Managers need to understand the variety of options they have concerning types of skip level meetings. In this video, learn how to differentiate one-on-one meetings versus larger group options, as well as the specific purpose of the meeting whether that is a mere check-in or a need to discuss an important issue facing the organization.
- There are many reasons to have a skip-level meeting. The most common include discussing the boss who is not in the meeting, talking about issues at the company, changes that might be coming, or just to check in and build rapport. Let's start with one focused on the employee's direct supervisor. As long as you are honest with the skipped manager, this can be useful. You might have a young leader who needs good feedback, or you might have a troubled manager and a skip-level meeting is part of your fact-finding process. Or, just like a 360 evaluation, a skip-level meeting can be a normal part of the process of developing the manager in question. The next reason concerns changes or possible changes to the company. This might involve mission, vision, and values or a change in strategy or changes in company policies or structure. For these types of issues, skip-level meetings can be used before and after the change is initiated. They serve as an input or feedback mechanism that allows management a better chance to implement any change more successfully. Of course, my favorite reason to use a skip-level meeting is just because it's a great way to build rapport, to stop in and get to know people, to thank them and to let them get to know you as a person. Okay, now you have a pressing topic. Let's think about meeting size. You could have one or more one-on-one meetings. This is intimate with a strong impact. It's good for grooming high potentials and for just helping leaders get out and periodically connect with employees. Or you can think about a group-level skip meeting. This is the most popular approach because it allows you to reach multiple people more quickly. It's also the level in the company where real esprit de corps begins because the team is something like a family unit inside the company. Sure, you might see people who are too loud or too quiet in group settings, but you can manage these issues using facilitation skills. Just remember that generally speaking, the smaller the group the easier it is to get feedback and build rapport. The larger the group the more rapidly you'll be able to push out information, but the harder it is to get everyone to engage the conversation. While hierarchies are very necessary, they can weaken relationships the larger they become. Skip-level meetings are one hedge against that possibility. Whether they happen in response to serious issues or just to check in and build a few bonds, they represent a solid opportunity to create deeper understanding across levels of the hierarchy. You can start by asking yourself, hey, which issue in the last year or so has affected most of the organization, has been most difficult, and really hasn't been properly addressed? Well, that just might be a great topic around which to structure a few skip-level meetings.
- Preparing for a skip-level meeting
- Meeting types and sizes
- Preparing the person who will be skipped
- The role of the junior employees
- Conducting a skip-level meeting
- Facilitating progress
- Soliciting feedback
- Identifying behaviors to avoid
- Preparing for future meetings