It is often assumed that since a Chief of Staff serves as the “right hand” to an executive, their development is baked into the job. In other words, by virtue of being in close proximity to their principal, Chiefs receive firsthand development. Unfortunately, this is largely a myth.
While it is true that the Chief of Staff role provides an opportunity for learning, development is not the same thing. The development of any employee, including your Chief of Staff, does not happen through exposure or osmosis alone. It requires a dedicated and thoughtful approach and involves helping your Chief of Staff progress on their individual career path.
“Career growth opportunities” is the number one reason people give for changing jobs, according to Gallup. In a Chief of Staff role, these opportunities may not be as clear or visible, either. Therefore, it is important to spend time understanding your Chief of Staff’s strengths, interests, and longer-term aspirations. From there, you can provide them with opportunities for development that support their continued growth.
Why is Chief of Staff Development So Important?
A Chief of Staff is often a close confidante to your principal in the organization. They know a lot – about your organization, your team dynamics, and your people. Most likely, they’ve also garnered a great deal of social capital as well. Your executives and their teams respect them. Watching them walk out of your organization is not an easy pill to swallow. While they may not stay in their Chief of Staff role forever, it doesn’t mean they need to leave your organization altogether.
How Can You Invest in Chief of Staff Development?
While it is important that principals play an active role in their Chief of Staff’s development, they are not the only solution. It is beneficial to provide your Chief of Staff with opportunities for development beyond your organization’s walls. These include:
Coaching provides an opportunity for your Chief of Staff to focus on themselves. In their role, they have very little time to do that. One-on-one time and support with a certified coach provides an outlet for your Chief of Staff to learn more about themselves and their own leadership. Learn more about Prime’s unique coaching for Chiefs of Staff.
In addition to the experiential learning opportunities the Chief of Staff has with your organization, there are other ways they can learn as well. For example, Prime hosts an annual Chief of Staff Summit every year. This Summit convenes over 200 Chiefs of Staff from across the globe to learn, connect, and engage together. With speakers and content tailored to the Chief of Staff role, your Chief of Staff can learn best practices, new trends, and the latest research on their unique position. Our 2020 Chief of Staff Summit is just around the corner – consider sponsoring their registration to show your commitment to their development.
The Chief of Staff role can feel isolating to many Chiefs of Staff; therefore, it is important to consider how they may be able to connect with like-minded peers who can empathize with their positions. Peer connections are a great way for Chiefs to learn best practices and find camaraderie in others. Prime offers a unique peer-networking platform called The Chief of Staff Collective where Chiefs from every industry and sector can connect and engage.
According to Gallup, organizations that make a strategic investment in employee development report 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain their employees. Your Chief of Staff, who so often invests in others, is no exception. To elevate and retain your Chief of Staff, consider: how are you investing in them?