On Being a Sober Leader: A Conversation with Tony McGrath


Instead of working relentlessly towards rigidly defined goals, good leaders prioritise culture over strategy. They also create the conditions that allow their team to thrive. These leaders believe that by building a culture based on empathy and kindness, the business will take care of itself. 

In this episode, Tony McGrath shares how he leads with empathy by drawing on the lessons he learned after recovery. Tony explains how you can inspire action in both your public and private lives. He concludes by giving tips on how you can maintain sobriety as a lifetime project of self-development and cut yourself loose from the ball and chain that bind you.

Tune in and be inspired to create a more fulfilling life through sobriety.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode



What are the QUALITIES of a good leader, and how do they create an environment that allows others to flourish?




UNDERSTAND the difference between sobriety and emotional sobriety.


DISCOVER how to live in the moment and appreciate the fullness of your experiences without taking enjoyment from alcohol.

Episode Highlights 

Learn More About This Exciting Episode

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"‘I fuck up a dozen times a day, at least, as a leader in business and as a leader in life. But I have an obligation to do my best. And when I say, “I want to lead with empathy”, I need to do that".

"As a leader, we seem to feel that we've got to be dictatorial in some way, almost sociopathic at times, you know, where the bottom line number is all that matters. And I think what we fail to grasp in business and politics is that, actually, if you do the right thing, the numbers take care of themselves".

"When you go along with your resume and say, “I've been a single mom for the last five years”, or as you said, “I've been in recovery for two or three years now”, or “I went through a divorce and lost my kids”, they're not skills that we value. But if we take it from a spiritual point of view, as a business, why wouldn't I want a person with that resiliency and that depth of character working for me?".

"‘Lots of us achieve great things with the ball and chain attached to us. What can you do and what will you do the minute you take that off? Like since I took it off, my life has changed beyond recognition. You know, do I have more money than I did? No. Do I have more peace in my heart? Yes".

"I think sobriety is putting the ball and chain in your suitcase. Emotional sobriety is leaving the suitcase in a locker at the airport".

Learn More About This Exciting Episode

To learn more about on being a sober leader, please sign-up to receive the show notes for this episode designed to accentuate your learning on this topic.

About the Guest


Tony McGrath, a former soldier and elite athlete, came to Canada as a new immigrant after a career as a senior executive in banking, insurance and retail in the UK and Europe.

After heading a number of start-up enterprises, he led the investment group and management team to launch a new Canadian insurance company.

Tony is a partner in a consulting practice, which focused on leadership mentoring, strategy and execution planning and business turnaround. He facilitates workshops and seminars and is a frequent speaker at conferences in North America and the UK. He has been a sought-after interim CEO in challenging business situations and is currently CEO at Calgary’s The GRAND theatre.

Tony sits on a number of advisory boards for start-up companies and entrepreneur incubators in Canada. He also sat on the Alberta Board of Directors of the Certified Management Consultants. He volunteers as a business mentor for Futurpreneur Canada, Haskayne Business School and The Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship. Tony has a particular interest in social enterprise business.

You can reach him on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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