The Work of the Chief of Staff
Chief of staff
“The title chief of staff (or head of staff) identifies the leader of a complex organization, institution, or body of persons and it also may identify a principal staff officer (PSO), who is the coordinator of the supporting staff or a primary aide-de-camp to an important individual, such as a president or a senior military officer.
In general, a chief of staff provides a buffer between a chief executive and that executive’s direct-reporting team. The chief of staff generally works behind the scenes to solve problems, mediate disputes, and deal with issues before they are brought to the chief executive. Often chiefs of staff act as a confidante and advisor to the chief executive, acting as a sounding board for ideas. Ultimately the actual duties depend on the actual position and the people involved.”
Lists are helpful. The U.S. Army publishes the (unclassified; I think) Commander and Staff Office Guide detailing common staff duties and responsibilities,
- Advising and informing the commander.
- Building and maintaining running estimates.
- Providing recommendations.
- Preparing plans, order, and other staff writing.
- Assessing operations.
- Managing information within area of expertise.
- Identifying and analyzing problems.
- Coordinating staff.
- Conducting staff assistance visits.
- Performing composite risk management.
- Performing intelligence preparation of the battlefield.
- Conducting staff inspections.
- Completing staff research.
- Performing staff administrative procedures.
- Exercising staff supervision over their area of expertise.
This is a lot of work. This list includes only a small number of the many responsibilities of every manager, regardless of the size of the department or company. The only variable between two business units would be the number of zeros (in the budget, not those empty placeholders in the headcount).