Why Joining The Mask-Free Movement Will Make You A Better Leader

From The Management Lab
2 min readMar 25, 2020


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“I believe that it’s not just that we are masked, it’s that we are addicted to them. And so what that requires is a solution that is similar to what helps addicts get free.”

Michael Brody-Waite has gone from being a drug addict to a successful CEO. Not only that, he’s an author, a public speaker, and a sponsor. His TED X talk has had over 700,000 views, and although he was talking about great leaders doing what drug addicts do, the most polarising comments were about his choice of footwear. This is a guy who has learned what it truly means to be authentic.

And he’s written a book about it. As he learned to take his mask off in recovery by following the 12 step programme, he realised that the process to help addicts recover is the same process that creates great leadership.

If we all just take our mask off, turn up, be authentic, have difficult conversations, our businesses would run better, we’d have better places to work, we’d be better humans and our lives would be more successful and more fulfilling.

“I’m not the first person to write a book on how to be a great leader, that’s been done before, and I’m not the first addict to talk about their story, that’s been done before. But what has never been done was taking the process that addicts use to recover, that’s been working for millions of addicts over 80 years, and translate that into a leadership framework that allows anyone to truly become a great leader.”

We hope you enjoy this conversation with Michael as much as we did, he truly is a great human being.

On today’s podcast:

  • What the mask free movement is
  • Why we are taught to hide
  • How Michael learned to be authentic
  • Why sponsors are the best leaders
  • The three principles of authentic leadership
  • What CEOs should be doing differently
  • How to take your mask off


Book recommendations:

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