How to Leave Your Chief of Staff Role and Stay With the Organization

You have left, or are about to leave, your Chief of Staff position and you are staying with the same organization. Your transition out of your Chief of Staff role and into your new one may be challenging. Even though your title changes, some may not fully grasp that your role changes, too. Here are some tips that can help ensure a smooth transition.

Get Your Boss Onboard

Your boss may or may not change depending on your new role; however, it is still important to get him or her onboard with what the change means. If your boss doesn’t fully allow you to ‘leave’ your Chief of Staff role, it will be difficult to perform your new role effectively. Flesh this out with your leader, through conversation, to ensure you have their buy-in on the transition. We recommend beginning this discussion before your transition. And don’t just look for a head nod from your boss as the greenlight. Outline ways your relationship may change and new procedures s/he will need to follow. Keep in mind, your boss may be gung-ho about the change until it actually happens. Be prepared to have a few conversations about this change.

Find Your Replacement

Find a new Chief of Staff before you fully transition out. Until another person is in place, it is too easy for your leader and others to go to you as they’ve always done. Therefore, make the transition more seamless by having your replacement at the ready upon your transition. Finding your replacement helps to ensure the new Chief of Staff is the right one to take over the reins. Luckily, we can help.

Communicate Your New Role

When you step into your new position, have your leader make an announcement by email (yes, we know you will likely write this). The announcement should inform the team of your new position and how it differs from your role as Chief of Staff. It is also a good time to welcome the new Chief of Staff.  In the announcement, be specific about what this change means for them and changes they need to be aware of. Example: “Starting today, [new Chief of Staff’s name] should be copied on all emails to me. Please reach out to [your name] with any work related to [your new function].”

Stop Being the Chief of Staff

Just like Rose let go of Jack, you must let go of your COS role to move forward.

Just like Rose let go of Jack, you must let go of your COS role to move forward.

It is important that once you leave your Chief of Staff role, YOU fully accept the change, too. Not just your boss and team. If people still treat you as the “go-to” for activities that should be handled by the new Chief of Staff, DON’T DO THEM. It is important for everyone to learn a new habit. They won’t learn a new habit if they still get what they want from the old one. Enforce the change to make it reality for everyone.