How to develop leaders with the Leadership Pipeline

Have you heard of the term “Leadership Pipeline”? It has become widely used by companies in recent times – and represents features that every corporation wants to find in good leaders and managers.


The term has that name because it is represented as a pipe that extends to different channels. If we bring it to the corporate environment, it represents the leader who knows how to act on different fronts and with different audiences. He is a professional who has a good leadership pipeline.

This concept can be further detailed in the book “The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company”, by the Indian consultant Ram Charam in partnership with Stephen Drotter and James Noel where the idea of how it is to be the ​​competitive, effective and modern leaders is explained.

The importance of investing in a training process with the leadership pipeline

All people produce better when they have good leaders. And good leaders are those who inspire through daily example. But it goes beyond. Being a good leader is not an easy task. That is why it is important that the company invests in a process of leadership development. And the leadership pipeline is a valuable tool to achieve it.


One of the functions of the leadership pipeline is to help the company to plan the process of succession of the employees who can become managers in the near future.

Charam emphasizes that the official in question must go through six stages in his career, which are:

  1. Moving from “managing oneself” to “managing others”;
  2. Moving from “managing others” to “managing managers”;
  3. Move from “manage managers” to “functional manager”;
  4. Move from “functional manager” to “business manager”;
  5. Move from “business manager” to “group manager”;
  6. And finally, move from “group manager” to “corporate manager”.


Of course, the functions, depending on the company, may have different names. For example, there may not be a position of “functional manager” or “group manager”. But what matters is the role of that professional, who grows and matures within the company. Thus, the professional will develop his/her own leadership pipeline. That is, know the best ways to talk and act according to each need that comes your way.


How the leadership pipeline helps evaluate competencies

One of the characteristics of the leadership pipeline is to evaluate the competences and virtues of each collaborator. To do so, it focuses on its main characteristics and helps to plan the trajectory of each one – from the first to the sixth stage of development, which cited above.

It is important to remember that the great success of this format comes from its extreme flexibility. The competence of each professional is evaluated according to his/her own characteristics. It is also necessary to think that the leadership pipeline is not an isolated training, but a set of skills and competences – personal and professional – that are essential to be observed in a good leader.

How to establish a system of succession?

To implement the leadership pipeline and succeed in this process, the company must go through some important stages:


1. Invest in employee development

This development can be done through specific trainings and continuous development actions. The actions can be face-to-face or online, according to the need and disposition of the company. Regardless of the chosen format, the company must take into account that it must always invest in the development of its employees.


2. Provide transparency and accessibility in communication

Everyone should know what is happening in the company. That is why it is important to invest in transparent communication and feedback. A transparent system makes the employee feel more motivated and knows what to improve to reach the next level in the leadership pipeline. And that communication must be easy, clear and objective.


3. Document each employee’s development and focus on the data

Every company must always metrify and measure its gains and development. This is also true when it comes to the performance of your employees. One great help in documenting employee development is knowing how many of them are prepared to take over the top management positions of the corporation.

The data help to see in a concrete way the development of each employee. They can be measured according to the employee’s production capacity, their relationship with the team, respect for deadlines, if they serve as inspiration for other people, have good posture, etc.


Main advantages in investing in the leadership pipeline

  • Improvement in individual and team performance: employees participate in a transparent development process. This makes them feel motivated and important for the company. They also understand what they need to do to achieve their goals;
  • Do not tolerate bad results: on the contrary, know what causes these problems and take the necessary measures to solve them;
  • Decrease in absenteeism;
  • Finally, the great advantage of being successful when making the selection of successors for leadership positions. In the end, if you know the collaborator well, you will know if he/she went through the 6 stages of the leadership pipeline and if he/she is able to assume greater responsibility in the company.


Putting the leadership pipeline into practice

During recurring market changes, investing in a good leadership pipeline is a market differential. This is because it helps the company to be more competitive, since it has professionals prepared for leadership positions.


Consequently, with well-occupied leadership positions, the company will have a better organizational climate, communication, feedback and productivity levels.


Does your company know and already invest in the leadership pipeline? Share with us what you think about that format of development and succession of leaders.