In his recent Harvard Business Review article on “The Case for a Chief of Staff”, Dan Ciampa identifies the five “foundational abilities” that effective chiefs of staff must have – excellent project-management skills; business savvy; a sense of the critical pressure points facing the CEO; a penchant for helping the CEO develop the right relationships; and strong communication skills.
It’s hard to disagree with anything on this list.
But there’s one additional factor on which those foundational abilities depend: personal chemistry, grounded in deep trust, between the executive and the chief of staff. This critical component is rarely automatic, and, even when some chemistry exists right from the start, it still needs to be nurtured thoughtfully and deliberately. Chiefs of staff can’t control how their boss feels about them. But they can proactively bolster those bonds.
Alexander Hamilton, who first rose to prominence as George Washington’s de facto chief of staff during the Revolutionary War, showed us how to do it.
You can read the rest of this piece where it was originally published on the blog of Prime Chief of Staff.