues, presentations, and ensuring that executives remain in touch with their company. 

The CoS role has a diplomatic aspect as they interact closely with employees, address issues that might arise and ensure the sharing of essential information throughout the organisation’s ranks.

Objectives of this role

  • Overseeing the implementation of strategic initiatives, from development through execution, under the supervision of senior leadership
  • Assisting executive leadership in decision-making and programme management
  • Improving the organisational structure by addressing knowledge and skill gaps
  • Reviewing, designing and implementing improvements to organisational procedures and structure to increase efficiency

Chief of Staff: Duties and Responsibilities 

A Chief of Staff uses strong diplomatic, leadership and problem-solving skills to enable and enhance the daily operation of a company. A CoS has various responsibilities depending on the company and the CEO they work for, but they typically include the following:

  • Developing and building relationships with employees, improving their efficiency in existing and new operations
  • Communicating on behalf of the CEO
  • Serving as the liaison between employees, executives and CEO regarding employee well-being, company climate and the success of programmes and proposals
  • Anticipating, addressing and resolving employee concerns in collaboration with the human resources department
  • Collaborating with executive leadership to determine and implement business strategies while also providing consultation for improvements
  • Assisting with the planning, coordination and leading of meetings and workshops
  • Assisting with inquiries
  • Developing action plans for the dissemination of information across the organisation
  • Providing support to executive leadership with implementing new ideas and processes
  • Overseeing the daily operations of the organisation with the guidance of senior leadership and performing administrative tasks, including managing calendars, maintaining files, planning and coordinating annual meetings
  • Working with leadership to measure team performance and provide tactical support to implement new ideas
  • Overseeing initiatives from ideation to implementation
  • Working with leadership to implement, monitor and present the progress of plans and goals
  • Helping to identify and tackle core problems in business processes
  • Providing senior leadership with insight and analysis of the company’s operations
  • Assisting with risk assessment of new initiatives and business decisions

Chief of Staff qualifications

As Chiefs of Staff are hired to improve and manage the daily operations of a company, they are expected to have previous experience. Some companies will only hire candidates with previous work experience in executive roles in their industry, while others will consider a candidate with CoS experience in a different sector.

Required skills and qualifications:

  • Degree and/or MBA
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail-oriented and data-driven with excellent organisational skills
  • Experience in organising and directing multiple teams and departments in an executive role
  • Experience in planning and leading strategic initiatives
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to collaborate across departments in a productive manner
  • Proven track record of organising, leading and directing large teams
  • Possess a can-do attitude and an extreme dedication to efficiency
  • Excellent time management, multi-tasking and project management skills
  • A business-minded strategic planner with experience in data analysis and budget management
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to develop creative solutions
  • Consulting experience with a focus on operations management
  • Self-motivated, self-sufficient and highly reliable

How much does a Chief of Staff make?

Chiefs of Staff make between $180k – $250k in the US, depending on experience, location and education. In the UK,  the starting salary is likely to be £120k.

Key skills required to become Chief of Staff

CoS is one of the most critical and central positions in any organisation, demanding excellence in areas such as organisation, administration, leadership and a sense of diplomacy. 

How to Become Chief of Staff

Becoming a Chief of staff requires several years of experience in an executive-level position. Necessary qualifications vary from company to company, but most organisations seek a candidate with a business-related master’s degree. Several years of proven experience in a management role in a corporate environment is also a critical requirement. Excellent communication and organisational skills are also crucial to fulfilling this position, as CoS works collaboratively with the executives across departments to ensure the efficient implementation of the CEO’s vision for the company.

How to Be a Good Chief of Staff

A great Chief of Staff is a strong and confidential partner for the CEO and is capable of leading alongside the CEO. They must work together to promote the company culture and adopt new directions. An excellent CoS communicates on behalf of the CEO and assists the senior leadership team with implementing operational strategies. A CoS must be extremely well-organised and exhibit exceptional communication skills.

A CoS needs to have superb people skills, such as understanding emotions and intentions. These soft skills are also necessary for effective leadership and the improvement of company culture. 

Final thoughts

CEOs have a lot of responsibilities, and they need an experienced Chief of Staff to help them implement and manage their vision for their company. Chief of Staff is a demanding and dynamic role with a variety of responsibilities.

If you are looking for a position as Chief of Staff, Joss Search can assist you in finding a position in top private equity and alternative investment firms. 

You can take a look at our live vacancies or chat with our friendly consultants about your upcoming career steps. We’re waiting to help on 020 3096 7050 and hello@josssearch.com.

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