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GiANT Leader Summit

John Maxwell was once asked what his greatest leadership challenge was.  This was a person who has led thousands upon thousands of people. His answer might surprise you. He said that without question it was “leading me.”

I’m not sure that I knew what I was walking into as I participated in my first AASA Pre-Conference, but what I quickly found was that this was a deep and collaborative time and space focused on “leading me.”

The session was based off of the best-selling book, The 100X Leader: How to Become a Leader Worth Following. Former school leader and superintendent, Dr. Joseph Hill had us brainstorm the four most critical leadership characteristics and great answers were shared: integrity, vision, competence, relationship-building and more. Dr. Hill shared the results from the Gallup poll which researched the four things that made someone “a leader worth following.” They included these:

  • Trust
  • Compassion
  • Stability
  • Hope

We dug into each of these together and in small groups – what are they; how we exemplify them in our daily work; whether we operate from a place of support or challenge within each. And then to bring it home, we were asked to imagine how our own teams would rate us in each of these areas.

One of the things I appreciated the most about the 100X session is that Joe understood that sometimes the most impactful parts of professional development are the relationships that are built between the professionals in the room. We were in conversation and on our feet longer than we were listening to anything, and it was gift to meaningfully connect with other leaders from across the country.

One of the main things I walked away with today was that we have to know ourselves to lead ourselves. We have to remember that “the health of the leader has a direct connection to the health of your organization.” And that “only healthy leaders build healthy teams; only healthy teams build healthy cultures.” I’m thankful for the self-assessment tools and frameworks that were shared to help us better understand who we are so that we can better lead and support those around us.

#NCE2020 #GiANTLeaderSummit

Jill Siler is superintendent in the Gunter Independent School District in Texas. Connect with Jill on TwitterLinkedIn and at

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