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Why The Best Company Leaders Never Skip Skip-Level Meetings

You may feel that a skip-level meeting is just another meeting that you need to add to your weekly calendar, but they’re important for your company’s long-term growth!

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As a leader, it's important to know how your organization runs on a daily basis and what the overall work culture is like. Managers and employees often meet one-on-one on a regular basis to give feedback, talk about professional goals, and find ways to make employees more productive.

But, these meetings are typically between a direct manager and their individual contributor, and senior leaders may miss out on meaningful insights from front-line employees and that's where skip-level meetings come in.

In this blog post, we will explore why the best company leaders never skip skip-level meetings.


Skip-level meetings vs. regular meetings

Skip-level meetings are different from regular meetings in that they provide senior managers with the opportunity to connect with employees who work for their direct reports.

While regular meetings typically occur between a manager and their direct reports, skip-level meetings provide senior managers with a broader perspective on the organization.

Skip-level meetings are an excellent way for senior managers to assess the effectiveness of their leadership style and identify areas for improvement.

By connecting with individual contributors, senior managers can gather feedback on communication flow, leadership skills, and workplace culture. This knowledge can ultimately lead to a more collaborative and productive work environment.


Why the best company leaders never skip skip-level meetings?

We won’t be mincing our words when we say that employees don't have a lot of respect for the decisions their CEO makes, as they are far removed and out of touch with leadership at work. A skip-level meeting helps counteract this unfortunate roadblock.

Let’s dive into a few quick benefits:

Better communication flow

Skip-level meetings improve communication flow within the organization. When senior leaders communicate directly with individual contributors, they gain a better understanding of the day-to-day operations and the challenges employees face.

This insight helps senior leaders make more informed decisions and ensures employees feel heard and valued.

Additionally, skip-level meetings help to break down communication barriers that may exist between levels of management.

By providing a direct line of communication between senior leaders and front-line employees, it's easier to identify areas where communication may be lacking, and address them accordingly.

Improved workplace culture

Source: Pexels

Company culture is an essential aspect of any organization. It affects how employees feel about their work, colleagues, and employer. Skip-level meetings can be used as a tool to assess the company's culture and identify areas where improvements can be made.

During these meetings, employees are given the opportunity to voice their opinions and provide feedback on the company's culture. This feedback can then be used by senior leaders to create a more collaborative work environment that fosters a sense of community and mutual respect.

Career growth benefits

Skip-level meetings also benefit employees by providing them with opportunities for career growth. When senior leaders take the time to meet with individual contributors, they can provide guidance on career development and help employees define their career goals.

Additionally, skip-level meetings can be used to assess employee performance and provide constructive feedback that can help them improve their skills and advance in their careers.

These meetings can also be used to identify coaching opportunities for managers, ensuring that they have the skills they need to support their team members.

Improved employee satisfaction

Skip-level meetings can significantly improve employee satisfaction levels. By giving individual contributors the opportunity to voice their concerns and provide feedback to senior leaders, they feel valued and heard. When employees feel that their opinions matter, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated at work.

Additionally, skip-level meetings can help to identify potential issues before they become more significant problems. When employees feel comfortable providing feedback, it's easier to address issues before they impact the entire team.

Increase employee engagement

Skip-level meetings make sure that everyone on the team feels heard, getting people across the company on the same page when it comes to decisions (and the occasional deliverable). That’s a +1 for honesty and transparency throughout the organization.

Improved decision making

Skip-level meetings provide senior leaders with additional insights they may not have received otherwise. By meeting with front-line employees, they gain a better understanding of the day-to-day operations and the challenges employees face.

This insight can be used to inform decision-making at the senior management level and ensure that decisions are made with the needs of all employees in mind.

Build better relationships

Skip-level meetings make it possible for leaders, directors, and senior-level executives to build a foundation of trust with people in their organization who may not directly report to them. At the end of the day, employees feel like they have a voice and that they have more of a connection with leadership - something that often gets lost in translation at large companies.

Boost innovation

Do you know what most employees desperately need at a company? A safe space to share ideas. With skip-level meetings, the team is more likely to work together to innovate and work as one.

Develop future leaders

‍By meeting with employees who are a level or two below them, leaders can identify potential future leaders and help develop their skills and abilities. This can be a valuable investment in the organization's future.


