How effective are Skip Level Meetings


A few years ago I got invited for a skip level meeting. At that time lot of my colleagues were unfamiliar with the term and were wondering what the meeting was all about. For those who do not know – it is a meeting involving employee’s and their boss’s boss. Basically they skip the person in between (in this case the boss). It is mostly used to gather feedback about the boss by the senior management and they consider that it would be efficient if the boss is not present.

For reason’s above and for many other reason’s people or management considers this as an effective way to change things around. I am not so sure about it though, so here is my take on this and this is purely based on my experience with the people I interact with and it may differ based on the organization:

Cons:
1. Sometimes people do not have enough confidence on their boss’s boss – that he/she will be discreet about what is discussed in the meeting. Hence they fail to provide genuine feedback.

2. If the management does not seem to portray them to be someone who would do things to make a change – then often such meetings are a waste of time and energy for everyone involved.

3. I have been in places where such meetings are used as an excuse to fire the boss – although there was lot of politics involved in it, conducting skip level meeting was just an excuse to substantiate their decision.

4. Some people are not comfortable bringing out their concerns in public and would rather prefer having a one to one chat.

Pros:
1. Depending on the organization – some can really use this as an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback to the supervisor.

2. Can help in bringing a change in process and how things are handled in your organization.

Personally, I feel if the organization is transparent enough to encourage people to walk up to the boss’s boss and speak about their concern then such meetings are not needed. However sometimes such meetings are necessary to bring out the issue in a common forum and get everyone’s opinion about it. Again, each organization is different and only you know what works best for you. So depending on the situation – use it for all the pros it has rather than the cons.

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