Leadership Theories – The Three Levels of Leadership model

Scouller, J. The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Knowhow and Skill (2011)

Leadership Theories – The Three Levels of Leadership model

Three Levels of Leadership

The Three Levels of Leadership is a modern leadership model. It was introduced in a 2011 book, The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Know-how and Skill, by James Scouller. You can find a link to it below.

The model is designed as a practical tool for developing a person’s leadership presence, know-how and skill. It summarizes what leaders need to do, not only to bring leadership to their group or organization, but also to develop themselves as leaders.

The Three Levels of Leadership model combines the strengths of older leadership theories; for example, traits, behavioral/styles, situational, functional models; while addressing their limitations. It offers a foundation for leaders who want to apply the philosophies of servant leadership and are committed to “authentic leadership”.

It is often classified as an “Integrated Psychological” theory of leadership. And it is sometimes known as the 3P model of leadership (the three Ps standing 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 “behavioral” levels. Scouller distinguishes between the behaviors that are related to influencing two or more people at the same time, simultaneously. This is what he calls “public leadership” to distinguish it from the behavior needed to select and influence individuals one to one. Influencing people one to one he calls private leadership.

He lists 34 distinct “public leadership” behaviors.

The third level – personal leadership

The third level, personal leadership, is an “inner” level and concerns a person’s leadership presence, know-how, skills, beliefs, 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).

He lists 14 “private leadership” behaviors.

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

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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