Sample questions for skip-level meetings

Skip-level meetings can take different formats depending on the company's needs and goals. Some companies hold quarterly skip-level meetings, while others hold ad-hoc skip-level meetings when needed. The following are some common questions that can be used during skip-level meetings:

  • What motivated you to join our company?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges you are facing in your role?
  • What is your career aspiration and how do you see your role in the company helping you achieve it?
  • What do you think the company can do better to support its employees?
  • How do you feel about the company culture and what changes, if any, would you suggest?
  • What opportunities do you see for growth and development within the company?
  • How do you think we can improve communication across different teams and departments?
  • Are there any specific skills or training that you think would be helpful for your job or for your career progression?
  • How do you feel about the work-life balance in your role and what suggestions do you have for improvement?
  • Are there any concerns or issues you would like to discuss that you feel are not being addressed?
  • How do you feel about the level of support you receive from your manager?
  • What feedback do you have about the company's performance management process?
  • How do you think we can improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the company?
  • Are there any areas of the company that you feel are underutilized or not being fully leveraged?
  • What do you think are the company's greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • How do you think we can better recognize and reward high performers?
  • What would you suggest we do to improve employee engagement and motivation?
  • How do you think we can ensure that the company stays competitive in our industry?
  • Are there any initiatives or projects that you would like to see the company pursue in the future?
  • How can we improve the onboarding process for new employees and ensure they feel supported and valued from day one?


Skip-level meeting agenda

Source: Pexels

It's essential to have an effective agenda for skip-level meetings. The following is a sample skip-level meeting agenda:

  • Introduction and icebreaker
  • Discussion of the employee's role and responsibilities
  • Discussion of the employee's professional goals
  • Discussion of any challenges the employee is facing
  • Discussion of workplace culture and communication flow
  • Feedback gathering from the employee
  • Wrap-up and next steps

It's crucial to note that skip-level meetings are not a replacement for regular one-on-one meetings between employees and their direct managers. Skip-level meetings are an additional tool that can help senior managers gain a more accurate understanding of the company's operations and create a more open and transparent communication flow.


Common reactions from managers to skip-level meetings

While skip-level meetings can be an effective tool for senior management, some managers may feel threatened or uncomfortable with them. Here are some common reactions from managers to skip-level meetings:

Fear of alteration of management style

Some managers may fear that skip-level meetings will result in changes to their management style or that senior management may find fault in their management style. It's essential to reassure managers that skip-level meetings are not meant to evaluate their management style but to gain a better understanding of the company's operations.

Feeling left out

Some managers may feel left out or undermined by the introduction of skip-level meetings. It's important to emphasize that skip-level meetings are not a replacement for regular one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports but an additional tool to help senior management gain a more accurate understanding of the company's operations.

Feeling overwhelmed

Managers may feel overwhelmed by the additional workload of preparing for and attending skip-level meetings. It's important to provide managers with the necessary tools and resources to prepare for skip-level meetings, such as a meeting template or manager tool.

Identifying potential problems early on

In many cases, employees are more likely to raise concerns or bring up issues with their direct manager during one-on-one meetings. However, sometimes these concerns may not be brought up at all or may be downplayed by the employee for fear of retaliation or negative consequences. By holding skip-level meetings, senior leaders can gain valuable insight into potential issues or problems that may be occurring within the company, even if they are not yet aware of them.

Building a more collaborative work environment

Skip-level meetings can also help to foster a more collaborative work environment, as they provide an opportunity for employees to connect with upper-level management and feel more involved in the decision-making process.

When employees feel like their opinions and input are valued, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work, which can lead to increased productivity and better outcomes for the company as a whole.

Creating a safe environment for feedback

Finally, skip-level meetings can help to create a safe environment for employees to provide feedback and raise concerns, which can lead to a more open and transparent workplace culture. By showing that they are willing to listen to employee feedback and take action based on it, senior leaders can build trust and respect with their teams, which can ultimately lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention.



In today's rapidly changing business landscape, effective leadership is more important than ever before. While there are many different approaches to leadership, one thing that all great leaders have in common is a commitment to building strong relationships with their teams and creating a positive workplace culture.

The purpose of these meetings is to establish a personal connection between the upper manager and the front-line employees, understand the challenges they face, assess their satisfaction levels, and provide constructive feedback.

Skip-level meetings can also be a great way to show employees their voices are heard and valued and to build trust and morale within the organization. If done well, these meetings can help create a culture of openness and transparency, where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and feedback.

Whether you're a senior leader, middle manager, or first-time manager, it's important to recognize the value of skip-level meetings and to make them a regular part of your leadership style. By doing so, you can not only help your employees to achieve their professional goals and aspirations but also ensure the long-term success of your organization as a whole.

One more thing you can do to make your organization successful is to use Dive. Dive is a meeting intelligence platform that makes running best-in-class meetings a breeze. Our intelligent meeting assistant helps your team efficiently prepare for your meetings, tells you what happened in your meeting, who said what, and what you should do next - all in one place.

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