5 Signs That It's Time to Replace a Manager

5 min.

During my practice, I have worked with many clients who were considering replacing a manager. This situation is indeed delicate. Therefore, I decided to offer some principles that summarize my current practice not only as a consultant but also from my own managerial experience.

I often heard from my clients: "Only when I replaced that person did I realize that it was not as difficult as I feared. I should have taken this step 3 months earlier. It would have saved me a lot of energy and resources." Yes, three months is the most common answer I get from clients when I ask how long it took them to make the decision.

I know I am treading on thin ice. And I realize that no recommendation works on its own, out of context, and especially outside the specific situation you are in. However, these are the first signs you should pay attention to and not overlook. They are often indicators of a deeper problem.

At the same time, I want to emphasize that if a manager has a problem, replacing them is not the only solution. I always recommend uncovering the true nature of the problem and addressing it. So, what are the main signals you should pay attention to?

The Thought of Replacing the Manager Comes to Mind

Just the fact that this thought crosses your mind is often a sign that things are not going as they should. Even though we are all very rational, it is not good to underestimate intuition. Intuition is not a "woman's inner spiritual force," but rational considerations that simply run "in the background" without us fully paying attention to them. Just as you don't consciously think about pressing the brake and accelerator in a car and operate automatically, you also consider the functioning of your team. Try to recognize this feeling and find out what exactly is causing it.

High Turnover in the Team

If a manager is responsible for leading people, high turnover in the team is one of the signs that they are not doing their job well. However, be cautious here: turnover is the most universal sign that something in "human relations" is not working well. This does not only refer to the functioning of the HR department. The execution of personnel tasks, or modern "people management," is primarily the manager's responsibility. Are their people unhappy and leaving? Or, conversely, does the manager fail to select and train employees, and the resignations come from them? This issue can be clarified by well-conducted exit interviews and managed discussions with the manager in question.

Failure to Meet Goals

I am surprised how often this sign is overlooked. The main task of a manager is precisely to deliver the goals they have taken on. If this is not happening, do you know the reason? Are the goals you have set truly SMART goals (specific, measurable, accepted, realistic, and time-bound)? In many companies, I have encountered managers with poorly set goals or no goals at all.


If you have a "well-poisoner" in the company, it is necessary to take decisive action. At first glance, everything seems fine, but in reality, this manager is internally demotivated. Such a person is dangerous because they reduce the productivity of people around them. They may have great results themselves, but their negative influence on others outweighs their contributions.

They Cost You Too Much

Efficiency is important. For success in your role, you must also think about whether what you invest in this manager will be returned. It doesn't matter whether it's money, training, or your energy. This equation must not have a negative result. Here, I recommend considering not only the short-term but also the long-term benefits and all aspects it may have.

Have you identified any of these signs in managers in your team? I would be happy to discuss the situation with you and help you address it effectively. Call me or write to me.

Mgr. Zuzana Paulová
flow-r partner & executive search consultant