Leadership as an Equation.

By Shawn P. Quigley

Leadership Behavioral Equation (as if it were that easy)

We have previously discussed there is no single model that can capture leadership and management in all instances.  However, we can extract some major principles that are required for success.  With that in mind, let us dive into Kurt Lewin’s behavior equation.

B = f (P, E): where B is behavior, P is person, and E is environment. (Lewin, 1936)

This should clear up all our questions about leadership and personnel and professional development, right?  Let us further dissect Lewin’s equation.

If we say that P = f (Exp) (MM) (A): where Exp is the individual’s personnel experiences, MM is the Mental Model of the individual, and A is the individual’s Attitude.

And then we say that E= f (P2) (GB+GTX) (WC): where P2 is other people influences, GB is Group Behavior, GT is Group Think (X is the number of people in the group), and WC is the actual working conditions.

Having stated all this we can now modify Lewin’s equation to be:

B= f {f (Exp) (MM) (A)} {f (P2) (GB+GTX) (WC)}

Now we can further break down some of the person portion of the equation if we assume:

1.)  Mental model is a function of experience (Exp), attitude (A) , and desire to learn (DL):

MM= f (Exp) (A) (DL)

2.)  Attitude is a function of experience (Exp), environment (E), and treatment (T):

A= f (Exp) (A) (T)

Therefore we can say: B= f {f (Exp) {(Exp) (A) (DL)} {(Exp) (A) (T)} {f (P2) (GB+GTX) (WC)}

Or B= f {(Exp3) (A2) (DL) (T)} {f (P2) (GB+GTX) (WC)}

So thus far, we could surmise that behavior is predominately experience and attitude. What if we go further? Without going through some more equations, we can all agree that the way people respond to group behavior and groupthink is based mainly upon experience and attitude as well. This would only further assert that experience and attitude are predominating.

Experience is a long-term item and therefore we will call that a slowly sloping curve. However, attitude is a rapid response item; a log-rhythmic curve. It is directly tied to treatment in that one changes directly proportional to the other. Having said this, we can conclude that for a rapid change, we should focus on improving the treatment (perceived or real) of our personnel, but for the long haul, we should focus on developing good experiences for our people.

This I am sure clears up any questions you may have had about leadership, Right? This is why people have studied what makes a good leader and why they are successful for so long. There is no simple answer, but there are commonalities. Most of which we can gather from the equations above.

Lewin, K. (1936). Principles of Topological Psychoogy. In K. Lewin, Principles of Topological Psychoogy.New York: McGraw-Hill.

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