Skip-level meetings are becoming an increasingly popular tool in modern businesses. They provide a chance for employees to communicate directly with their manager’s manager, skipping the immediate supervisor level. While these meetings can be invaluable in terms of bridging communication gaps, fostering transparency, and ensuring alignment with company goals, they can also be nerve-wracking for employees who might not know what to expect. So, how should an employee prepare for a skip-level meeting?
Understanding the Purpose of Skip-Level Meetings
Before diving into preparations, it’s crucial to understand the main purposes of a skip-level meeting:
- Gaining Perspective: This is an opportunity for senior leaders to understand ground-level challenges and concerns.
- Building Relationships: It allows employees and senior managers to foster better working relationships.
- Direct Feedback: Employees can provide feedback without the filter of their direct supervisor.
So, How Should an Employee Prepare for a Skip-Level Meeting?
1. Gather Your Thoughts and Concerns
Make a list of topics you’d like to address. This might include:
- Your team’s achievements.
- Challenges your team or department faces.
- Feedback on company-wide initiatives.
2. Research and Understand the Agenda
While you may have specific points to discuss, there might already be an agenda set for the meeting. Familiarize yourself with it.
3. Prepare Clear and Concise Points
Your senior leader’s time is precious. Hence, ensure that your points are clear and to the point. Forbes suggests using the ‘STAR‘ method when explaining scenarios or providing feedback:
- Action, and
4. Predict Potential Questions
Think about what your skip-level manager might ask and prepare answers. This can include:
- How your team is adjusting to new company policies?
- Suggestions for improvements in workflow or tools.
5. Note Down Success Stories
Highlight any significant achievements, both personal and team-based. This isn’t just about showing off; it’s about demonstrating value and fostering understanding about what’s working.
During the Meeting
1. Maintain Professionalism
It’s essential to keep the tone professional. Remember, this is a business meeting, not a casual chat.
2. Listen Actively
Ensure you listen more than you speak. As mentioned in an Inc. magazine piece, active listening can lead to better understanding and enhanced communication.
3. Be Honest, But Tactful
Speak your truth, but always be respectful and tactful. Avoid bad-mouthing colleagues or placing blame unnecessarily.
4. Seek Feedback
Don’t just provide feedback; seek it too. Ask questions like, “How do you think I can improve?” or “What would you like to see from our team?”
5. Thank Them for Their Time
Always end on a positive note. Thank them for their time and the opportunity to share and receive feedback.
After the Meeting
1. Follow Up
Send a thank-you note, preferably within 24 hours. Recap the main points of discussion and any action items agreed upon.
2. Implement Feedback
If you received feedback during the meeting, work on it. Implementing changes shows that you value the feedback and are proactive.
3. Share With Your Team
If relevant, share the outcomes of the meeting with your team, ensuring everyone is aligned and informed.
4. Prepare for the Next One
Based on your experience, note down what went well and what could be improved. Use this as a basis to prepare for your next skip-level meeting.
READ MORE: Guide to Productive Meeting
Skip-level meetings are powerful tools when utilized correctly. As an employee, it’s your chance to communicate directly with senior leadership, share feedback, and gain a broader perspective of the company’s direction.
Remember, preparation is key. By being well-prepared, you can ensure the meeting is productive and beneficial for both you and the organization.