A chief of staff is an executive manager who works under the immediate supervision of the highest management at a company — typically under a chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), or senior vice president. The chief of staff acts as the eyes and ears of these high-level executives, attending meetings with department managers, coordinating among different areas of the business, and generally helping to implement the visions of senior executives within the rest of the company. The chief of staff essentially is a manager of managers for a board of executives, acting as a communications and organization conduit between the board and middle management.
A chief of staff typically attends board meetings and provide progress reports for the board on execution of company initiatives. The chief also is expected to shadow the executive to which he or she is assigned, receive direction from that person, and then implement it. The chief of staff regularly meets either collectively or individually with department managers and controllers and provides direction and receives progress updates. The chief of staff helps coordinate and direct communication for the senior executives he or she works under by filtering only the most essential communication to these persons and controlling their meeting schedules. The chief of staff may even be expected to handle daily scheduling for the executive to help control access to this person to prevent them from becoming too bogged down with issues that can be handled at lower levels of management.
The chief of staff typically must have a master's degree in business administration or a related discipline to be considered for such a position. A chief of staff typically has his own administrative staff who directly report to him or her, and they likely have hiring responsibilities for lower-level managers. The chief of staff typically works in an office, but should expect to regularly have work weeks in excess of 50 hours or more. The chief should also expect to travel to various company locations as a regular part of his or her job.
Chief of Staff Tasks
Provide executive-level support to top decision-makers and project managers.
May have a wide range of duties related to the health of the entire organization.
Provide leadership and effective management in all areas of staffing and personnel, administration, project completion.
Responsible for strategic project management at the highest level.