Impetus360 leadership compass

The theoretical model

At the heart of Growth Spot is the impetus360 leadership model. This model is integrally based on Self-Determination Theory. The model was developed and validated in collaboration with the Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology of Ghent University to map out the variety of (de)motivating leadership behaviors in an integrative way.

The impetus360 leadership model depicts the interrelationship between different motivating and demotivating leadership styles in a two-dimensional model or circumplex.

  • The first dimension (on the X-axis: i.e., the horizontal axis) distinguishes between the extent to which a leader adopts a need-supportive style, as compared to a need thwarting style: does a leader nurture or undermine his employees’ ABC?
  • The second dimension (on the Y axis: i.e., vertical axis) distinguishes between the extent to which a leader is low, relative to high in directiveness: does a leader take the initiative or is (s)he more likely to leave it to the employees?

The impetus360 leadership model also offers a more fine-grained understanding of the style of leaders. Based on specific leadership behaviors or strategies that empirically cluster together, we distinguish eight different leadership styles, which are either more or less motivating.

This model allows us to see from a helicopter perspective how different leadership styles relate to each other and where specific (de)motivating leadership styles and strategies are located.

The model as a practical tool

The impetus360 leadership model serves as a compass that gives direction to organizations, leaders and teams to adopt a (more) motivating culture and approach.

Through the Growth Spot scan we map leadership and work experience, both from the perspective of the leader and from the perspective of the team. This development-oriented scan reveals strengths and growth opportunities in the leader and provides direction for interventions that effectively help unlock the leader’s potential. In the context of leadership development, the impetus360 leadership compass is used as a practical tool to analyze situations and set up alternative (more motivating) interventions. For each intended or implemented intervention, we ask where the leader’s style is situated on the compass and what the impact of that intervention is for the employee(s).

What does the impetus360 leadership compass have to offer?

The impetus360 leadership compass is…

The leadership model can reveal recognizable pitfalls in leadership and allows to find a constructive alternative in the overlying style. The compass provides guidance on what alternative interventions are available in situations that are running poorly. The model also shows that you can stand in one or more leadership styles depending on the situation.

The leadership model provides a number of distinctive building blocks for each motivating leadership style, whose motivating impact has been scientifically proven. These building blocks contribute to the practical applicability of the leadership compass because they provide a language to understand what is running smoothly, identify where there is room for growth and determine what concrete actions can be put in place.

The leadership model is used as a growth- and development-oriented tool to support and guide leaders and organizations in their professional development. It is therefore by no means an evaluative, but rather a reflective tool. Through a leadership scan, leaders can rate themselves on each leadership style in the compass. This allows them to reflect on the current degree of (de)motivating leadership (“Where am I today?”) and also exposes possible vulnerabilities and opportunities for growth. In addition, the perspective of employees can also be included so that any discrepancies between the perceptions of leaders and their employees can be revealed. In this way, the leadership compass acts as a mirror. It makes clear in a direct and accessible way that the intended leadership style is not necessarily perceived in the same way by employees. This provides starting points for leaders and organizations to shape their professional development trajectory.

The leadership model provides a useful tool for understanding, analyzing and explaining events within the organization. Although the compass is primarily used for leadership development, it is equally a useful tool for understanding and explaining how internal communication, change implementation, evaluation systems, etc. affect the ABC and the motivation of employees. As such, the model allows working from only one scientifically valid model for various topics.

Get started with the impetus360 leadership compass yourself

As the exclusive licensee of the impetus360 leadership compass, it is Impetus Academy’s duty to ensure that the impetus360 leadership compass is implemented in a scientifically correct and ethically sound manner.


During the Certified Growth Spot Professional training program, participants are taught the knowledge and skills to work with the impetus360 leadership model in a qualitative and scientifically sound way. In addition, the training offers various tools and materials to put the model into practice in training programs for leaders and their teams.


It is crucial that participants in the training program commit to applying the general terms and conditions on intellectual property and privacy laws (GDPR) at all times.


Following the training program means that certified professionals – subject to correct reference to the source and exclusively during the term of their license – can freely use the impetus360 leadership compass in their own training and coaching services.

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