In his short book, 10 Signs of a Leadership Crash, Stephen Mansfield distills the lessons of the “leadership crash post-mortem” that he and his team at the Mansfield Group have compiled over a long career of restoring leaders after moral or financial failures.
The theme I see in every one of these ten signs is disconnection— from purpose, people, and practice. Ultimately, it’s a disconnection from our own hearts. The moment we become disconnected from our hearts is the moment we start to move toward a crash. Thus, as this list suggests, we must be disciplined in practices that sustain connection and prevent disconnection.
Mansfield says the signs that a leader is heading toward dishonor and destruction are:
- Being out of season (sticking with a particular role longer than you know you should)
- Choosing isolation (disconnecting from people)
- Defining episodes of bitterness (holding on to offenses)
- Evading confrontation (surrounding yourself with people who don’t keep you accountable)
- Losing trusted friendships (allowing distance to grow between close friendships, or failing to form new connections after loss)
- Forgetting fun (not creating time for healthy rest, recreation, and recovery outside work)
- Perpetuating an artificial image (allowing your brand or public image to take over your life and never being out of “performance mode”)
- Serving the schedule (allowing the demands of structure and operations to eclipse purpose)
- Building a third world (escaping from things you don’t want to confront in your life)
- Losing the poetry (losing the love and passion that come from a deep connection to your purpose)
The good news is that each of these things has a positive action correlated to it that increases our immunity to burnout and failure. The ways we can all avoid heading towards burnout and failure are: making sure that we are in the right season, avoiding isolation, quickly forgiving offenses, surrounding ourselves with people who will readily and consistently confront us, protecting and nourishing close relationships, making time for fun, refusing to let our image dwarf reality or duty eclipse purpose, and making sure that the flame of our hearts is still burning for the purpose, people, and practices we get up for every day.
Now, I want to hear from you! What have you seen that you would add to this list? Which of these positive actions do you struggle with the most, or succeed with the most? What are examples of how you have seen a company, person or ministry avoid burnout and failure? Make sure to share below to help others who are reading this!
*The above is an excerpt from my book with Danny Silk, “The Business of Honor.” You can find out more about the book by clicking here!