Mgmt 302 – Organizational Leadership & Team Dynamics – Fall 2013 – Pg. 5

Thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 302 Class – Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan

Posts From Students:

Sean O’Rourke –  Jayone Troutman –  Tyler Nelson –  Kristina Thayer –  William Steele –  Courtney Johnson – Patrick Sheldon

I Believe Communication Is Key

            My vision of leadership would be that as a leader it is key to lead by example. What I mean by this is that as leader one would want his or her employees to know that the leader is putting in just as much work as everyone else. A leader should be the first to arrive and that the last one to leave every day, and I think this would create an environment where everyone would want to work hard for their leader and each other. I believe that this kind of leadership would promote an atmosphere where everyone would be motivated to make sure all tasks would be completed.

I believe that in order to be a good leader it is key to have strong communication with all subordinates, I would instill a participative style of leadership for the most part. I would want all of my employees to feel comfortable with me and be able to express all of their concerns with me as well. I would make sure that they are all aware of their assignments and make sure that everything is clear because I know that is what I would personally want. I would also make sure that everyone is held accountable because if one team member does not do his or her job then everything falls apart. I would want an environment where everyone trusts each other and all members want to work for each other.

I feel that through the course of this year I have changed a lot about how I would become a leader, I think I have become more open minded and working with so many different types of people I want to know how everyone feels and what their opinions are as well. I understand that with every decision not everyone will be able to be in full agreement but I would at least want to know where everyone stands in the matter. I think that in order to be a fully functional team and to be the most productive it is important for all ideas to be shared, because that is when the team can be most creative and great things can be accomplished.

I have changed my mind on to what style of a leader I want to be, earlier in the year I wanted to be more of a directive style but now I feel I have grown and the style that would better suit is the participative style. The reason that I feel that this style better suits me is due to the fact that I enjoy being on a team and I want to know how everyone feels and I want them to know that we are all in this together. I do not want them to feel threatened by me; I just want to have their respect. I believe that this type of leadership would promote communication within the team the best and that would result in a highly efficient work environment.

 – – – Sean O’Rourke, Alta Loma, Ca.

I Believe In Whatever It Takes

                Becoming a good leader is simply just being influential enough that people listen to you. If you can get people to follow then you can lead. Then comes what separates good leaders from great ones. The success of what you are trying to do. No one ever gets people to follow them just because. There has to be something behind them driving them to push others. I believe, whether it is good intentions or not, if your mission is successful you are a good leader. Some people may not like it, but the goal is all that matters. You can hold your followers hands and be as nice as possible but if nothing gets done, you have failed. My strongest belief is that failure is not an option.

In this class I have learned a lot about methods of leading. One of the most important things I feel was to be flexible. Lead in a way that is adaptable to the situation. If the situation calls for you to be nice then be nice. It is not selling out, it is doing what it takes. So one day when I am the head of a major company and I am leading people I know to adapt to the situation so that my mission can be over achieved.

It is easy to try to mimic others when it comes to leading. It easy to do what we see drill sergeants do on TV that gets people motivated. Granted, that style of leadership may work for some people, but not everyone is suited for this. So becoming yourself will help you maximize your potential to get the best leader in you out. I believe that everyone has leadership traits of some sort. It is all about taking your positives and negatives and working them into success.

Coming into this class I was one track minded as far as leadership. My goal was to assert my authority and anyone who doesn’t like it will have to deal with it. Now I see that being flexible when it comes to leading will work out well for everyone involved. As long as everyone involved is working toward a common goal. Then success is possible.

– – – Jayone Troutman, Chicago, Il.

Judging Before Knowing

 I believe that you should never judge something or someone until you really get to know them or work with them.  When the first day of class came we were instructed that we were going to be put into teams.  By the second day of class we were already in our teams and then forced to sit together.  I had always enjoyed working in teams in high school but grew to hate being in teams upon entering college four years ago.  My experience with collegiate teams in the classroom all started my freshman year in my English class.  We were divided up and told to do a paper, project, and a skit for the final exam.  At first we were excited because the final exam would be a group effort, but as the weeks fell off the calendar the team grew further apart and it finally resulted in me and another person doing the final exam and carrying the other three across the finish line.  While that is only one example there were other reasons why I was hesitant about joining this team.  At first I thought to myself that another team member and I would be carrying this team through the semester, just as I had in every class before, and I am happy to say that I was wrong.  The team that I worked with was not self-centered and cared about the group as a whole.  Individual leadership was clearly the model of the group.

To me leadership is being able to take responsibility (even if you have a sole leader) of yourself and being able to complete your work to the best that it can be, and then extending a helping hand to someone else in the group.  That is what team five was able to do.  Everyone in the group was their own leader and also a leader of the team.  No one was the “Sole Leader” even though we had an OM.  This was different because for the first time during my collegiate career I was working with a functional team.  Being with this team not only made me understand the content of the class better and learn, but also help me become a better student and I feel a better teammate/co-leader.  The reason for that is simple; I learned how to manage a team by working in a team.  To control a team, it is not about becoming a dictator (as we would do in the past with other classes), it is about allowing everyone to be their leader.  The way that is doing is be setting guidelines for the team, and then letting the individual co-leaders police themselves along the way.  I entered the class thinking that I was going to be on another failing team, but will be leaving the class knowing that teams can work if done correctly.

