Public Relations Blog

Becoming a Genuine Leader by Marilyn Mason

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“Dr. Mason’s psychological insights are stunning. She illuminates the passage to authentic leadership.”
Gail Sheehy, author of Passages

“The more we learn the better we lead, and this is a resource for success in all you do.”
Jesse Fink, Cofounder,

“Over a lifetime, Marilyn Mason has guided the great and small through the portals of personal discovery into wisdom and freedom. In this fascinating, readable book she describes a path to genuine leadership.”
Craig Barnes, author, lecturer, playwright, and radio host


Marilyn Mason has spoken to audiences around the world and has helped hundreds of management teams find ways to operate at their full potential by identifying how their pasts are informing their present behaviors at work. Were you passed over for a promotion? Hate your boss? Do you find yourself screaming at your team to get the work done? Or are you a micromanager who doesn’t think anyone but you can do it the “right way”? Marilyn Mason’s new book, BECOMING A GENUINE LEADER: Renew Integrity at Work by Understanding Your Past (Hazelden Publishing; October 20, 2013; $14.95), can help you figure out how you can change yourself and your work life for good.

In her book, Mason uses personal stories of many executives she has worked with over the years who have been unable to break through the barriers impeding their pathway to success. She reveals how their “first families” have a major impact on how they operate in their “work families.” For example, the child who was the “hero” in a dysfunctional household carries that feeling with him as an adult. He may feel the need to make everybody happy at the exclusion of his own needs. In a management capacity, this person may have a difficult time being assertive. He might choose to make his boss happy over defending his team. And he might sugar-coat orders from the top in order to please his subordinates.

In BECOMING A GENUINE LEADER Mason also explains how shame and vulnerability affect how we interact with others professionally. Some of our “first families” have left us with scars that are covering up a tremendous amount of shame for how we couldn’t fix things or couldn’t measure up to our parents’ demands—for how we feel we have failed. In adulthood these feelings can cause us to behave ineffectively and inappropriately at work and even motivate us to work in emotionally unhealthy environments. Only by facing the shame in our past are we able to change the present. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and authentic, complete with all of our flaws and baggage, will improve how we handle situations and manage challenging relationships. It will also help us make informed choices about our work lives and will lead us to better opportunities and greater successes.


Marilyn Mason is the president of Mason & Associates LLC and former University of Minnesota faculty member. She is an internationally recognized consultant and speaker on executive leadership development and coaching. Her prior books include Facing Shame, Making Our Lives Our Own, and Seven Mountains: The Inner Climb to Commitment and Caring.


Hazelden Publishing is part of the Hazelden Foundation, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1949 that helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. With 60 years of knowledge and experience, Hazelden offers a comprehensive approach to addiction that addresses the full range of patient, family, and professional needs, including treatment and continuing care for youth and adults, research, higher education, public education and advocacy, and publishing. It has facilities in Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, Florida and New York.