Chief Of Staff vs Executive Assistant: What Is The Difference? - Peter Boolkah

The roles of a Chief of Staff and an Executive Assistant can often become confusing, as both require working closely with senior-level executives. But while these two titles have some similarities, they are pretty different regarding duties and responsibilities.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the key differences between a Chief Of Staff and an Executive Assistant, so you can better understand which role is right for your organization. We’ll explore their job functions, salary expectations, qualifications needed to succeed in each position, and more. Read on to learn more about what sets these two roles apart!

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What Is a Chief of Staff?

A chief of staff is an individual responsible for managing a company’s day-to-day operations. They usually report to the CEO or president and help them with their duties, ensuring all tasks are completed on time. The job description typically includes organizing meetings, coordinating schedules, communicating between departments, and ensuring that projects stay on track. A well-known chief of staff in a prominent American company is John Kelly, the former White House Chief of Staff for President Donald Trump.

He was responsible for managing the West Wing and ensuring that all operations ran smoothly during his tenure. As a result, he gained recognition from both sides of the political aisle as an effective leader who helped create order in a chaotic environment. He is currently the CEO of a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., specialising in homeland security and emergency management. His experience as a chief of staff is an example for those who want to pursue this vital role at any organization.

What Is an Executive Assistant?

Executive Assistants, or an EA, are professionals who handle various administrative tasks for high-level personnel in an organization. These tasks include scheduling meetings, managing emails and other correspondence, handling travel arrangements, and more. Gerald Egland Jr., a well-known US executive assistant, works with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook.

Gerald is responsible for managing Tim’s schedule, handling travel arrangements, and more. He has been with Apple since 1998 and is known for his dedication to the company. His attention to detail has earned him the respect of colleagues and clients. He is an excellent example of how an Executive Assistant can help make a difference in an organization!

Chief Of Staff vs Executive Assistant The Key Differences


Chief of Staff and executive assistants are integral roles in any organization, but their responsibilities differ. An executive assistant provides more administrative support than a chief of staff does; they typically handle tasks such as scheduling meetings for the executives they serve, managing the calendar of their executives, arranging travel plans and ensuring deadlines are met.

On the other hand, a chief of staff is a more senior role in an organization; they often handle tasks such as project management, strategic planning and supporting the executive’s team. They also have a broader scope of responsibilities than an executive assistant, which includes developing long-term goals and strategizing how to achieve them. A chief of staff may also be asked to manage special projects or initiatives the executive needs to complete.

Ultimately, a Chief of Staff will focus more on strategy and helping their executive team make decisions that will benefit the organization. At the same time, an Executive Assistant is often more involved in day-to-day tasks and ensuring executives can accomplish their daily duties. Both roles are essential in any organization and require different skill sets. Recognizing their differences is important to know which function is better suited for any situation.

Chief of Stuff vs Executive Assistant - Peter Boolkah

Job training and qualifications

The career paths of a chief of staff and an executive assistant may appear similar, but they have very different job training and qualifications.

The chief of staff role is highly demanding and requires strong leadership skills, expertise in strategic planning, and excellent communication abilities. As such, the primary qualifications for this role are usually found within higher education or at least a few years of experience in the professional world. Chief of staff are typically expected to have expertise in specific areas such as project management, communications, finance, operations, and data analysis.

On the other hand, executive assistants generally require more administrative skills, which can often be acquired through technical training courses or on-the-job experience. The primary qualifications for an executive assistant position are typically secretarial skills, strong organizational skills, proficiency in various computer programs, and the ability to manage multiple projects effectively.

Although both roles require different job training and qualifications, they have some commonalities. Both positions typically require excellent problem-solving abilities, the capacity for multitasking, and the ability to work well under pressure. Ultimately, the differences between a chief of staff and an executive assistant depend on the specific job requirements set forth by each employer. However, it is essential to note that both roles are integral to the success of any organization or team.

For those interested in pursuing a career path as either a chief of staff or an executive assistant, gaining experience through internships or other opportunities can be invaluable. Understanding the difference between these two roles and obtaining the necessary qualifications to succeed can make a huge difference in your success. You can find a fulfilling career in either of these positions with the proper training and qualifications.

Scope of responsibilities

The Chief of Staff (COS) and Executive Assistant (EA) roles often get confused. While both are vital positions within an organization, there are a few distinct differences in their scope of responsibilities.

