Kurt Lewin, who died in 1947, was one of the pioneers of social, organizational and applied psychology. He was one of the first people to study group dynamics and organizational development. What is most interesting about his work is his study of leadership. If you’ve ever worked for a mercurial leader, one whose mood you couldn’t predict, then Kurt’s work goes a long way to explain that person’s behaviour.

According to Lewin, behaviour is a function of the person in their environment. What this means to say is that if you take one person in one environment it is likely that he or she will behave differently in a different environment. This has a few implications at work:

  • A boss you like at one workplace isn’t necessarily going to be the same boss at the next workplace and that following him or her to a new workplace might be an error.
  • If also means that a person who is successful in one environment isn’t necessarily going to be successful in another.
  • In addition, if an environment changes, you may have to look for a different leader, one who can function more effectively in the new environment.

If you’re finding that your behaviour at work is changing (for the worse) then you may be better off finding a new environment that fits your behaviour style better. Ask yourself; In which environments are you successful and in which ones do you fail? Don’t just search for the right job, search as well for the right environment.