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The Three Levels of Leadership is a leadership model formulated in 2011 by James Scouller.Designed as a practical tool for developing a person's leadership presence, knowhow and skill, it aims to summarize what leaders have to do, not only to bring leadership to their group or organization, but also to develop themselves technically and psychologically as leaders. It has been classified as an "integrated psychological" theory of leadership. It is sometimes known as the 3P model of leadership (the three Ps standing for Public, Private and Personal leadership).
Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual or organization to "lead" or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. Specialist literature debates various viewpoints, contrasting Eastern and Western approaches to leadership, and also United States versus European approaches. U.S. academic environments define leadership as "a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task".
The Three Levels of Leadership model attempts to combine the strengths of older leadership theories (i.e. traits, behavioral/styles, situational, functional) while addressing their limitations and, at the same time, offering a foundation for leaders wanting to apply the philosophies of servant leadership and "authentic leadership".
Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. This is different from traditional leadership where the leader's main focus is the thriving of their company or organizations. A Servant Leader shares power, puts the needs of the employees first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Servant leadership inverts the norm, which puts the customer service associates as a main priority. Instead of the people working to serve the leader, the leader exists to serve the people. As stated by its founder, Robert K. Greenleaf, a Servant Leader should be focused on "Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?" When leaders shift their mindset and serve first, they benefit as well as their employees in that. Their employees acquire personal growth, while the organization grows as well due to the employees growing commitment and engagement. Since this leadership style came about, a number of different organizations have adopted this style as their way of leadership. According to a study done by Sen Sendjaya and James C Sarros, Servant Leadership is being practiced in some of the top ranking companies today, and these companies are highly ranked because of their leadership style and following.
Authentic leadership is an approach to leadership that emphasizes building the leader’s legitimacy through honest relationships with followers which value their input and are built on an ethical foundation. Generally, authentic leaders are positive people with truthful self-concepts who promote openness. By building trust and generating enthusiastic support from their subordinates, authentic leaders are able to improve individual and team performance. This approach has been fully embraced by many leaders and leadership coaches who view authentic leadership as an alternative to leaders who emphasize profit and share price over people and ethics. Authentic leadership is a growing area of study in academic research on leadership which has recently grown from obscurity to the beginnings of a fully mature concept. That said, many foundational papers on this topic have recently been retracted or called into question because of issues surrounding the reporting of data and the inability of the authors to produce their original data.
In reviewing the older leadership theories, Scouller highlighted certain limitations in relation to the development of a leader's skill and effectiveness:
In psychology, trait theory is an approach to the study of human personality. Trait theorists are primarily interested in the measurement of traits, which can be defined as habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion. According to this perspective, traits are aspects of personality that are relatively stable over time, differ across individuals, are relatively consistent over situations, and influence behavior. Traits are in contrast to states, which are more transitory dispositions.
The managerial grid model (1964) is a style leadership model developed by Robert R. Blake and Jane Mouton.
Situational Leadership Theory, or the Situational Leadership Model, is a model created by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, developed while working on Management of Organizational Behavior. The theory was first introduced as "life cycle theory of leadership". During the mid-1970s, life cycle theory of leadership was renamed "Situational Leadership Theory."
The section at the start of this page discussed the older theories' potential limitations. The table below explains how the Three Levels of Leadership model tries to address them.
|Theory||Limitations||How three levels model addresses them|
The three levels referred to in the model's name are Public, Private and Personal leadership. The model is usually presented in diagram form as three concentric circles and four outwardly directed arrows, with personal leadership in the center.
The idea is that if leaders want to be effective they must work on all three levels in parallel.
The two outer levels – public and private leadership – are what the leader must do behaviorally with individuals or groups to address the "four dimensions of leadership" (Scouller 2011). These are:
The inner level – personal leadership – refers to what leaders should do to grow their leadership presence, knowhow and skill. It has three aspects:
Scouller argued that self-mastery is the key to growing one's leadership presence, building trusting relationships with followers and enabling behavioral flexibility as circumstances change, while staying connected to one's core values (that is, while remaining authentic). To support leaders' development, he introduced a new model of the human psyche and outlined the principles and techniques of self-mastery (Scouller 2011).
