How To Prepare For A Skip Level Meeting (+ Questions To Ask)

Skip-level meetings

When an employee has a meeting with his manager’s manager, it’s called a skip-level meeting. The discussion “skips” over one layer of management. 

In this article, we’ll break down every aspect of a skip-level meeting including how to prepare as the employee and the manager.


What is a skip-level meeting?

A skip-level meeting is a planned discussion between an employee and the manager of the employee’s manager. It skips over the direct boss in the chain.

It’s a chance for the employee to ask questions and share feedback at a higher level. It’s also a chance for the director to learn more about concerns, ideas, and questions from the employee level.


Why should you have a skip-level meeting?

For employees, it is a good chance to do the following:

  • Talk directly to higher management
  • Find out more about what’s going on in the company
  • Get advice or feedback from a senior perspective
  • Build a direct relationship with upper management

For managers, it is a good chance to do the following:

  • Get direct insight into operations and employee sentiment
  • Identify ways to improve
  • Build trust and relationships
  • Identify talent within the company


How do you prepare for a skip-level meeting?

Here’s how employees can prepare:

  • Know What to Expect: Understand what you’ll talk about in the meeting.
  • Think About Your Role: Reflect on what you do, your successes, and any problems you’ve faced.
  • Prepare Questions: Think of specific questions you want to ask.

Here’s how managers can prepare:

  • Set Clear Objectives: Determine what you want to achieve from the meeting. Mainly, you want to clear barriers for the employee in his or her career and in the job.
  • Review The Employee’s Story, History, and Work: Review the backgrounds, roles, recent projects, and any previous feedback of the employees you will be meeting. 
  • Decide How To Create A Space To Talk Freely: Assure confidentiality to encourage honest and constructive communication.
  • Prepare Questions


Good Questions For A Skip-Level Meeting

Questions the employee could ask:

  • Understanding Company Vision and Strategy:
    • “Where do you see the company going in the next few years?”
    • How do the current projects/initiatives align with the company’s long-term goals and vision?
    • Can you share insights into the company’s strategic direction for the next year and how our team contributes to that vision?
  • Feedback on Team Performance:
    • From your perspective, what are the strengths of our team, and where do you see opportunities for improvement?
    • “How do you think our team is doing?”
    • How does our work impact the company’s objectives and your expectations?
  • Career Development:
    • “What can I do to grow in my career here?”
    • “Is there any part of my work you think I can do better?”
    • What skills and competencies are most valued in the organization right now, and what would you recommend I focus on for my professional development?
    • Can you provide examples of career paths that have been successful in the organization for individuals in my role?
  • Organizational Challenges and Changes:
    • “What are the biggest challenges for our company right now?”
    • Are there any upcoming changes in the organization that could impact our team or department?
    • How can our team better adapt to the changing needs of the organization?
  • Employee Well-being and Engagement:
    • What measures is the company taking to ensure employee well-being and work-life balance?
    • How does the company plan to address feedback received from employee engagement surveys?


Questions the manager could ask:

  • Insights into Team Dynamics and Morale:
    • How would you describe the morale and dynamics within the team?
    • Are there any challenges in communication or collaboration within the team or with other departments?
  • Feedback on Leadership and Support:
    • How effective do you find the communication and leadership style of your direct supervisor?
    • What support do you need from management that you’re currently not receiving?
  • Understanding Employee Perspectives:
    • What do you enjoy most about your work, and what aspects do you find most challenging?
    • Are there any processes or tools that you believe could be improved to enhance productivity or job satisfaction?
  • Identifying Opportunities and Ideas:
    • Do you have any ideas or suggestions that could help improve our products, services, or workflows?
    • Are there any market trends or opportunities you think we are not currently addressing?
  • Career Development and Goals:
    • What are your long-term career goals, and how can the company support you in achieving them?
    • What kind of training or professional development opportunities are you interested in?
  • Feedback on Organizational Policies and Culture:
    • How do you feel about the company’s culture and values? Do they resonate with you and your colleagues?
    • Are there any policies or aspects of the work environment that you think could be improved?


Skip-Level Meeting Agenda

Want to download the skip-level meeting agenda in Google Docs or Word? It’s part of our meeting agenda library that you can download here


To talk openly with a senior leader and get a new perspective.


  • Start the Meeting (5 mins)
    • Quick introductions.
    • Explain why you’re meeting.
  • Your Role and Experience (15 mins)
    • Talk about your job and what you’ve been doing.
    • Share your successes or any issues.
  • Your Questions (20 mins)
    • Ask the questions you’ve prepared.
  • Feedback from the Leader (10 mins)
    • Hear their thoughts and feedback.
    • Learn about new developments in the company.
  • Wrapping Up (10 mins)
    • Summarize what you’ve talked about.
    • Plan any next steps.

Download meeting agenda templates

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