Newsletter – February 26, 2020

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Have you scheduled your next skip-level meeting?

Hi friends,

When you’re a manager of managers, it’s natural to feel a little removed from the work. You might be spending more time with spreadsheets than with clients, or in coalition meetings than with members. This is probably a good thing—in your position, you need to keep an eye on the bigger picture. It doesn’t make sense to be all up in the details all the time (and quite frankly, it’s annoying for your staff). However, this might mean you’re not getting as much feedback as you need. In a hierarchical organization, information from the ground gets filtered as it makes its way up (if it ever does).

Of course, your job as a manager of managers isn’t to KNOW ALL THE THINGS—that would be impossible and unstrategic. Your job is to keep a pulse on what’s happening and maintain relationships with the people on your team so that you get the right information and feedback when you need it.

One way to ensure this and avoid becoming insulated in your role is to have skip-level meetings with your team members. Skip-level meetings are a type of one-on-one meeting that managers of managers hold with their direct reports’ direct reports (say that five times fast!). They’re helpful for building relationships, gaining insight into your team and organization, and getting feedback about the managers that you manage.

To get started, check out our skip-level meeting toolkit below. It covers:

  • the purpose of skip-level meetings
  • the anatomy of a skip-level meeting
  • questions to ask your direct reports’ direct reports
  • our top tips for implementation
  • template emails for introducing skip-level meetings

Click here for the Skip-Level Meeting Toolkit

But Wait, There’s More!

Have you ever wondered, “What should my relationships with staff several layers below me look like?” Check out this article for advice on getting to know those staff members, without undermining your managers’ own relationships with their teams. In case you missed its original publication in 2014, this article is a 2020 refresh of three key tips for successfully navigating skip-level relationships.

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