chief of staff

Chief of Staff: discover 7 key characteristics

We’re all used to hearing about the chief of staff – especially in the political sphere – as an important figure who accompanies and advises influential government figures such as presidents or prime ministers from within their tight network of personnel. This position is also finding a very relevant place in the corporate sphere. 

Some of the duties of the corporate chief of staff

The role of the chief of staff is actually quite open-ended. It is therefore adapted to what each company needs depending on factors like what matters the company is usually occupied with, how the staff is organised, etc. In this sense, we can make different classifications of the corporate chief of staff’s tasks based on their two most important responsibilities.

First and foremost, the corporate head of staff must encourage the operation of the company’s organisational structure, serving as a point of reference for senior managers in different departments.

The corporate chief of staff must also ease the CEO’s work, acting as their “shield and armor”, working as the CEO’s extra pair of eyes and ears, and organising their day-to-day tasks. Therefore, the chief of staff is essentially a person that the CEO can and should be able to turn to at any point, as well as a person with authority – an indispensable asset that can be counted on.

In short, the duties of the chief of staff can be summed up as being able to help the CEO with anything they need as well as help the overall company in ensuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible, which includes taking every measure to avoid company inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and potential crises. Let’s take a closer look at their specific tasks.

How does one become a Chief of Staff?

Paths to becoming a Chief of Staff can vary, but it often involves gaining experience in roles that develop skills such as project management, communication, and strategic thinking.

What is the role of a Chief of Staff?

The Chief of Staff serves as the right-hand person to a senior executive, such as a CEO, managing their schedule, acting as a liaison between departments, and ensuring the executive’s directives are implemented effectively. They often handle strategic planning, internal communications, and special projects.

What skills are essential for a successful Chief of Staff?

Successful Chiefs of Staff often possess a combination of strong communication, organisational, and leadership skills. They need to be highly adaptable, able to navigate complex organisational structures, build strong relationships with key stakeholders, and maintain discretion and confidentiality.

What is the significance of the Chief of Staff in an organisation?

They serve as a central point of contact for internal and external stakeholders, helping to streamline communication and decision-making processes. By overseeing the implementation of the executive’s vision and priorities, the Chief of Staff helps drive organisational effectiveness and strategic alignment.

chief of staff

1. Coordination of senior team members

The chief of staff is a person who brings the team together, connects employees and facilitates relationships by using effective communication strategies. Much of this job involves efficiently conveying messages, resolving (and preventing) misunderstandings, and defusing arguments and other conflicts throughout the company.

2. Organisation of the CEO’s agenda

The role of the head of staff also involves organising the company’s “official agenda” in some way, shape, or form. As mentioned above, the professional profile of the chief of staff combines different roles, and one appears superficially similar to that of the secretary to the director. However, this role goes far beyond the merely administrative, given the level of access the chief of staff has to important information, the importance of their departmental coordination tasks, and their ability to filter access to the CEO.

3. Support the CEO

The chief of staff position exists based on the assumption that the CEO cannot and should not manage everything within the company since that would only distract from their more important responsibilities, of which they have many. The head of staff is there to deal with all the matters that the CEO is either unable to handle or does not have enough time to handle. In other words, the chief of staff is supposed to ensure that the CEO has a “clear desk” so that they can efficiently carry out their own tasks.

Characteristics of the chief of staff

1. Discretion

If you read other articles that describe the figure of the chief of staff and what it takes to become one, you will most likely come across the points that the chief of staff is at the service of the CEO, that they hold an influential but second-tier position, and that they are essential but not overly prominent. Just as in journalism, it is known that the journalist should not become the news. The chief of staff should not primarily be there to be seen but rather to allow others to be seen.

2. Reliability

Anyone who handles sensitive company information must be someone who can always be relied on. Reliability is transmitted by the security that the chief of staff gives off, their ability to resolve conflicts, and the discretion they can maintain, as mentioned in the previous point. In this sense, the chief of staff is a trusted confidant to the CEO and a reliable resource for other employees they interact with.

3. Communication skills

It is important to remember that companies are made up of people and that people cannot function well if they do not communicate well. The chief of staff has an important job when it comes to connecting people, teams, and departments that are usually disconnected. Their job involves helping them understand each other and coordinating their activities so that no one does not step on each other’s toes. To do this, delivering and processing messages efficiently is a must-have for the chief of staff.

4. Organisational skills

One of the many day-to-day tasks of the chief of staff is the efficient coordination of the CEO’s agenda in addition to the processes and general projects that affect the overall company. For this reason, the chief of staff must have the special ability to prioritise well. 

5. Long-term vision

Although the everyday routine tends to eat up our time, a good chief of staff is not only able to work efficiently in the present moment but also knows instinctively how to prioritise matters in both the medium and long term with the ability to successfully schedule out things that the company is currently dealing with and potential future issues.

chief of staff

6. Speed in decision-making

Since they are there to keep company issues flowing smoothly, the chief of staff must be someone who does not easily find themselves stuck and who can handle a large amount of scattered information, process it with agility, and reach practical conclusions for the team without taking more time than is necessary.

7. Problem Resolution

Among other things, decision-making is the means to solve problems as they arise. Therefore, the chief of staff is a decisive, creative person with good ideas that they can boldly carry out, as well as someone who can allow the different departments within the company to advance in their projects. 

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Unlock your team’s potential

At ifeel, we know that having a Chief of Staff is a key role when it comes to aligning different departments and objectives. However, it is also important to consider their mental health and ensure they get the right support throughout.

To support companies in this process, our team of expert workplace well-being psychologists has created a mental well-being solution for businesses that improves talent retention, reduces presenteeism, and combats employee stress. 

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We hope you found this article on the role of the Chief of Staff interesting. If you would like more information about our mental well-being solution for companies, just ask us and we will get in touch with your team as soon as possible.

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