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Should I go to weekly skip level meetings that I inherited from the previous manager for the sake of "don't change anything during the first 90 days" when you take over a new team?

I'm stuck between the one Manager Tools recommendation of not rocking the boat and building trust with the new staff against the fact that I've never had skip level meetings more than quarterly as per the other Manager Tools recommendation. 

Right now I'm inclined to show up to a few of them in the first month or two and then slowly taper off attendance.  I actually inherit two teams and they both have supervisors who are on top of them so I would much prefer to communicate through them.

 

mattpalmer's picture

I think you need to stick with it for a reasonable period of time.  While it's far more likely that your predecessor was ineffective in holding the meetings, there's the possibility that they really are necessary -- the supervisors might not actually communicate all that well (up, down, or perhaps both).  You might not last 90 days before being totally confident that they're unnecessary, but I'd give it as long as it needs to be before you pull the plug.

Also, when you *do* decide to change, make a clean break of it.  The phrase "slowly taper off attendance" makes me envision you slowly sliding down in your seat before you disappear under the table, so nobody notices that the meetings have stopped.  I'm a big believer in the MT guidance that you need to pre-announce any managerial change.  It makes such a difference in keeping the rumours and whispering under control.  When you've made your decision, you should announce in a skip-level meeting, "I've decided that these meetings aren't the most effective way to <describe the intended purpose of the skip-level meetings>.  Going forward, I'll be relying more on <supervisor(s)> to keep <purpose> happening.  I'm still keen to hold these meetings on a less frequent basis -- say, every 3 months -- and I'm *always* available if you feel you need my guidance specifically."

dmb41carter36's picture

I agree that you should go for a short time. You can also use it as an opportunity to survey the field. See how your directs, manage their team. See how the skips act in the setting. Take lots of notes for future coaching/feedback opportunities. You can also use the time to try to determine the DiSC profile of the team members.

twinsen's picture

Cheers everyone.  I'll do the hard break and announce it properly then rather than "taper off".  I'm a high D, high C, so for me it was nerve wracking that one directive contradicted another.