Applied Leadership Development: Nine Elements of Leadership Mastery (Taylor & Francis Group) by Al Bolea and Leanne Atwater

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It’s Time To Transform Yourself Into The Company’s Most Valued Asset: Applied Leadership Development

Houston, TX, November 17, 2014 – Leaders are made, not born. That’s the bold premise of an exciting new approach for step-by-step transformation into the kind of leader who makes productivity and profits soar. Applied Leadership Development: Nine Elements of Leadership Mastery (Taylor & Francis Group) is the key.

Applied Leadership Development features a powerful combination of co-authors. Al Bolea has had a variety of executive leadership experience and Leanne Atwater has delved into the research journals for proven techniques. Just as important, both have built careers passing on those leadership skills to others. The result is a book of riveting personal observations with sharply insightful commentary, a book to guide readers on a unique path of exploration and self-reflection on the road toward leadership mastery.

Thirty-eight excerpts from the leadership, psychology, sociology and management literature support the vast experiences and lessons learned by Bolea in his many years of experience in leadership positions and as an executive and leadership coach and trainer.  This book also includes writing, thinking and doing assignments to build the essential elements of leadership mastery.

Al Bolea is a corporate leadership trainer and the founder of Applied Leadership Seminars. From his humble beginnings at a coal mine company to his career as the CEO/GM of a large independent oil company, Al has worked at nearly every level within the natural resource extraction industry. He is now the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership at the University of Alaska and a guest leadership lecturer at the University of Houston.

Leanne Atwater is professor of management in the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. She has published more than 50 articles and two books on leadership. She teaches leadership development at the graduate and undergraduate levels and is also the editor of The Leadership Quarterly.

Bolea is available for speaking engagements, coaching, and training seminars that encourage a journey towards leadership mastery and self-discovery through which boundaries are removed and new opportunities arise.  For more information, please visit:

Applied Leadership Development: Nine Elements of Leadership Mastery
Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN: 978-1-84872-584-3 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-84872-583-6 (hardback)
Available online everywhere


Kevin B. Lowe, University of Auckland, Fletcher Building Education Trust Chair in Leadership: “Bolea and Atwater do a masterful job of blending practical experiences with cutting edge research. Their story-telling approach powerfully combines wisdom with theory into a book that reads more like a weekend novel than a leadership development guide. Suitable for corporate development as well as university classrooms, practitioners and scholars alike will find the book to be highly informative, research supported, and a pleasure to read.”

Gov. Sean Parnell, Governor of Alaska:  “Al Bolea and Leanne Atwater have distilled the essence of leadership and answer questions that aspiring leaders ask. This is among the most valuable and insightful books on leadership I have seen, one that works well at the intersection of theory and practical leadership. A very worthy read.”

Scott Knutson, Vice President, Executive Accounts, Nalco Champion: “Al and Leanne’s experiences and teachings in Applied Leadership Development drive home the message of what we take on in our roles as leaders. Leadership is about courage, accountability and the willingness to grow and change. This book is more than a one-time read, it is a tremendous resource manual that will help you grow regardless of where you are in your leadership journey.”

Interview Questions, and answers from the authors of Applied Leadership Development (courtesy of Ascot Media Group

1. There are so many leadership books on the market, what sets Applied Leadership: Nine Elements of Leadership Mastery apart?

Leanne and I have crafted something that is truly unique. The book is a long-term journey about leadership from the perspective of an executive with day trips, now and then, into the academic research that supports the practical leadership lessons and competencies learned in the field. Readers learn practical skills and behaviors that they can put into practice immediately. One of the reviewers said the book was like reading a weekend novel with teeth—I like that.

2. In the book you assert that leaders are made, not born implying that anyone can attain leadership mastery. Why do you believe that?

Because leadership is largely about behavior and we have a lot of control over that. Once people realize that their behavior is an input to what they can be rather than a consequence of who they are—well, they step into a leadership journey through which they practice, manage, and ultimately master leadership skills.

3. If everyone can be a leader, then what makes a great leader?

In all elements of leadership people get better the more they practice. It’s like learning to play a musical instrument—the more one practices the better they get. That means in order to be a great leader one must show up as a leader all of the time, at home, at work, and in the community.  It’s all about consistency and practice.

4. In the book you describe the J-Curve Model of leadership, what is the J-Curve Model and when did this idea come about?

Having taught people and coached them about leadership for many years, I observed that people initially have a hard time accepting the concepts that I espouse. They keep referring back to previously learned behaviors and mental models developed over many years. During this internal battle I think their leadership capability actually decreases. Then they “get it.” Everyone seems to have their own moment when they reject the past and step into the future. The teaching and coaching catches hold and the person’s leadership capability blossoms. That’s the J-Curve in practice. That’s when the nine elements of leadership are internalized and mastery begins.

5. Which of the nine elements of leadership mastery is most important for aspiring leaders?

They are all equally important. There are two, however, that are critical gateways into leadership mastery. First is setting direction for people. Everybody is on a journey, and a leader must be able to articulate a direction upon which people will align their personal journeys. Without this direction an organization is in chaos with people pursuing their personal journeys often at the expense of the organization’s viability. The second critical element involves integrity. No one is going to follow someone they don’t trust. A leader must stand for something and always be that in what they say and do. If gaps emerge between what a person aspires to be and who they actually are—well, they cease to be a leader.

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