A COS is more strategic than an EA – they typically possess leadership qualities and tackle tasks such as setting goals, developing an overall strategy, and helping steer the organisation’s course. While they may also take on some administrative tasks like scheduling meetings or coordinating travel, their primary focus is obtaining company objectives by setting OKRs and ensuring all key stakeholders are updated with progress.

An EA, on the other hand, typically performs more day-to-day duties such as managing calendars, answering emails, and ensuring the smooth running of projects. While they may also provide strategic support to their employer, this will not be their primary focus.

For example, Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff was Rahm Emanuel, who was responsible for developing strategies and goals for Obama. At the same time, his Executive Assistant was Christina Tchen, who managed his daily operations. Similarly, Elon Musk’s Chief of Staff is Gwynne Shotwell, who is responsible for setting ambitious goals, while his Executive Assistant is Claudia Cisneros, who manages his calendar and personal needs.

Both the COS and EA play a critical role in any organization. Still, the scope of their responsibilities can vary greatly depending on the size of the company and its strategy. Understanding the differences between these roles is essential for organisations to have the right people to tackle their specific needs.

Average Salary

The average salary for an executive assistant (EA) is much lower than that of a Chief Of Staff (COS). EAs typically earn between £45,000 and £60,000 per year, whereas COS roles can range from £90,000 to upwards of £150,000. This is no surprise when you compare the duties associated with each position.

An EA typically provides administrative support to C-level executives, such as managing calls and emails, scheduling appointments, organising travel arrangements, preparing documents, taking notes during meetings and more. On the other hand, a COS is a strategic partner that works closely with the executive team to guide objectives and goals. They are also responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, managing staff and ensuring the organisation meets its goals.

It is clear why COS roles are more highly valued than EA positions. As such, they usually command a higher salary. It’s important to note that wages for both parties can vary depending on your experience and location. If you’re considering either of these positions, researching potential salaries in your area is a great way to determine the proper salary expectation.

Overall, it is evident that the average salary for a COS role is much higher than that of an EA. While both roles entail essential and demanding tasks, the extra duties associated with COS positions often warrant a higher salary. When choosing between the two, research potential salaries to ensure that you are paid fairly for your efforts.

Types of duties

The Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant roles have several critical differences in their day-to-day activities. The Chief of Staff acts as a sounding board for the executive they are assigned to, offering advice on important decisions and helping to shape the overarching vision and strategy of the company. They also attend meetings with top executives and external stakeholders, taking notes and preparing reports afterwards.

On the other hand, the Executive Assistant serves as the first point of contact for the executive they are assigned to. This could involve managing their calendar, arranging travel, or communicating with external parties. An Executive Assistant is also responsible for organizing documents, scheduling meetings and providing administrative support to ensure tasks are completed efficiently. Both roles require excellent communication and organizational skills, but the duties of each position differ significantly.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for executive assistants and chief of staff is auspicious. Administrative assistants provide critical support to the CEO or other senior executives by handling day-to-day tasks such as managing incoming emails, scheduling meetings, creating agendas, taking notes during meetings, preparing reports, and making travel arrangements.

This role allows the CEO to focus on more critical aspects of their business. On the other hand, a chief of staff is an officer appointed to provide organizational and administrative support to the CEO, helping them develop strategies and initiatives while ensuring that they are effectively implemented. They typically manage teams of people and work closely with multiple departments to ensure efficient operations within the organization.

Both executive assistants and chief of staff have seen a steady increase in demand over the years, which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. With experience and qualifications, professionals in these roles can expect access to many rewarding career opportunities with competitive salaries. It’s a great field to get into and offers a lot of growth potential!

Chief Of Staff And Executive Assistant

What Does Your Leadership Team Need: a Senior Executive Assistant or a Chief of Staff?

Knowing which role is best suited for the job can be challenging if you’re trying to decide between a Senior Executive Assistant and a Chief of Staff for your leadership team. However, in today’s corporate landscape, there are examples of both types of parts being used successfully.

For example, Google has created the Senior Executive Assistant & Administrative Manager role, which is responsible for providing executive-level administrative support to the CEO and other senior executives. They are also in charge of managing global travel, managing complex calendars, and providing strategic guidance in various projects.

