The goal of skip level meetings is to help the senior leader be a better manager of
him/herself, of the report of their function, and the rest of the management team.
While 1-1s facilitate communication between a team
member and their manager, skip levels should facilitate communication between a
team member and their manager's manager.
These meetings between a senior leader in the company and their "skips" serve
to promote communication across the leader's whole team, not just their direct
reports. It also gives the skips an opportunity to get to know their senior
management, ask questions, and/or clarify their understanding of company or
It's important to note that the following are not purposes for the
skip level meetings:
To check in on the performance of a manager by "going around them."
To manage priorities, career management, or perform any duties typically
handled by a team member's direct manager.
Conducting skip level meetings
Skip level meetings should be held at least quarterly. Whether or not you
choose to organize them more frequently is at your discretion, and likely
impacted by the number of skips you have.
Skip level meetings can be conducted one-on-one or in groups of no more than
10-15 (to encourage participation). You may prefer one approach over the
other, or if you have too many skips one-on-one meetings may not be feasible.
If you're able to do one-on-one skip levels, we recommend the first meeting
with each skip be similar to a coffee chat - a free-form discussion with the
intent to get to know each other.
Aside from any of these free-form initial skip levels, subsequent meetings
should have a clear agenda. The first portion of the agenda should include
anything you want to update or reinforce with your skips - review strategy,
remind the team about areas of focus, etc. After that, there should be ample
time for questions from the skips.
Don't worry about repeating information in skip level meetings. One of the
most common reactions managers have after they conduct skip levels is to say
"I thought everybody knew that!" Remember that messages often have to be
shared several times in several ways before they are communicated
Skip level meetings can also be a great place to solicit feedback from your
skips. SKS questions, among
other feedback mechanisms, make solid agenda items.