Leadership Theories – Three Levels of Leadership model

Leadership Theories – The Three Levels of Leadership Model

Advice from Wendy Smith. Wendy is a Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on life and your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

Three Levels of Leadership

Leadership theories abound. The Three Levels of Leadership model was introduced in a 2011 book; The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Know-how and Skill, by James Scouller.

This leadership model is designed as a practical tool for developing a person’s Leadership theoriesleadership presence. Plus, as well as, their know-how and skill. It summarises what leaders need to do. This is not only to bring leadership to their group or organisation. But also to develop themselves as leaders.

The Three Levels of Leadership model combines the strengths of older leadership theories. These include the traits, behavioural/styles, situational and functional models.  It addresses their limitations. And, it offers a foundation for leaders who want to apply the philosophies of servant-leadership. Hence, it is for those who are committed to “authentic leadership”.

This approach is often classified as an “Integrated Psychological” theory of leadership. And it is sometimes known as the 3P model. The three Ps stand for Public, Private and Personal leadership.

The first two levels – public and private leadership

The first two levels, public and private leadership, are “outer” or “behavioural” levels. Scouller distinguishes between influencing two or more people at the same time. This is what he calls “public leadership.” It is distinguished from selecting and influence individuals one to one. Therefore, influencing people one to one he calls private leadership.

So, he lists 34 distinct “public leadership” behaviours.

The third level – personal leadership

The third level is personal leadership. This is an “inner” level. And it concerns a person’s leadership presence, know-how, skills, beliefs. It includes their emotions and unconscious habits.

At its heart is the leader’s self-awareness, his progress toward self-mastery and technical competence, and his sense of connection with those around him. It’s the inner core, the source, of a leader’s outer leadership effectiveness.” (Scouller, 2011).

Therefore, he lists 14 “private leadership” behaviours.

Finally, the idea is that if leaders want to be effective they must work on all three levels in parallel.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in helping people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. She has worked in management as well as coaching and personal development, as well as starting up her own businesses. That means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up a new business or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link


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