Executive Assistant and a Chief of Staff Differences
Chief of Staff (COS) and Executive Assistants (EA) are essential if you are trying to increase productivity, maximize your C-Level executive’s day, and impact your company's growth.
A Chief of Staff and an Executive Assistant will share several of the same qualities, such as being reliable, analytical, organized, and resourceful. With that said, there is one key difference in describing the two titles. The executive assistant is more tactical, and the Chief of Staff is more strategic.
We will look at both of these roles within an organization to recognize why they are so valuable for the success of small to medium-sized businesses and larger corporations.
Related Links: 5 Things To Consider When Hiring An Executive Assistant
Why EA’s and COS are Important - Analyzing The Critical Support Roles of Executive Assistants and Chief Of Staff
There are similarities and overlaps regarding the support roles of an EA and a COS. However, when both an EA and COS exist in a company, the functions can be unique and independent to achieve greater success internally.
Let’s look at the chief of staff’s role and the executive assistant’s role below.
The Roles of an Executive Assistant and Their Importance
EAs are always behind-the-scenes and doing whatever it takes to get a business running smoothly, organized, and efficiently.
There are many different ways to make this happen when supporting their boss. Most of it comes down to having excellent time management and communication skills to schedule meetings, events, and important calendar events with little effort.
EAs have critical roles to play in supporting roles to their bosses. Below are some of the duties they perform and why they are crucial to an organization’s health and future growth.
Project Management Support
Project management support is crucial for saving time for an executive who has a busy schedule already. An EA can help with performing necessary business research and project materials before meetings, creating agendas, and helping with the preparation of business presentations.
Many times they will take part in these meetings by taking notes and following up with items that their executive needs to take action on.
An EA can greatly reduce the interruptions that their boss gets during the day because they can deflect any emails, slack messages, spontaneous pop up meetings, and other tasks that take away priority focus for the executives.
The EA is usually the first point of contact for the C-level executives and control communication between their boss and any outside people.
Calendar Management and Booking Travel Arrangements
Executive assistants can help their bosses by managing calendars and dealing with all of the necessary travel arrangements which will allow the boss to focus on their main job - growing the company and increasing revenue.
Improving Computer Filing Systems
An executive assistant who has technical skills can help in creating data rooms for fundraising rounds and SharePoint systems for extensive file management systems.
Handles Sensitive and Confidential Information
Some EAs may get neck-deep into financials to help their executive teams decide on strategic financial decisions in the company. All good EAs can manage schedules and inboxes, but amazing EAs usually have a specific speciality which can help a business grow, such as HR skills, legal background, or even specific CRM or accounting skills.
As an EA works with these high-level decision-makers, they will give you a wider overview of the entire organization in which your executive team is overseas.
Managing Other Administrative Team Members
An executive assistant is already a highly-respected member since they work side-by-side with the C-level executives and are privy to much more than the average employee may be.
With that said, they are put into leadership roles due to their expertise in data management and organizational and communication skills.
The Roles of a Chief of Staff and Their Importance
The Chief of Staff is a senior-level strategic partner who assists top executives in accomplishing their most important work using delegation and strategic thinking as their primary method.
The Chief of Staff has various important responsibilities that we will look at below.
Acts as a Communication Liaison
Chiefs of staff act as the primary source of communication for their boss with other executives in the organization, clients, or major stakeholders. They also play a big role in flowing information from the executives and stakeholders from other companies to help improve communication and gather important information to complete projects.
Chiefs of staff are always on the lookout for new advancements in technology or companies to acquire. Essentially, anything that will add value and make the company grow faster and more efficiently while increasing profit margins.
Product Development and Financial Guidance
Chiefs of staff can have a tremendous amount of finance and consulting knowledge that they bring to the table from their older position as an executive assistant. They can provide financial oversight and analysis of new products coming to market and the marketing initiatives that must take place to get them there.
Managing Projects and Teams
Usually, the chief of staff has a company-wide view of the company’s agenda and can manage projects, as well as the teams that run them, to reach revenue goals.
The COS works closely with the executives to create strategies for achieving the highest profit margins and overall revenue increase possible. During project management assignments, they will also follow up with stakeholders to ensure a project gets done on time.
Accessing Sensitive Data For Deeper Insight
Chiefs of staff have access to highly sensitive information, treat it with the utmost respect, and practice extreme discretion. Having access to this data allows their boss to bounce ideas off of the executive assistant and receive important feedback. If the company owner or executive isn’t available, the COS may make decisions on their behalf due to this deep knowledge of the company.
Sometimes it makes more sense to bring in a Chief of staff for your organization. Other times it may be more economically feasible to use an executive assistant instead. Many organizations bring in both an EA and a COS, depending on the company’s structure and the amount of work needed to get done.
If you can’t afford both full time salaries, hiring a strategic EA would be a fantastic option for your business.
If you need help deciding which is the right choice for you, contact Take It Easy Group for a free consultation.