Layers of Leadership – Framework of Skills

By Katherine Skinner, Executive Director, Educopia Institute

What leadership skills do library, museum, and archives professionals all need to engage, catalyze, and develop innovative services and partnerships within their communities? Since 2014, dozens of trainers, professional associations and leadership development programs from across these sectors have partnered with the renowned Center for Creative Leadership to explore this question. Through the Nexus Leading Across Boundaries (Nexus LAB) project, we’ve just released the resulting draft Layers of Leadership Across Libraries, Archives, and Museums framework, which documents leadership skills across six career stages – from entering the profession to leading on behalf of the field. As a partner on this project, I have found immense value in having this shared framework and vocabulary for leadership to refer to when discussing complex challenges and staff development with allied organizations.

Framework showing 6 role-specific layers of leadership

Six layers of leadership, with their associated role-specific skills

So, how might we use this framework to help our field develop future generations of leaders? Every staff member and volunteer can advance our organizational ability to support our communities. Developing their potential across their careers nurtures the collaborative projects, efforts, and initiatives they are involved in, from the smallest ideas to larger regional and national efforts. I personally believe that building strong Layers of Leadership throughout our organizations will help us all grow to face our common, complex challenges.

We need resources such as the Layers of Leadership to meet diverse needs across the LAM sectors. You can help our field contribute to this developing framework in four different ways:

  1. Take a moment to provide your thoughts on the Layers of Leadership Across Libraries, Archives, and Museums framework through this comment form.
  2. If you are hosting leadership skills-oriented staff development prior to July 2017, consider using the Layers of Leadership in your evaluations by piloting the Nexus LAB Evaluation Suite (which pulls content directly from the Layers of Leadership.)
  3. If you are planning staff development around community engagement, advocacy, or innovation, consider piloting any of the seven free, adaptable, customizable curricular resource kits created to build skills for those leading at the profession or field level.
  4. Help us spread the word by forwarding this note along. (#LayersOfLeadership)

Libraries, archives, and museums contribute to our shared communities by providing access to information, preserving cultural heritages, creating new knowledge, and facilitating lifelong learning. Collectively, we can take action to transform ourselves and our communities, positively contributing to the common good while evolving to meet our changing needs. Networked together, we can bring our disciplinary strengths and perspectives together, to develop, support and inspire the leaders who are actively improving their institutions and communities.

Won’t you join us?