Skip Level Meetings


You're going about your day, tackling your to-do list, when suddenly an email pops up from your manager's manager requesting a skip-level meeting. Your heart skips a beat, and you start to wonder what this could be about. Is it good news? Bad news? Or just a casual chat?

Skip-level meetings can be intimidating, but they're actually such a good opportunity for both employees and senior leaders. These meetings allow for a direct line of communication, without the traditional chain of command. They create space/time for sharing ideas, discussing challenges, and gaining a better understanding of what's happening across the organization.

What are Skip-Level Meetings?

A skip-level meeting is a one-on-one meeting between an employee and their manager's manager, without the middle manager present. For example, a Marketing Coordinator who usually reports to the Marketing Manager might have a skip-level meeting with the Director of Marketing.

These meetings are designed to avoid bureaucratic barriers and allow creating direct connections between employees and senior managers. They ensure that everyone in the company remains aligned with the organization's vision and goals.

The purpose of skip-level meetings is to:

  • Improve communication and transparency across the organization
  • Make employees feel appreciated through time with the company's leadership
  • Make leaders understand more of the day-to-day operations and challenges faced by their teams
  • Create a culture of open dialogue and collaboration
  • Figure out how they and the team can grow and improve

Benefits for Employees

Skip-level meetings are full of benefits for employees, including:

  • Direct access to upper-level management
  • Opportunity to share ideas and new solutions with decision-makers
  • Learn about the organization and its goals
  • Opportunity to share challenges and blockers for your team
  • Opportunity to discuss career aspirations and growth opportunities
  • Receive guidance and mentorship from upper-level managers
  • Gain a greater understanding of the company culture and its values
  • Build trust and psychological safety at work

Benefits for Senior Leaders

Senior leaders have just as much to gain from skip-level meetings, like:

  • Build connections and relationships with employees
  • Identify valuable performers with high potential for growth
  • Learn how to better support and mentor middle managers
  • Improve workplace culture and satisfaction across the organization

How to Prepare for Skip-Level Meetings (as an Employee)

To make the most of your skip-level meeting, it's essential to come prepared. Here are some tips:

  1. Create an agenda to keep the meeting on track and ensure you cover all important topics.
  2. Prepare thoughtful and relevant questions about the company's current state, future plans, and the leader's career journey.
  3. Consider the challenges you and your team are facing and discuss potential solutions.
  4. Share your career aspirations and seek guidance on how to achieve them.
  5. Give an overview of your current projects and responsibilities, focusing on progress updates rather than nitty-gritty details.
  6. Seek feedback on your performance and areas for improvement.
  7. Share innovative ideas that could benefit the company.
  8. If necessary, respectfully express concerns about your work environment or team dynamics.

Questions to Ask at a Skip-Level Meeting

Asking the right questions during your skip-level meeting can help you turn this meeting into a bonding moment. Some examples:

  1. What are the company's top priorities and challenges right now?
  2. How do you see our team contributing to the company's overall goals?
  3. What skills or areas of expertise do you think are most important for someone in my role to develop?
  4. Can you share any insights on the company's long-term vision and strategy?
  5. What do you think are the biggest opportunities for our team to improve or innovate?
  6. How can I better support my manager and contribute to the team's success?
  7. Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives that I could get involved in to expand my skills and experience?
  8. What advice would you give to someone looking to grow their career within the company?

Remember, skip-level meetings are a two-way conversation. While it's important to come prepared with questions, also be ready to listen and engage in a dialogue with the leader.

How to Conduct Skip-Level Meetings (as a Senior Manager)

As a senior manager, it's crucial to approach skip-level meetings with a clear strategy to encourage open communication and build rapport. Here are some key tips:

  • Set clear objectives for the meeting and create a comfortable environment.
  • Listen actively and give your team members the floor to share their thoughts and ideas.
  • Acknowledge and address any concerns raised during the meeting.
  • Follow up on any action items or promises made during the discussion.
  • Set up skip-level meetings to be recurrent so everyone stays engaged.

The Meaning and Purpose of Skip-Level Meetings

As a senior leader, it's essential to understand the meaning and purpose behind skip-level meetings. These meetings serve as a valuable tool to:

  • Gain unfiltered insights into the challenges and successes of your teams
  • Build trust and rapport with employees at all levels of the organization
  • Identify potential issues or concerns before they escalate
  • Provide guidance and mentorship to help employees grow and develop
  • Make sure the company's goals and the day-to-day work of your teams is aligned

By regularly conducting skip-level meetings, you will create a culture of open communication and transparency.


Skip-level meetings are so important for improving communication, making collaboration smoother, and aligning everyone with the organization's goals. By approaching these meetings with an open mind, both sides will benefit.

So, the next time you receive an invitation for a skip-level meeting, take the opportunity. It could be the start of something big for you and your organization. These meetings aren't just about discussing work-related topics. They're also an opportunity to build meaningful connections, share ideas, and grow.