One of the most important things an organization should establish is a leadership pipeline. A leadership pipeline is a way to prepare the right people for the right positions to ensure organizational success. Beginning at the hiring and on-boarding stages, management should have an idea of their employees’ capabilities, professional goals, and how they can potentially move within the organization.

In a recent study, Deloitte found that as little of 10% think their succession program is excellent and 51% do not view their programs as strong or even existing. This means that only 10% of organizations are utilizing the people within their organization to create an effective leadership pipeline and readying their employees for management and leadership.

To have establish a successful pipeline, there are a few things leadership teams must do.

Invest in your team

One of the best things a supervisor can do is invest in and provide opportunities for their employees’ growth. When you challenge your employees to grow, you are opening the door for them to develop new skills: offer employees the opportunity to take relevant seminars or classes, let employees work within their strengths and give your employees opportunities to step up and take ownership of certain projects or procedures.

Be open, honest, and realistic

Part of ensuring your employees’ success is being open, honest and realistic. Leaders must always be prepared to confront the brutal truths to productively move forward for the betterment of the organization. Walk them through the challenge at hand to help them understand where they failed or succeeded. This also helps them relate to the goals of the organization, the expectations that were set for them, and allow them to give feedback about you and your leadership.

When an employee does or does not get a new opportunity within the company, it is important for leaders to have a transparent conversation discussing the ‘why’ behind the decision. Supervisors can provide constructive criticism and help them identify goals to move forward, which helps employees’ leadership development.

Avoid assumptions

It can be easy for leaders to assume they know everything about their employees or even make assumptions about the amount of skill and information an employee has.

Supervisors should meet with employees to discuss their passions to find out if they are both wanting and capable of the next step. Some employees do not want to pursue that path you’re wanting them to take, while others may surprisingly be interested in moving forward. By asking questions, providing resources, and having transparent conversations, supervisors will be able to effectively move the pipeline forward.

Keep up and stay current

Change is a recurring factor in any organization. Follow up and revisit pipelines every six months or as job position become available. Use your check-ins and performance appraisals to evaluate too.

A good leadership pipeline will allow managers to identify and foster leaders within the organization. When new leadership is needed, managers should be able to refer to their pipeline of talent and get the right people in the right position and cultivate a high performance culture!