 – – – Tyler Nelson – Grand Rapids, Mi.

I Believe in Leadership

            I believe in lots of things.  I believe in doing things for others and being the best you can be.  However, I never thought about believing in yourself as a leader until I took this class.

I believe being a good leader is not only making sure the task is done right, but also being a role model, an inspiration, and a friend.  To me, being a good leader is about the social aspect of it.  In order to be a good leader and looked up to, you need to make connections with people.  My vision of a good leader is people want to know that you are someone they can trust and feel comfortable around.  They want someone who is real; they don’t want someone who just cares about the job.  They want to know that they are cared about as well.

I learned in this class what kind of a leader I would be, and that I should believe in becoming a better leader as time goes on.  I learned what I like in leaders and what I don’t.  I also learned that everyone is different, and sometimes you just have to accept that fact.  This class had an underlying lesson about life.  All of the activities helped us learn what kind of leader we are, but it taught me little lessons about life too.  It showed that everyone is different and sometimes they are the way they are because that is their personality type.  It really makes you understand why people do certain things.

I have learned so much about the others and myself in my group that will help me in so many different aspects of my life.  If you do not know what your strengths and weaknesses are, life is going to be hard.  When you know these things about yourself, you can learn what things can help you with your weaknesses and what resources are available to you to make it better.  This makes life so much easier.  You need to know these things about yourself.

I will take what I have learned to become a better leader by just applying it in my everyday life.  By practice, it can only help you become better.  I think this is the best way to take what I have learned and become better at it.  Just by knowing what kind of a leader I am also helps me become a better one because I am aware of my style and maybe certain things I can improve on.

             – – Kristina Thayer, Big Rapids, Mi.

I Believe Everyone Can Lead

            I believe everyone can lead. It just takes the right situation and time for that person to shine and be viewed as a leader. My vision of leadership is someone who can also follow, as well as train the people who are following them to be great leaders and to continue to challenge themselves to want to get better. It isn’t necessarily the strongest, fastest, or smartest but I feel that what makes a great leader is their will. It’s their will to continue to carry the load of having a following of people on their shoulders and be the leading voice of their mission and continue to strive for greatness. I always considered myself to be a leader and I said a great leader is a great follower. This course definitely taught me to look at different parts to contribute to having a successful team and how to be an efficient leader. Now that I have learned of ways to be a better leader it is now my duty to apply it in a business setting. To remember about ways that teams can make decisions and or how to handle issues that will arise while working in a group.

I believe I am becoming myself in the process of becoming a leader because I am gaining a better insight of who I am as a person. I’m learning my leading style by actually thinking about the things I like and how to manage myself and people like me. My confidence has grown which is very essential in just my own personal development in general because that is what college is for. Have not changed my mind set as to what my leadership style should be. I believe the style I chose works and my teams are effective. I actually would say that my style is a mixture of some styles. I believe I have the correct balance on being able to handle to the task and social aspects that contribute to the success of teams and still get our goal accomplished.

I also believe that at times people think just do things to get the title of the leader. The most important part of the leader and follower relationship is the followers. You can have all the ideas in the world and have plans thought out but if no one follows you, your work will go in vein. Some people think that the only way you can make a difference is by being a leader and I don’t believe so. The strength of the leader comes from the people they lead so they are the ones who are most important.

– – – -William Steele, Big Rapids, Mi

I Believe that Everyone Bakes a Unique Leadership Concoction

When the Cheboygan County Fair rolls around each year, the LaHaies and Beethems make a trip to town. They don’t show up to watch the tractor pull nor to play a game on the fairway, but rather to enter the pie baking contest and fight over who has the best apple pie recipe in the county. Each family will swear there is a secret ingredient, not to be revealed to anyone, that makes their pie the greatest. While a general consensus on tastiness may be reached, it comes down to the ingredients the baker uses and the likes and dislikes of the one tasting the sweet dish. The winner varies each year by these standards and just as the war between the Smiths and Jones wages on forever so does the bake off between LaHaies and Beethems. The truth is that the best apple pie recipe, the secret to success, or even the key to happiness is unique to each and every person.

