As I write this post today there's talk that President Hosni Mubarek of Egypt might be stepping down as president of his country after 30 years because of the riots in that country. The odd thing about it is that no one is sure just who will take over next. It seems the military might be positioning themselves to take charge, while there's also a vice president, yet according to the Egyptian constitution the leader of their congress is supposed to be next in line.

Changes in leadership is always a tough concept to get one's mind into. If you're the owner of your company and it's a small company it's never anything you'll have to think about. Yet, if your company starts getting large, to the point where you have a board of directors, suddenly all things change. Think about Apple; even Steve Jobs was once ousted as the head of his own company, though they brought him back. And Martha Stewart had to give up leadership of the company in her name when she went to jail for stock fraud.

Whether one likes the democratic model or not, it really has the best script for determining who's going to be a leader for a specific period of time. We elect leaders for 2, 4 or 6 year periods. We also have laws that keep a check on just how much power they wield, and if they get out of hand, we have laws that can remove them sooner rather than later.

It's both a nice check on leadership as well as a nice set of protections for those leaders. One can't arbitrarily remove an elected official because one day someone wakes up and doesn't like that person. One also can't arbitrary remove an elected official because they made a mistake, especially if it's not criminal.

In business, leadership changes are both hard and easy. It can be hard if someone has been entrenched in a position for such a long time that no one else knows the job. It can be easy because someone above that person can one day walk in and, without much cause, get them out of there and replace them with someone else they'd rather work with.

Leaders probably have the least amount of job security in business compared to everyone else. They don't have a union backing them up. The rules for keeping records on supposed bad behavior don't work quite the same way. One could replace a leader because they make too much money and never have to reveal that's the reason. If a company doesn't fight unemployment, all stays quiet and dirt stays under the rug.

But when is it smart to replace a person in a leadership role? That's a tough one to answer across the board, but let's take a shot at 3 reasons.

One, you need to replace leader that's ineffective in communicating with the people who report to that leader. If people aren't listening, or can't understand what the leader is telling them to do, and it's impacting the performance of the company, then that's a leader that needs to be replaced.

Two, you need to replace a leader that proves he or she doesn't know the job. Companies sometimes get snowed by a great resume and references that don't translate well to a new job. Even internal candidates sometimes are made to seem more than they are because they were "liked" by others.

Three, you need to replace a leader who causes more problems than they solve. This could be manifest in multiple ways, from bad behavior to bad decision making to alienation to customer service to... well, you name it. Earlier today there was news that another politician from New York has resigned his Washington job because of a lapse in judgment in replying to a Craigslist singles ad while being married with a child, and sending an inappropriate picture of himself as well. In his case he probably couldn't have been fired, but if he'd stayed he'd have done more public damage to Congress, especially his party, and of course his home life, which probably needs to be repaired at this point.

If one needs to make leadership changes, it's always best to make them for legitimate reasons rather than something personal. Those that remain will obviously notice one way or another, and think of which message you want to send them, especially since you need them to operate at peak efficiency.