The assumption in this model is that personal leadership is the most powerful of the three levels. Scouller likened its effect to dropping a pebble in a pond and seeing the ripples spreading out from the center – hence the four arrows pointing outward in the diagram. "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 refers to the actions or behaviors that leaders take to influence two or more people simultaneously – perhaps in a meeting or when addressing a large group. Public leadership is directed towards (1) setting and agreeing a motivating vision or future for the group or organization to ensure unity of purpose; (2) creating positive peer pressure towards shared, high performance standards and an atmosphere of trust and team spirit; and (3) driving successful collective action and results. Public leadership therefore serves the first three dimensions of leadership mentioned in the overview section.
There are 34 distinct public leadership behaviors (Scouller, 2011), which break out as follows:
Leaders need to balance their time between the 22 vision/planning/thinking/execution behaviors and the 12 group building/maintenance behaviors.
According to the Three Levels of Leadership model, the key to widening one's repertoire of public leadership behaviors (and the skill with which they are performed) is attention to personal leadership.
Private leadership concerns the leader's one-to-one handling of individuals (which is the fourth of Scouller's four dimensions of leadership). Although leadership involves creating a sense of group unity, groups are composed of individuals and they vary in their ambitions, confidence, experience and psychological make-up. Therefore, they have to be treated as individuals – hence the importance of personal leadership. There are 14 private leadership behaviors (Scouller, 2011):
Some people experience the powerful conversations demanded by private leadership (e.g. performance appraisals) as uncomfortable. Consequently, leaders may avoid some of the private leadership behaviors (Scouller, 2011), which reduces their leadership effectiveness. Scouller argued that the intimacy of private leadership leads to avoidance behavior either because of a lack of skill or because of negative self-image beliefs that give rise to powerful fears of what may happen in such encounters. This is why personal leadership is so important in improving a leader's one-to-one skill and reducing his or her interpersonal fears.
Personal leadership addresses the leader's technical, psychological and moral development and its impact on his or her leadership presence, skill and behavior. It is, essentially, the key to making the theory of the two outer behavioral levels practical. Scouller went further in suggesting (in the preface of his book, The Three Levels of Leadership), that personal leadership is the answer to what Jim Collins called "the inner development of a person to level 5 leadership" in the book Good to Great – something that Collins admitted he was unable to explain.
Personal leadership has three elements: (1) technical knowhow and skill; (2) the right attitude towards other people; and (3) psychological self-mastery.
The first element, Technical Knowhow and Skill, is about knowing one's technical weaknesses and taking action to update one's knowledge and skills. Scouller (2011) suggested that there are three areas of knowhow that all leaders should learn: time management, individual psychology and group psychology. He also described the six sets of skills that underlie the public and private leadership behaviors: (1) group problem-solving and planning; (2) group decision-making; (3) interpersonal ability, which has a strong overlap with emotional intelligence (4) managing group process; (5) assertiveness; (6) goal-setting.
The second element, Attitude Toward Others, is about developing the right attitude toward colleagues in order to maintain the leader's relationships throughout the group's journey to its shared vision or goal. The right attitude is to believe that other people are as important as oneself and see leadership as an act of service (Scouller, 2011). Although there is a moral aspect to this, there is also a practical side – for a leader's attitude and behavior toward others will largely influence how much they respect and trust that person and want to work with him or her. Scouller outlined the five parts of the right attitude toward others: (1) interdependence (2) appreciation (3) caring (4) service (5) balance. The two keys, he suggested, to developing these five aspects are to ensure that:
The third element of personal leadership is Self-Mastery. It emphasizes self-awareness and flexible command of one's mind, which allows the leader to let go of previously unconscious limiting beliefs and their associated defensive habits (like avoiding powerful conversations, e.g. appraisal discussions). It also enables leaders to connect more strongly with their values, let their leadership presence flow and act authentically in serving those they lead.
