• Jonathan Bullock

7 questions to help you decide whether to develop or replace a leader



One of the most challenging decisions we face as leaders is deciding whether to invest time and resources in developing a team leader or to recognise that they no longer have a place at your table.


Here are seven questions to help you consider your options. These straightforward questions pack a punch as they focus your attention and help you make the best decision.

1. Has your trust in the person risen or fallen in the last year?

Ask yourself whether or not they have become a more critical part of the team and contributed significantly to the company's progress.

2. Are they struggling with change?

If this leader is falling behind, unable to adapt to change and evidently lacks the necessary skills to carry the company forward, it may be time to let them go.

3. Is keeping this person causing you to lose other people?

Are your best team members aware that this person's poor performance is being indulged, and is it affecting the company's overall culture?

4. Does this person view work as a job or an obligation?

Many people in positions of power don't see their duties as greater than their to-do list, an attitude that can be detrimental to the company.

5. Do you have an issue with their values, motivation or skill set?

While a motivation issue is the most challenging call to make, ask yourself how much they genuinely want the role, and do they have a desire to grow and satisfy the requirements of their position?

6. What is their relationship with the window and mirror?

If everything goes smoothly, do they point out the window and credit others, or do they point out the window to blame everyone else when things go wrong? The right person examines themselves in the mirror when things go wrong, accepts responsibility and constantly seeks opportunities to improve.

7. How would you feel if this person handed in their notice – upset, distressed, grateful or relieved?

If you believe you would be grateful or relieved if they were replaced, it is time for them to let them go.

(@Board members – many of these points are true when you think about the challenging task of replacing a CEO…)


TAKEAWAY: When it comes to dismissing a leader, I have found that clarity goes a lot further than harshness. Be clear, explain why you've made this decision and handle the matter with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity.

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