How to Stop Self-Sabotaging and Become a Better Agency Leader with Stephen Mansfield

By Jason Swenk on May 31, 2017

Leadership is seriously hard work. There’s a ton of pressure, juggling and personal sacrifice. Don’t let burnout get the best of you! Learn the signs of a major leadership crash before it happens and how to be a better agency leader by knowing how to stop self-sabotaging.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • What is a leadership crash?
  • How to identify the signs of an impending leadership crash.
  • How to be the leader your agency needs.

Today’s guest is Stephen Mansfield, a leadership consultant to CEO’s, celebrities and politicians in crisis. He is also a speaker and author; and his specialty is helping with the recovery of leadership crashes. After years of handling things like major corporation CEO’s affairs and politician’s misuse of power, he has identified 10 signs of a pending leadership crash that will help us stop self-sabotaging traits. Stephen’s on the show to describe some of these signs in a proactive attempt to help us identify and avoid our own leadership crash.

What is a leadership crash?

A leadership crash, in Stephen’s words, is a high profile mistake – an affair, embezzlement, misuse of authority or credentials, etc. – that sabotages the career and life of someone in a leadership role.

Stop Self-Sabotaging: What are signs of a leadership crash?

  1. Being out of season. A “season” is a predetermined, self-imposed period of time. Continuing to work in the same capacity outside of your season sets you up for a crash. Stephen’s examples of a season include: a retirement age, a political term, a period of time living abroad, etc. He says to abide by your commitment to your season.

  2. Choosing isolation. Friends know you best, so right before a major crash people tend to isolate themselves and avoid the issue. Isolation may be due to shame, insecurity, or embarrassment. If you find you’re starting to isolate, figure out why and prevent your own crash.

  3. Harboring an unresolved episode of bitterness. We all have issues from our past that have shaped who we are today. However, harboring unresolved issues with intense bitterness can lead to a serious crash. Holding onto issues only breeds resentment and anger, so Stephen’s advice is to reconcile it and learn how to move beyond it.

  4. Forgetting fun. The pressures of leadership can be soul crushing and mind numbing. It’s important to sprinkle some fun within your intense, hectic schedule. Stephen says boredom causes most crashes (particularly by men). So make time for vacations, adventures, sports or activities you love in order to build in some fun.

  5. Evading confrontation. Those who do not engage in low level confrontations end usually primed for a huge blow out in the form of a leadership crash. According to Stephen, many crashes are a result of no one speaking up when early signs indicate an issue.

  6. Serving artificial images. Social media can play a big role in your perceived image. All it takes is one exaggerated social post or embellished article and the bar gets set so high, you can’t live up to it. The result is tons of pressure that lead to disastrous decisions causing a leadership crash.

  7. Loss of poetry. Leadership starts as a vision but usually turns into being about processes. The loss of vision, passion and poetry is what leads to a crash. An uninspired leader cannot inspire his/her team. Stephen’s advice is to stay engaged in your business; remember your passion and your “why”.

Read more about the 10 Signs of a Leadership Crash in Stephen’s ebook for on Amazon (it’s just $4).

How To Be the Best Agency Leader

Great leadership is a connection between vision and possibilities with the practical processes to see those possibilities fulfilled.” ~ Stephen Mansfield

Your main job as your agency’s leader is to inspire your team. There’s a big difference between inspiring and motivating…  An inspired team doesn’t need motivation 🙂 Stephen’s best example of a great leader is Winston Churchill in WWII. During the war, Churchill first rallied his troops around his vision for winning it and then showed them how it could be done by embodying the vision and enabling them to achieve it.

Inspiring your team and communicating vision is one of the 5 roles of an agency CEO. The key is not to inadvertently de-inspire them. One bad decision can destroy years of building inspiration.

[clickToTweet tweet=”A leader is someone who is not only showing what can be done but inspiring and enabling people to do it.” quote=”A leader is someone who is not only showing what can be done but inspiring and enabling people to do it. ~ Stephen Mansfield”]

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Growing Your Business When You Stop Self-Sabotaging

When you can identify the signs of a leadership crash, you will be able to stop self-sabotaging behavior and improve as a digital agency owner. In order to build as an agency owner and grow your business, you need to be able to recognize other issues within your agency that needs your attention.

Look for weak spots in your business and then think of how you can fix them. No matter what challenges your agency is facing, I can help you get through all of it.

There are many topics I can offer guidance from the different phases of growth you will experience to how you can build authority for your agency.

Growing your agency can be a major struggle for any agency owner and I can show from knowing when it’s time to hire a sales manager or expand your sales team, creating a process for performance-based pricing which can be the best pricing strategy for your business and learning how to keep your big name clients happy.

Are you ready to create something cool and want more advice? Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks, and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my YouTube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.

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