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Trying to be a great leader

My colleagues and I wrote a book on the best attributes of strong leaders a few years ago titled Leadership from 30,000 Feet. When we thought about what it means to be an effective leader, we discovered striking similarities within our different lives and experiences. Regardless of how our stories started or ended, we concluded the major attributes of an effective leader fall into five distinct categories: commitment, courage, competence, compassion, and character. Thus, all of our stories in the book center around these five important characteristics.

And now, in 2021, since we wrote the book, we’ve given numerous presentations on the 5Cs, and our evolving premise is that most anyone can lead an organization or group of people as long as they’re competent at what they do, they remain committed to the task at hand and are courageous when tough decisions or difficult times happen. During the discussions and Q&A that followed our presentations, we realize the final two Cs - Compassion and Character really define a great leader and this has proven more and more the case during the recent situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. As we recover from these challenging times in our Nation’s history, this simple list of necessary characteristics - the so-called 5Cs - might prove to be a good measuring stick for those who strive to be a great leader.

Our book and stories contain both personal anecdotes and actual stories about the men and women who’ve led us as general officers, or those we served with through our combined 200 years of service in the military. We also try to leave you with some takeaways after each chapter so you can apply the lessons learned that we’ve captured with the day-to-day operations ongoing in your own company or organization. And we also want to offer you some encouragement to become an effective leader by emulating people who are considered great leaders you’ve witnessed during your own career.

Leadership can be learned by anyone willing to take the time to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and it is not necessarily an innate skill some people have, and others don’t. Take some time in the new year to assess how you can become a better leader and don’t hesitate to do some reading on the subject. We all need to learn more in the weeks and months to come.


Jake Polumbo is a Founding Partner and Senior Consultant in Two Blue Aces Consulting. He also serves as the Chair of the Board of the Central Florida Development Council. TBA provides executive-level services to our clients focusing on their business needs. Along with 4 other General Officers from the U.S. military plus 2 recognized leaders in the Florida Real Estate Market, TBA specializes in strategic reviews, business plan development, leadership training and executive-level assessments & evaluations.


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