MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Commissioners praised county Administrator Jason Booth for being part of the inaugural class of county administrators to take part in the High Performance Leadership Academy, offered through the National Association of Counties (NACo).
Commissioners noted that Booth, 46, county administrator since October 2016, did more than just participate in the Leadership Academy, a 12-week, online course completed in December. Each week’s online course, through prior reading and videos, focused on five essential skill areas that included leading, organizing, collaborating, communicating and delivering. From the first week when he scored 23 of 23 in the “Your Leadership Mindset” seminar to week 12’s “It’s All about People” topic worth 25 points, Booth achieved a course-ending perfect score: 249 points.
Some of the other weekly topics included “Your Potential as a Positive Leader,” The Process of Change: Planning (followed the next two weeks by Executing and Sustaining); Speaking the Language of Business,” and “Positive Communications.”
Teresa Bemiller, selected as president of the Knox County Commissioners on Thursday, said she was glad to know Booth took the High Performance Leadership Academy and took its online course to heart for the benefit of county government.
Booth said NACo had approximately 50 county administrators from across the country participate in its High Stakes Leadership Academy. Though online, there were break-out sessions involving smaller groups, and he was placed in a group of about 10 county officials. The break-out group members communicated by telephone conferencing and there were also interactive group sessions, with all county administrators present, on Fridays, he said.
“You could tell they (High Stakes Leadership Academy trainers) have been doing this a while,” Booth said. “It was very intuitive and interactive.”
The Leadership Academy curriculum was developed by partners including Fortune 1000 executives and public sectors leaders, along with world-renown leaders such as Gen. Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93) and Secretary of State under President George W. Bush (2001-05). Booth, who said he admires Powell, offered that Powell’s “13 Rules of Leadership” was part of the curriculum, such as “Get mad, then over it”; “Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it”; and “Share credit.”
“After we completed the course, all of us received a signed copy of Colin Powell’s (leadership) book,” Booth said.