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a summary of

leadership from 30,000 feet

attributes of effective leaders

as told by five air force generals

Leadership from 30,000 Feet contains both personal anecdotes and stories about the men and women who’ve led these generals and who’ve served alongside these generals. These profiles in leadership have been gleaned through their decades of service and leadership.

When the five generals were asked to provide what they think it means to be an effective leader, they discovered striking similarities within their very different stories. One general was forced to eject from an F-16. Another hailed the harrowing landing of a damaged U-2. Yet another anxiously awaited the imminent impact of a nearby missile on the first night of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Through these events and more, the men saw how the major attributes of an effective leader fell into five distinct categories: commitment, courage, competence, compassion, and character.

Consequently, this book is divided into five sections, and each general provides an essay for each attribute. This gives you at least five compelling stories per leadership characteristic. The stories are presented as each general can best recall them, though careful liberties have been taken with regard to remembered conversations.

Additionally, while three leadership takeaways are presented at the end of each chapter, a majority of the chapters are story-driven, with little direct guidance as to how to lead. In other words, this isn’t a guidebook for leadership; it’s encouragement to become an effective leader by way of emulating great leaders.

Although the five generals have retired from active duty, they are all still passionate about helping others lead well. That’s why they formed Two Blue Aces LLC, a leadership consulting company that advises businesses around the world. Together, they specialize in strategic reviews, business plan development, and leadership and mentor training.


Meet the Authors

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