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How To Run A Skip Level Meeting

To run a skip level meeting, a superior leader must create an open, safe environment that promotes candid dialogue, active listening, and constructive feedback, helping facilitate communication between management levels and providing direct reports with an opportunity to make their voices heard.

A Skip Level Meeting is a type of meeting where upper-level management bypasses immediate supervisors to talk directly to non-managerial employees. This kind of meeting is designed to foster open communication, build trust, gain valuable insight, and address any issues or concerns among lower-level employees. It provides an opportunity for top leaders to understand the business better from varied levels, engage in direct dialogue with employees, and gain firsthand knowledge about the working conditions and morale. It also empowers the lower-level employees, enabling them to feel more valuable and heard within the organization.


How To Run A Skip Level Meeting: Step-by-Step


Step 1: Identify Participants

The initial step in preparing for a skip-level meeting involves identifying the participants. Naturally, this will comprise the senior manager and the corresponding employees who directly report to them. The comprising team should represent each tier of management involved, fostering an environment conducive to open communication and constructive feedback.

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Step 2: Set the Agenda

To ensure the meeting is efficient and productive, it is crucial to meticulously establish and circulate an agenda well in advance. This agenda should clearly specify the topics for discussion, identify key questions to be addressed, and assign responsibility for each agenda item, thus providing attendees with a roadmap for the important discussions to come.

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Step 3: Communicate Intent

It’s essential to distinctly articulate the purpose and intention of the meeting to all participants before it occurs. This measure ensures all the attendees are well-prepared and have a clear understanding of the meeting’s objectives, thereby limiting apprehension, confusion, and maximizing the meeting’s productivity and efficiency.

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Step 4: Establish a Safe Environment

As the meeting organizer, it’s crucial to assure participants this is a safe space for candid communication. The leader’s role must include nurturing a climate of sincerity, openness, and non-judgment, setting an atmosphere conducive for participants to express their thoughts freely and honestly without apprehension.

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Step 5: Conduct the Meeting

As a meeting leader, your main role is to ensure that the meeting proceeds in a well-structured, time-efficient manner. You should actively encourage all participants to take part in the discussions, giving everyone the opportunity to express their views. Always value each viewpoint to promote an atmosphere of mutual respect and open dialogue. Actively managing the flow of discourse will prevent time wastages and ensure an effective and productive meeting.

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Step 6: Listen and Understand

It’s crucial to actively listen to concerns and ideas presented during meetings, not just hearing but truly understanding them. This involves empathizing with employees, acknowledging their perspectives before reaching any decisions or taking actions. This process nurtures a communicative environment, fostering productivity and positive collaboration.

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Step 7: Follow up

After the meeting, it is essential to recap and communicate key points and agreed upon tasks to keep everyone informed. A summary email serves as a reminder, aiding in accurate implementation of the items discussed. This follow-up ensures that everyone is aligned and all actions are underway in an effective manner.



Running a successful skip level meeting takes preparation, effective communication, and commitment to openness. With the right approach, these meetings can be a crucial tool in bridging communication gaps, nurturing transparency, and fostering a deeper connection among team members. By planning ahead, staying engaged, and adopting a clear structure, leaders can gather useful insights and instill a greater sense of purpose and motivation within their teams. Additionally, establishing a culture of trust and respect can make these meetings more productive and gratifying. Remember, the success of a skip level meeting is measured not just by its smooth conduct, but more significantly by the solutions it offers, the relationships it strengthens, and the growth it promotes. Invest time and energy in these meetings; it’s an investment in the success of your team and organization.


What is a Skip Level Meeting?

A Skip Level Meeting is a type of meeting that involves the senior leadership or management of a company engaging directly with non-managerial employees. These meetings bypass middle management, hence the term “skip-level.” They are designed to facilitate open communication, increase transparency and gather insights from various levels of the organization.

What are the benefits of a Skip Level Meeting?

The benefits of a Skip Level Meeting include enhancing trust and transparency within the organization, motivating lower-level teams, offering an opportunity for top-level managers to gain different perspectives and feedback directly from non-managerial staff, and providing employees a platform to voice their opinions or concerns.

Who typically participates in a Skip Level Meeting?

In a Skip Level Meeting, high-level managers or executives engage directly with non-managerial employees, skipping over the involvement of middle management. This could include the CEO conversing with junior employees, directors talking to line staff, etc.

Could Skip Level Meetings replace the role of middle management?

No, Skip Level Meetings are not designed to replace the role of middle management. Instead, they complement their roles by providing top leadership with varied perspectives from all levels of the organization. Middle managers still play a crucial role in daily operations, supervision, and the implementation of strategies.

How frequently should Skip Level Meetings be conducted?

The frequency of Skip Level Meetings depends on the specific needs, size, and structure of the organization. However, they should be regular enough to build trust and ensure effective communication channels between leadership and non-managerial employees. This could be quarterly, bi-annually or annually.