One often overlooked aspect of creating a sustainable project is the selection of an appropriate leader. Generally, this responsibility is automatically relegated to those with higher authority or senior staff. It may be wiser to instead choose a leader by looking at the attributes of each individual and determining who the best fit for a particular project is. But what leadership skills do project managers need? How does one keep order in a project is disharmony occurs?
“A critical part of the evaluation process as they look for a balance between leadership, planning, and institutional investment that is important even if grantees cannot answer every question about sustainability.”1 Leadership ability is not the only area that requires knowledge in order to lead a project. The ability to conserve finances, management skills, knowledge of long-term sustainability processes, and an aptitude for planning are all important for creating a project/program that is intended to last. Should the chosen library team be lacking in these traits, or any specific aspects of the project, it is necessary that the leader has many different skills involving marketing for funds, outreach on behalf of the project, and general editorial/technology skills.1 If no single employee seems to fit the attributes that would make a suitable project leader, don’t simply put the ‘best’ person on the job and move on. It may be necessary to develop the leadership and management skills of your staff through training.
“Effective leaders are those who apply the appropriate skills at the appropriate time for the appropriate situation.”2 Because a project leader maintains good progress through the work of a team, it is necessary that the team have continually good communication, common goals, and equal shares of responsibility set forth by the team’s leader. However, breakdowns in these can easily occur if the leader is neither direct with imperatives nor strong enough to hold control over the team. My own workplace is currently besieged by argumentation and petty disputes due to weak leadership, and I know first-hand the havoc wreaked by colleagues butting heads in a work environment. The greatest causes of such breakdowns occur from the absence of trust among team members, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and the inattention to results.2 Each of these can lead easily to another, and the team’s project might be at risk from such dysfunctional relationships. “Understanding each of the team dysfunctions and exploring ways to overcome them (i.e., focusing on achieving the opposite of each dysfunction) is a great test to one’s leadership skills. An effective leader assesses the team’s weaknesses, what team dysfunctions exist within the team, the causes of the dysfunctions, and apply ways to overcome the dysfunctions to improve team performance.”2
Kumar, V. S. (2009). Essential leadership skills for project managers. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2009—North America, Orlando, FL. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. Retrieved at https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/essential-leadership-skills-project-managers-6699
Maron, L. Nancy and Loy, Matthew. (June 2011). Find for Sustainability: Practices Influence the Future of Digital Resources. JISC. https://sr.ithaka.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Fundin