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Being an ‘authentic’ leader takes more than just a job title

Date: 3/7/2014

By Carley Dangona

AGAWAM – Glenmeadow Retirement is sponsoring a leadership workshop to teach participants how to take charge, not just in supervisory roles, but in everyday life.

Steve Mundahl and his wife Sharon Massoth will discuss “Authentic Leadership: The Principles Behind Becoming Whole and Taking Charge,” at the Agawam Public Library, 750 Cooper St., on March 11 from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is free and open to the public.

“A good leader recognizes his or her faults and strengths, continually striving to do better,” Mundahl said. “Leadership is not a position to obtain. It’s really more of a lifestyle. It’s an internal journey.”

Mundahl is the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Pioneer Valley Inc. and Massoth is a psychotherapist and business coach. The presentation will share the knowledge the two gained through writing their book, “The Alchemy of Authentic Leadership.” The workshop will help participants learn how to be better leaders, whether they run a family or a major corporation.

Mundahl referenced names such as former President Bill Clinton, New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez among others as examples of these “shortcuts” going wrong.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the fall of these leaders. They want [to succeed] so badly they take shortcuts and cheat,” Mundahl commented.

“He took a lot of good people down with him because he couldn’t face the truth,” Mundahl said of Lance Armstrong. He added that all of us have “baggage” and that none of us “want to be in tomorrow’s headlines.”

Mundahl explained three reasons as why people do what they do.

The first is genetics, he said. Everyone is predisposed to a chemical makeup that influences our natural tendencies. Secondly, children are taught to believe certain things about life through “impressions that we carry our whole life long.” Lastly, people’s personal habits such as getting enough sleep, exercising and eating right all contribute to the choices people make.

“Sooner or later it will surface if you are on the wrong path. Sometimes, the outing is the best thing for us. We are all tempted by shortcuts or bad behaviors. What appear to be shortcuts, end up being very long, arduous journeys,” Mundahl said.

He stated that men and women alike – from single parents to corporate CEOs – struggle with these issues. Effective leadership is marked by an acute awareness of “who and where” one is. Sometimes therapy is necessary.

“It certainly takes a great deal of introspection,” Mundahl said.

As part of the seminar, Mundahl will discuss his own experience working with Goodwill, a company of 175 employees.

“When I took over it was almost defunct. It was a 90-year-old corporation that had really been abused,” he shared.

The idea for “The Alchemy of Authentic Leadership” came from his own personal diary while trying to rebuild Goodwill. “Leadership is a process that never ends, it is a journey; we always have something to learn,” Mundahl said.

He cited the internal journal as both motivation for and a roadblock from personal goals, depending on whether a person is aware of and willing to address the issues he or she has.

“We have to pen the invitation to all the goodness for our life[and] it starts from the inside out,” Mundahl said.

To enroll, contact Glenmeadow at 567-7800 or email For more information, visit