On the other hand, Amazon uses a Chief of Staff as part of its leadership team. The role of the Chief of Staff is focused on providing strategic advice to the CEO and supporting them in their decision-making process. They also work closely with other teams to ensure that strategic plans are executed effectively.

Both roles can be incredibly beneficial for any leadership team, so it’s essential to understand what type of support you need before making your decision. Ultimately, the choice between a Senior Executive Assistant and a Chief of Staff will be unique to your company and the specific needs of your leadership team.

If you’re still unsure which one is right for your organization, speaking with someone with experience in both roles is a good idea. This can help you determine which part would be most suitable for your company’s particular needs. With the proper decision-making process and the right team structure, you can ensure that your leaders are supported in the best way possible.

Is a Chief of Staff or an Executive Assistant a Better Role for Me?

It depends on what kind of professional you want to be and your career goals. If you’re looking for an opportunity to take on more responsibility, a Chief of Staff role might be more appealing since it typically involves managing complex projects and providing strategic advice. On the other hand, if you prefer a more day-to-day role with a lot of administrative work, then an Executive Assistant role might be the better route for you.

Ultimately, it comes down to what type of environment you want to work in and what tasks most appeal to you. Do your research into the two roles and determine which one is the best fit for you.

Transitioning From an Executive Assistant to a Chief of Staff

There are many examples of individuals who have made the transition from executive assistant to chief of staff. For instance, Kay-Yeng Yang moved from administrative assistant to President and CEO at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in 2018. Similarly, Michael Peacock, a former executive assistant for John Boehner (former Speaker of the US House of Representatives), rose through the ranks to become the Chief of Staff.

These are just a few examples of people who successfully transitioned from executive assistant to chief of staff. It is not an easy journey, but it can be done with hard work and dedication!


Is the Chief of Staff an executive role?

Yes, the Chief of Staff is an executive role. This position reports to the CEO or President and executes their agenda. The Chief of Staff works closely with other executives to ensure that initiatives are appropriately implemented and goals are met. They also have responsibilities such as managing department heads, overseeing communications, and ensuring day-to-day operations run smoothly.

It’s a role that requires strong leadership, organizational skills, and the ability to think strategically. Ultimately, the Chief of Staff is responsible for managing an organisation’s administrative functions to achieve its goals.

In short, the Chief of Staff ensures everything runs smoothly and efficiently while helping ensure the company’s vision is achieved. They are an essential part of any successful executive team.

What is the hierarchy of chief of staff?

The hierarchy of a Chief of Staff is a pretty straightforward one. At the top is usually the President or CEO, followed by his/her immediate team members: Vice Presidents, Directors and Managers. Then there is typically a Deputy Chief of Staff responsible for carrying out the President’s or CEO’s orders and instructions. Underneath them are usually Assistant Chiefs of Staff who handle specific tasks and ensure that the directives of the Chief of Staff are carried out. Finally, a team of Assistants may handle administrative and scheduling duties for the Chief of Staff. This hierarchy establishes clear lines of authority, responsibility and accountability so that everyone has a role in ensuring the organization’s mission is accomplished.

At its best, this hierarchy creates an efficient and effective team of professionals who work together towards a common goal. When it works, the order ensures everyone is on the same page and working to achieve the organization’s overall objectives. At its worst, however, this hierarchy can be a source of confusion or conflict if team members don’t understand their roles or are unclear about expectations. Without clear guidance and communication, the chain of command can quickly become muddled, leading to frustration and inefficiency.

Any organization needs to have a solid hierarchy of Chief of Staff so that everyone understands their role within the team. When all team members feel valued, respected and heard, it creates an environment where they can collaborate effectively and work towards a common goal. With clear expectations and communication, the hierarchy of Chief of Staff can be invaluable for ensuring that everyone works together towards success.

What is higher than a chief of staff?

A chief of staff is the highest-ranking member of a leader’s team, but one job that is higher than a chief of staff is that of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). A CEO’s role is to act as the head and figurehead of an organization or company. They are typically responsible for setting the overall direction and goals for the organization and leading its team to success.

They are also responsible for managing the day-to-day operations and ensuring that all operational activities run smoothly. A CEO is often seen as the most influential person in an organization and usually has much decision-making power. CEOs typically report directly to the board of directors or other high-ranking organisation members. Sometimes, a CEO may even be the highest-ranking executive on the board. In short, a CEO is the boss of an organization and thus holds a higher rank than a chief of staff.

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