What does a White House chief of staff do? 5 things to know

It's been almost a week since Donald Trump won the presidential election, and the president-elect will have some tough decisions to make in the weeks ahead, even before he assumes office. Trump is currently in the process of selecting his cabinet members. On Sunday, Trump announced a vital pick: current Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus to fill the role of chief of staff.

Priebus has proven himself capable to fill the role. During the presidential campaign, Priebus reportedly helped Trump hone in on and temper his message to voters.

But what exactly does a chief of staff actually do? Here's some key responsibilities of the job.

Learn more about Reince Priebus:

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White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
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White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee stands at the main podium as he previews the stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. on July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus (R) address supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S. on November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon (L) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
US President Donald Trump chats with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus while watching Super Bowl LI at Trump International Golf Club Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 5, 2017. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive for a joing press conference by US President Donald Trump and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the East Room of the White House on February 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (C) as Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R) looks onat election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 21 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) talks to RNC Chair Reince Priebus at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gavels the convention to order at the start of the first session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
US President Donald Trump holds an executive memorandum on defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House on January 28, 2017, in Washington, DC. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (3rd L) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (2nd L) joined Trump. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 7: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus listens during a meeting with county sheriffs in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), US Vice President Mike Pence (C) and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner watch from the Rose Garden as Marine One carrying US President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka takes off from the White House in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2017. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base for arrival of remains of a US commando killed William 'Ryan' Owens early January 29, in Yemen during a raid on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff-elect, from left, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, and Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, dine at Jean Georges Restaurant in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Congressional Republicans are considering a lightning-strike rollback of Obamacare early next year to kick off the Trump era, but first they have to agree on a plan limited enough to hold their caucus together. Photographer: John Angelillo/Pool via Bloomberg
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus hold his hand over his heart for the U.S. Naitonal Anthem at the start of the first session of the at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (L) and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon walk as they depart the White House, accompanying U.S. President Donald Trump for a trip to South Carolina and Florida, in Washington, U.S., February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (2ndL) arrive for a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 02: (AFP OUT) White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus attends a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and executives and union representatives from the Harley Davidson company at the White House on February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. At the end of the photo opportunity, Trump said 'nothing is off the table' in relation to current disagreements between the U.S. and Iran. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R) looks on as President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office of the White House, January 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. On Saturday, President Trump is making several phone calls with world leaders from Japan, Germany, Russia, France and Australia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: (L to R) White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus speaks with White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon as President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel in the Oval Office of the White House, January 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. On Saturday, President Trump is making several phone calls with world leaders from Japan, Germany, Russia, France and Australia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, is seen on the West Front of the Capitol after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, January 20, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and wife Sally Priebus arrive for the 58th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States today, in a celebration of American unity for a country that is anything but unified. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus is escorted by Madeleine Westerhaut as he arrives for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump December 28, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Republican president-elect Donald Trump and Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, embrace during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Manager of the Executive Office of the President

The chief of staff position in the White House was created in 1939 during President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, and is tasked with overseeing the Executive Office of the President.

The EOP includes a long list of officeholders, and the chief of staff is charged with making sure each and every one of them has access to the president, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some positions in this office include the president's communications staff, their political directors and various other roles that comprise the president's inner circle.

Executive "bouncer"

The chief of staff also directs which information makes it to the president's desk. They limit who can speak to the president and for what purpose, as well as the duration of the meeting.

By limiting access to the president, the chief of staff frees up the president's day. Of course, this gateway to the president has led to some political favoritism in the past as well.

Top adviser

The chief of staff is also seen as a principal adviser to the president on matters related to both policy issues as well as political matters. They have been given a position with a high degree of trust. With that trust, the chief of staff is often the last person the president will seek counsel from before making an important decision that affects their policy agenda.

The chief of staff is able to fulfill this role because they are in frequent contact with the agenda makers in Congress and within the president's cabinet. As the main point of contact for the president, they often have access to the most information, and can provide a valuable piece of advice to the president based off of what they've heard from others.

Soother of bruised egos

Naturally, the president cannot make time for everyone, and often this means that agendas of certain government officials may be backtracked — or, at times, ignored entirely.

When high government officials get frustrated with the president's lack of interest or time for them, the chief of staff can serve as a consoler of sorts, assuring those who don't always make the cut into the president's time that they do matter — just not at this moment.

Plan executor

The chief of staff is charged with controlling the information that comes into the Oval Office. But they are also charged with executing a plan from the president. This requires consulting with cabinet members and legislative leaders in Congress in order to pass the president's agenda. The chief of staff must have the ability to assuage the concerns of those working with the president to make a deal go through Congress fast, or to make certain a cabinet secretary understands their role in a crucial executive order.

A president needs someone who can work with both the president-elect and his surrogates. That person needs to be able to complete several essential roles, every day, in order to execute the vision of the president.

Related: Learn more about Trump's transition team:


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Donald Trump's transition team
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Donald Trump's transition team
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus address supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence attends a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S. November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon departs the offices of Republican president-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S. November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Governor Chris Christie speaks to supporters in West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. January 31, 2016. REUTERS/Brian C. Frank/File Photo
Former candidate Ben Carson arrives to attend the third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani leaves the offices of Republican President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S., November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Defense Intelligence Agency director U.S. Army Lt. General Michael Flynn testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on "Worldwide Threats" in Washington February 4, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File photo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al) speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican President-elect Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S., November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Son of Republican President-elect Donald Trump Eric Trump gives the thumbs up as he arrives at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S., November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Donald Trump Jr. sits between his wife Vanessa (L) and his brother Eric Trump (R) during the third and final debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Jared Kushner (L) and Stephen Bannon stand by as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio, U.S., September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel delivers his speech on the U.S. presidential election at the National Press Club in Washington, U.S., October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
Steven Mnuchin, Chairman and Co-CEO of Dune Capital Management LP and Chairman and CEO of OneWest Bank Group LLC speaks at a panel discussion "Jump-Starting the Housing Market" at the 2009 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills,California April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES BUSINESS)
Anthony Scaramucci, co-managing partner and founder of Skybridge Capital speaks at the opening of the annual Skybridge Alternatives Conference (SALT) in Las Vegas May 6, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Newly elected Congressmen Lou Barletta (R-PA) (R) and Tim Scott (R-SC) (C) arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 17, 2010. The new members of the upcoming 112th Congress are going through orientation. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) flashes a thumbs-up before delivering his nomination speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) talks to reporters as he walks from the offices of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (not pictured) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 15, 2013. Republicans in the House of Representatives failed to reach internal consensus on Tuesday on how to break an impasse on the federal budget that could soon result in an economically damaging default on the country's debt. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS MEDIA)
Campaign Communications Director Hope Hicks departs the offices of Republican president-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S. November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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