In the past few months, I have gone on a personal search for the ingredients of great leadership. Aided by a management course and a new job, I have come to some solid conclusions. What I have found has both surprised and reassured me. On a daily basis my new employer, Andrew Archer, reminds me to be louder, have more immediacy, and to be increasingly more aggressive. He claims that I will not be able to own a business if I don’t show others that my time is valuable and rank the needs of others according to my own. During the first couple months of my search, the concepts I was learning and my strong knack toward servant leadership portrayed through various studies in the management course continually confirmed Andrew’s ideas. The real surprise came when I refused to believe the surveys and my employer’s words. Being a more passive individual, this was uncharacteristic, but I could see that my peers were following me and growing in number. Both in school and work, more and more individuals looked to me for guidance and support. While Andrew chooses a more rugged leadership style, it does not suit me. In conclusion I have found that my leadership skills are most certainly different, but they are not wrong. I have found what works for me and will strive to better myself on a track catered specifically to my goals. Only with the proper rates of the items I find key to leadership success, will I truly be successful. The ingredients I find essential in a leadership role are honesty, ambition, and respect.

Honesty is a trait listed by others as being essential in nearly every task in life. A term that was new to me, yet I have found very applicable is that of transparency. In the workplace, employees are asked to be transparent. The concept makes a great deal of sense. When both employees and their leader are transparent, nothing is hidden. Honesty and integrity eliminate many fears, build trust and aid with forward progress. I believe in being honest and forthright in all that I do and especially as a leader.

Ambition and passion are of great importance to maintain positive effort on a project over a span of time. One has to believe in a goal in order to convince others it is worthwhile. I attended my elementary through high school career with a boy named Edward LaLonde. His parents were unsupportive and he struggled through school, dropping out in 11th grade.  I remember looking at him from across the jungle gym at West Side Elementary with a silly schoolgirl grin on my face. He was my first crush. Now before I get too off track, the point to my story is that although he did poorly on most any subject, he thrived when it came to fifth grade Science. In fifth grade science we studied volcanoes. He was passionate about volcanoes and so it was effortless for him to read and learn as much as he could about them. While performing tasks that one is passionate about is not completely effortless, it makes that job much easier. Personal reward seems greater when passion is involved. While everyone must perform tasks that are unlikeable, having to be part of a larger project for which we are ambitious about makes it worthwhile.

Respect is an ingredient that is slightly more difficult to scoop out of a bag and stir into a concoction. Respect must be earned and is based on many character traits. Leading by example is the prime way I attempt to earn the respect of others. In this way, followers learn that I do not view them as beneath me, I am not assigning them a task I would not perform myself and that we are part of a team working toward a common goal. Honesty and integrity tie into respect in a tight knit fashion. They all grow over time, not overnight. If allowed to bake for some time, they come out of the oven as a delicious dish. While my strengths are not in instilling fear in others, nor do I believe in leading in this way, respect has served me well as an alternative.

While I used to fight hard to change the person I am, to be louder and more aggressive, I have now accepted who I am and apply it as a leader and nearly every other aspect of my life. For me, a great leader is made with a scoop of honesty, a heaping spoonful of ambition, and a cup of respect. The proper measurements of these ingredients result in an ideal concoction every time. If I were to ask Mrs. LaHaie or Mrs. Beethem what ingredients make up a true leader I can assure you their answers would vary along with their competitive crusts and dashes of dirty looks. I certainly will not be one to tell them they are incorrect for I believe the recipe for a successful leader is unique to each and every person. The trick is finding out what your personal strengths and weaknesses are and accepting that, through proper application, you too will be a great leader.

– – – Courtney Johnson, Big Rapids, Mi.

Sheldon’s I Believe Analysis

I believe that this course has allowed me to strengthen my leadership abilities in a group setting. My vision of leadership is set from a number of variables. There are leaders in groups that set themselves apart from the day groups or teams are assigned. The beneficial characteristics of a leader may change throughout the tenure of ones stay in the team/group/company. I believe that there are certain stereotypical traits people are drawn to when seeking a leader. It is to my belief that initially people are drawn to people with certain innate characteristics such as height, the ability to be involved with things other than one’s self, and intelligence. I believe that people who only obtain these traits do not make them the best leaders. However, I consider those to be an attraction which draws followers to people but the best leaders have different abilities. Communication is what I am referring to, in time it is the process of how your communication skills develop. Throughout the tenure of ones time in a position there is this development of this leadership. The traits that I believe set individuals apart are their want to be informed, seeking others’ opinions, sparking new ideas, and being strong willed but not rigid.

For me to look at my own abilities it is tougher than I thought. This semester I was given the tools to look at myself to see what kind of leader I am. There are things in the future I could use to help design wide-ranging leadership programs. I am referring to the skills approach. This will help to teach me important aspects of listening, creative problem solving, and conflict resolution skills.

I believe that there are many variables when it comes to choosing what leadership styles is the best. I believe that people should always be developing their leadership around the people that follow them. It is important to me that the leader make the final decision on the “what and how” of goal accomplishment, this sets up accountability on the leader. I believe that the best leadership style is coaching. To me there is no better leader than a coach. That is not the just of it though. The coaching style allows the leader to be involved with his/her subordinates through giving encouragement and lobbying for their input.

– – – Patrick Sheldon, Big Rapids, Mi.

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