A leader's Chief of Staff can be a game-changer, and a key member of a leadership team, serving as a strategic advisor while managing day-to-day operations. Of the hundreds of Chiefs of Staff I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with, I’ve found that the superstars possess three common characteristics:
1. Strategic thinking and tactical execution
With a keen understanding of the business and fluency in the desired outcomes, the most skillful Chiefs of Staff are able to operate both at a high-level, strategic view, and at a granular, tactical level. In addition to being incredibly organized, they have the ability to hold others accountable in order to close the gap between strategy and execution.
2. An understanding of their leader
A top Chief of Staff is a mind reader, able to anticipate their leader’s needs and reactions. They have a deep understanding of their leader’s strengths and weaknesses, and are able to fill in the gaps where their leader may be deficient. This level of self-awareness is key to building a strong and effective partnership.
Great Chiefs of Staff don’t just serve their leader, but also the rest of the leadership team. They understand the needs of the team and work to remove roadblocks and help others shine. They are valuable connectors, bridging gaps and facilitating communication and collaboration within the organization.
The best Chiefs of Staff I have worked with are strategic thinkers and tacticians, have a deep understanding of their leader, and are valuable connectors within the organization. These traits are essential for building a strong and effective leadership team, and enabling efficient strategy execution.