Because self-mastery is a psychological process, Scouller proposed a new model of the human psyche to support its practice. In addition, he outlined the principles of – and obstacles to – personal change and proposed six self-mastery techniques, which include mindfulness meditation.
The importance and development of leadership presence is a central feature of the Three Levels of Leadership model. Scouller suggested that it takes more than the right knowhow, skills and behaviors to lead well – that it also demands "presence". Presence has been summed up in this way:
"What is presence? At its root, it is wholeness – the rare but attainable inner alignment of self-identity, purpose and feelings that eventually leads to freedom from fear. It reveals itself as the magnetic, radiating effect you have on others when you're being the authentic you, giving them your full respect and attention, speaking honestly and letting your unique character traits flow. As leaders, we must be technically competent to gain others' respect, but it's our unique genuine presence that inspires people and prompts them to trust us – in short, to want us as their leader." (Scouller, 2011.)
In the Three Levels of Leadership model, "presence" is not the same as "charisma". Scouller argued that leaders can be charismatic by relying on a job title, fame, skillful acting or by the projection of an aura of "specialness" by followers – whereas presence is something deeper, more authentic, more fundamental and more powerful and does not depend on social status. He contrasted the mental and moral resilience of a person with real presence with the susceptibility to pressure and immoral actions of someone whose charisma rests only on acting skills (and the power their followers give them), not their true inner qualities.
Scouller also suggested that each person's authentic presence is unique and outlined seven qualities of presence: (1) personal power – command over one's thoughts, feelings and actions; (2) high, real self-esteem; (3) the drive to be more, to learn, to grow; (4) a balance of an energetic sense of purpose with a concern for the service of others and respect for their free will; (5) intuition; (6) being in the now; (7) inner peace of mind and a sense of fulfillment.
Presence, according to this model, is developed by practicing personal leadership.
True leadership presence is, as Scouller defines it, synonymous with authenticity (being genuine and expressing one's highest values) and an attitude of service towards those being led. So in proposing self-mastery and cultivation of the right attitude toward others as a method of developing leadership presence, his model offers a "how to" counterpart to the ideas of "authentic leadership" and servant leadership.
Most traditional theories of leadership explicitly or implicitly promote the idea of the leader as the admired hero – the person with all the answers that people want to follow. The Three Levels of Leadership model shifts away from this view. It does not reject the possibility of an impressive heroic leader, but it promotes the idea that this is only one way of leading (and, indeed, following) and that shared leadership is more realistic.
This view stems from Scouller's position that leadership is a process, "a series of choices and actions around defining and achieving a goal". Therefore, in his view, "leadership is a practical challenge that's bigger than the leader." He pointed out the danger of confusing "leadership" with the role of "leader". As other authors such as John Adair have pointed out, leadership does not have to rely on one person because anyone in a group can exert leadership. Scouller went further to suggest that "not only can others exert leadership; they must exert it at times if a group is to be successful." In other words, he believed that shared rather than solo leadership is not an idealistic aspiration; it is a matter of practicality. He suggested three reasons for this:
Now, potentially, this leaves the leader's role unclear – after all, if anyone in a group can lead, what is the distinct purpose of the leader? Scouller said this of the leader's role: "The purpose of a leader is to make sure there is leadership … to ensure that all four dimensions of leadership are [being addressed]." The four dimensions being: (1) a shared, motivating group purpose or vision (2) action, progress and results (3) collective unity or team spirit (4) attention to individuals. For example, the leader has to ensure that there is a motivating vision or goal, but that does not mean he or she has to supply the vision on their own. That is certainly one way of leading, but it is not the only way; another way is to co-create the vision with one's colleagues.
