Three levels of leadership model (Scouller)

Dec 07, 2015

Scouller’s three levels of leadership theory was created in 2011, therefore it is quite a modern theory. The model aims to show that if leaders wish to be effective in what they do, they must work on all three levels.

The three levels are public, private and personal leadership. The model is intended as a tool for developing leadership traits and skills, a good leader mustn’t just be a great leader to their group, but to their selfs as well. 

Three levels of Leadership 

Scouller said that personal is the most important and is the foundation to a good leader, without a good foundation the rest fails.He also compared this model to dropping a pebble in water; “The pebble represents inner, personal leadership and the ripples the two outer levels. Helpful inner change and growth will affect outer leadership positively. Negative inner change will cause the opposite.” (Scouller, 2011).


Public Leadership

This sector refers to when a leader interacts with a group of people and includes 34 types of behaviours, grouped into 5 categories: 

 -Setting the vision (4 behaviours)

-Organising and delegating tasks or power to others (2 behaviours)

-Problem solving, decision making and idea creation (10 behaviours)

-Execution (6 behaviours)

-Group building and maintenance (12 behaviours)


Private Leadership

Scouller said private leadership concerns the leader’s ability to handle individuals on a one-to-one basis. Although a group has a sense of unity and cohesion, groups are composed of individuals and each individual must be treated with due respect because each person will have different levels of knowledge, confidence, experience and motivation. 

There are 14 private leadership behaviours, grouped into 2 categories:

 -Individual purpose and task such as appraising, disciplining, goal setting. (5 behaviours)

-Individual building and maintenance such as knowledge, building relationships, attracting new tallent (9 behaviours)


Personal Leadership

This is recognised as the most important sector because personal leadership will affect the leader’s technical, psychological and moral development, along with the impact one makes on others.

 Personal development has 3 elements:

1. Technical knowhow and skill

This is about knowing ones technical strengths and weaknesses, then acting to build upon the weaknesses to turn them into strengths. Scouller suggested that the three areas all leaders should learn: time management, group and individual psychology. Scouller also stated that a leader should have these 6 skills: group problem-solving and planning, group decision making, interpersonal ability, managing group process, assertiveness and goal setting.

 2. Attitude towards others

A leader’s attitude must be developed in order to maintain relationships within the group to achieve the common vision or goal. This serves a moral and practical side because it will influence respect, trust and motivation. Scouller outlined 5 characteristics of the ‘right attitude’: Inter-dependance, appreciation, caring, service and balance.


3. Self-Mastery

This is working on self-awareness and flexible command of your psyche, enabling you to let go of limiting beliefs and previous habits, connect with your current values, let your leadership presence flow and act authentically in the service of those you lead.


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