Michael Brody-Waite on Being an Authentic Leader (Clone)

Through the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, our lived experiences—both personal and professional—can teach us a lot about leadership. 

As Michael Brody-Waite, author, speaker and advisor, tells us in this episode of the Leadercast Podcast, great leaders live like recovering drug addicts. He shares with us what his recovery journey taught him about leadership, and how the principles addicts use in recovery can transform the way you lead. 

Namely, the value of authenticity

Real leadership recognizes that authenticity is uncomfortable but necessary.

Featured Resource: Leadercast 2020—Ripple Effect


While in rehab for 28 days, Michael had to create two physical collage masks. One showed who he portrayed to the world while he was under the influence. The other showed the real him. The contrast between the masks taught Michael how important it is to show our true selves in leadership: You can’t lead if you’re concealing who you really are.

He describes four leadership masks we put on to disguise ourselves to those we lead: 

  1. Saying “yes” when you could say “no”
  2. Hiding a weakness
  3. Avoiding difficult conversations (the most prevalent mask for leaders)
  4. Holding back your unique perspective

Real leadership recognizes that authenticity is uncomfortable but necessary. Have you ever done eight hours of hard work to avoid 10 minutes of uncomfortable work? We all have.

An authentic leader understands his or her mask and knows it’s time to take it off. An authentic leader sees the discrepancy between the mask and his/her real self and wants to change.

Listen to our whole conversation with Michael above, or through your favorite podcast player listed at the bottom of this page, to hear about mask-removal strategies for leaders.

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Learn more about Michael Brody-Waite and connect with him on social media through his website.

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Leadercast is on a mission to fill the world with leaders worth following through world-class leadership events, content solutions and resources to grow the impact of leaders everywhere. Learn more at leadercast.com.

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