This means that the leader can delegate, or share, part of the responsibility for leadership. However, the final responsibility for making sure that all four dimensions are covered still rests with the leader. So although leaders can let someone else lead in a particular situation, they cannot let go of responsibility to make sure there is leadership; so when the situation changes the leader must decide whether to take charge personally or pass situational responsibility to someone else.
One criticism of the Three Levels of Leadership model has been that it may be difficult for some leaders to use it as a guide to self-development without the assistance of a professional coach or psychotherapist at some point as many of its ideas around self-mastery are deeply psychological.
Industrial and organizational psychology, which is also known as occupational psychology, organizational psychology, and work and organizational psychology, is an applied discipline within psychology. I/O psychology is the science of human behaviour relating to work and applies psychological theories and principles to organizations and individuals in their places of work as well as the individual's work-life more generally. I/O psychologists are trained in the scientist–practitioner model. They contribute to an organization's success by improving the performance, motivation, job satisfaction, and occupational safety and health as well as the overall health and well-being of its employees. An I/O psychologist conducts research on employee behaviours and attitudes, and how these can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, feedback, and management systems.
Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and its variation among individuals. It is a scientific study which aims to show how people are individually different due to psychological forces. Its areas of focus include:
Psychology is an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of human mental functions and behavior. Occasionally, in addition or opposition to employing the scientific method, it also relies on symbolic interpretation and critical analysis, although these traditions have tended to be less pronounced than in other social sciences, such as sociology. Psychologists study phenomena such as perception, cognition, emotion, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Some, especially depth psychologists, also study the unconscious mind.
Leadership development expands the capacity of individuals to perform in leadership roles within organizations. Leadership roles are those that facilitate execution of a company’s strategy through building alignment, winning mindshare and growing the capabilities of others. Leadership roles may be formal, with the corresponding authority to make decisions and take responsibility, or they may be informal roles with little official authority.
Political psychology is an interdisciplinary academic field dedicated to understanding politics, politicians and political behavior from a psychological perspective. The relationship between politics and psychology is considered bi-directional, with psychology being used as a lens for understanding politics and politics being used as a lens for understanding psychology. As an interdisciplinary field, political psychology borrows from a wide range of other disciplines, including: anthropology, sociology, international relations, economics, philosophy, media, journalism and history.
Deindividuation is a concept in social psychology that is generally thought of as the loss of self-awareness in groups, although this is a matter of contention. Sociologists also study the phenomenon of deindividuation, but the level of analysis is somewhat different. For the social psychologist, the level of analysis is the individual in the context of a social situation. As such, social psychologists emphasize the role of internal psychological processes. Other social sciences, such as sociology, are more concerned with broad social, economic, political, and historical factors that influence events in a given society.
Fred Edward Fiedler was one of the leading researchers in industrial and organizational psychology of the 20th century. He helped shape psychology and was a leading psychologist.
Transformational leadership is a theory of leadership where a leader works with teams to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group; it is an integral part of the Full Range Leadership Model. Transformational leadership serves to enhance the motivation, morale, and job performance of followers through a variety of mechanisms; these include connecting the follower's sense of identity and self to a project and to the collective identity of the organization; being a role model for followers in order to inspire them and to raise their interest in the project; challenging followers to take greater ownership for their work, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of followers, allowing the leader to align followers with tasks that enhance their performance.
A toxic leader is a person who has responsibility over a group of people or an organization, and who abuses the leader–follower relationship by leaving the group or organization in a worse condition than when they first found them. The phrase was coined by Marcia Whicker in 1996 and is linked with a number of dysfunctional leadership styles. Other names include the little Hitler, manager from hell, the toxic boss, boss from hell or toxic manager. Their leadership style is both self-destructive and ultimately corporately harmful as they subvert and destroy organizational structures.
