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Effective Skip-Level Meetings

1 min
meetings  ✺  management  ✺  skiplevel  ✺  leadership

As a leader of leaders, one of the most effective mechanisms to stay connected with the organization, build rapport, develop trust, elevate standards, and manage at scale are skip-level meetings. Skip-level meetings are meetings that you have with individuals or teams that roll up into you without the direct manager(s) being present in the room.

Here are my top 4 tips on how to make the most out of your next skip-level meetings:

1️⃣ Set Expectations with Managers and Teams
It's important that both your direct managers and your teams know that you are doing this and the intent behind it - to earn and maintain trust. You do not want any of the parties involved to perceive this as undermining the organizational structure that is in place. Be clear on what will remain confidential in the conversation and what will be shared (e.g. action items).

2️⃣ Build Rapport and Develop Trust
Given that you don't necessarily work with every team member on a day-to-day basis, leverage skip-level meetings to get to know your team members better (e.g. background, ambitions). This is an opportunity to build rapport and develop trust. Doing so will make team members more likely to reach out to you unsolicited in the future to bring up opportunities, challenges or concerns.

3️⃣ Seek Inputs for Organizational Improvements
A great use of skip-level meetings is to seek inputs on changes that have been made to gauge the extent of effectiveness or ask the team for inputs on opportunities/challenges that you can help them address. This can help you define or refine your action plan.

4️⃣ Provide Feedback to the Direct Manager(s)
Skip-level meetings can provide valuable inputs to the direct manager(s) in support of their growth/development and the effectiveness of the team(s) they manage - that would otherwise potentially go un-communicated. Ensure the feedback is passed anonymously, and follow up on the committed actions to make sure they are completed.