Social cognitive theory (SCT), used in psychology, education, and communication, holds that portions of an individual's knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences. This theory was advanced by Albert Bandura as an extension of his social learning theory. The theory states that when people observe a model performing a behavior and the consequences of that behavior, they remember the sequence of events and use this information to guide subsequent behaviors. Observing a model can also prompt the viewer to engage in behavior they already learned. In other words, people do not learn new behaviors solely by trying them and either succeeding or failing, but rather, the survival of humanity is dependent upon the replication of the actions of others. Depending on whether people are rewarded or punished for their behavior and the outcome of the behavior, the observer may choose to replicate behavior modeled. Media provides models for a vast array of people in many different environmental settings.
Social perception is the study of how people form impressions of and make inferences about other people as sovereign personalities. People learn about others' feelings and emotions by picking up information they gather from physical appearance, verbal, and nonverbal communication. Facial expressions, tone of voice, hand gestures, and body position or movement are a few examples of ways people communicate without words. A real-world example of social perception is understanding that others disagree with what one said when one sees them roll their eyes. There are four main components of social perception: observation, attribution, integration, and confirmation.
A team leader is someone who provides guidance, instruction, direction and leadership to a group of individuals for the purpose of achieving a key result or group of aligned results. The team leader monitors the quantitative and qualitative achievements of the team and reports results to a manager. The leader often works within the team, as a member, carrying out the same roles but with the additional 'leader' responsibilities - as opposed to higher level management which often has a separate job role altogether. In order for a team to function successfully, the team leader must also motivate the team to "use their knowledge and skills to achieve the shared goals.". When a team leader motivates a team, group members can function in a goal oriented manner. A "team leader" is also someone who has the capability to drive performance within a group of people. Team leaders utilize their expertise, their peers, influence, and/or creativeness to formulate an effective team.
Job performance assesses whether a person performs a job well. Job performance, studied academically as part of industrial and organizational psychology, also forms a part of human resources management. Performance is an important criterion for organizational outcomes and success. John P. Campbell describes job performance as an individual-level variable, or something a single person does. This differentiates it from more encompassing constructs such as organizational performance or national performance, which are higher-level variables.
The history of contingency theories of leadership goes back over more than 100 years, with foundational ideas rooted in the mechanical thought of Taylorism. Later, management science began to recognize the influence of sometimes irrational human perceptions on worker performance. This led to taxonomies of leadership behavior and to contingency theories to adapt leadership behavior to the situation. Taxonomies and contingencies are the roots of love leadership.
Goal orientation is an "individual disposition toward developing or validating one's ability in achievement settings". Previous research has examined goal orientation as a motivation variable useful for recruitment, climate and culture, performance appraisal, and selection. Studies have also used goal orientation to predict sales performance, goal setting, learning and adaptive behaviors in training, and leadership. Due to the many theoretical and practical applications of goal orientation, it is important to understand the construct and how it relates to other variables. In this entry, goal orientation will be reviewed in terms of its history, stability, dimensionality, antecedents, its relationship to goal setting and consequences, its relevance to motivation, and future directions for research.
The goal of leader development is "the expansion of the person's capacity to be effective in leadership roles and processes." The two central elements to this are:
Trait leadership is defined as integrated patterns of personal characteristics that reflect a range of individual differences and foster consistent leader effectiveness across a variety of group and organizational situations. The theory of trait leadership is developed from early leadership research which focused primarily on finding a group of heritable attributes that differentiate leaders from nonleaders. Leader effectiveness refers to the amount of influence a leader has on individual or group performance, followers’ satisfaction, and overall effectiveness. Many scholars have argued that leadership is unique to only a select number of individuals and that these individuals possess certain immutable traits that cannot be developed. Although this perspective has been criticized immensely over the past century, scholars still continue to study the effects of personality traits on leader effectiveness. Research has demonstrated that successful leaders differ from other people and possess certain core personality traits that significantly contribute to their success. Understanding the importance of these core personality traits that predict leader effectiveness can help organizations with their leader selection, training, and development practices.