MGMT 370 – QUALITY OPERATIONS – BIG RAPIDS – FALL 2013

Thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 370 Class – Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan

Posts From Students:

Paul Kolodziej –  Kevin Hathaway –  Allison Caister –  Anders Johnson –  Brittney Spencer –  Courtney Beck

I Believe Leadership Is Personal Development

                Leadership is a quality that every person possesses, however not every person shows it. Leadership is the ability of a person to analyze and assess a situation or problem then devise a solution given a specified amount of inputs or resources. The ability to analyze a situation or problem is the most crucial aspect of my definition of a leader. A good leader is able to discover and understand things that others may not. I believe that every person has the ability to analyze a situation or problem to a certain degree. People are forced to do this every day just by doing simple things such as crossing a busy street or managing tasks at work. However it is a true leader that is able to assess problems that have many factors or may involve complex interactions. It is also very important for a leader to understand the limitations they must face when creating solutions for a problem. Inherently no single business or person has unlimited resources; therefore all leaders must face the challenge of creating a solution that is within the means of the given inputs or limits. For instance a company that is involved in a manufactured good cannot absolutely ensure that every part made is good. This is because of the cost involved in inspecting every part, this can involve multiple independent inspections, and because of the cost it is not suitable as a solution. The ability to analyze a problem and create a feasible solution when others are unable to is my definition of great leadership skills.

I have learned many important skills related to marketing, location, human resources and logistics from this course. Within each of these topics was an underlying idea of how to manage people whom are performing tasks that I am personally unfamiliar with. I have learned that no one person is able to be an expert in all aspects of a business, therefore it is important to have good communication with people whom are more knowledgeable in areas I am not familiar with. It is crucial to have a strong trust between each person involved because of the lack of knowledge in all areas. Using myself as an example; I have a strong engineering background I am better suited to tackle issues involving processes, production and overall quality of the product being produced. I do not possess a deep understanding of marketing; therefore I would not be able to adequately assess the proper market to target to achieve desired sales. As a good leader it would be important to build a relationship of trust with a person who did have these skill sets to make informed decisions. A good leader is able to not only realize their personal strengths, but also their personal weaknesses and are then able to offset that with the knowledge others possess.

Becoming a good team leader is a process of learning and one’s own self-discovery. A good team leader does not attain any skills they did not already possess; instead they simply develop skills they already had. Becoming a good leader is really learning from experiences and interactions with many different types of personalities. Becoming a good leader is not something that can be easily taught out of a textbook; instead it is learned by doing. I have learned that the most important aspect to become a good leader is the people you choose to give responsibilities to. Furthermore it is not only about the people you choose, but it is also vital to motivate them. A person may be very skilled in a certain area, however if they are unmotivated to perform to the best of their ability they will produce a sub-standard level of work. Motivation is an important issue in many industries, for instance accounting. Although the accounting profession typically has a very lucrative compensation many people in the profession are dissatisfied with their overall job experience. It is a massive challenge to keep employees motivated with their jobs, this is one of the hardest challenges a good leader must face. However for as challenging as these skills may seem to be, they are skills every person already has, however they may not be fully developed yet.

My leadership skills have changed slightly by using these new skills. I still believe that the most important part in being a leader is the bond of trust developed within a group. As a leader I will continue to both challenge my team, as well as help them in areas which I have the ability to. I still believe that every person is able to see the greater good of the team by giving their best effort.

– – – Paul Kolodziej, Big Rapids, Mi.

I Believe That Leaders Are Born

            My vision on leadership correlates with the theme of our class. The theme basically states that, “The point is to become yourself…” I absolutely agree with that statement. Leadership is being who you are and having the ability to have people respect you. Yes, certain traits can be learned or improved for people to become better leaders but at the end of the day it comes down to the core human being. Leadership is more than directing and telling people what to do. It is being able to connect with the people you are leading and earning their respect so they can look to you as a leader.

I have been put in a leader position at a very young age. I was a supervisor at the age of eighteen and had employees that we thirty years older than me. At first, I wasn’t taken seriously and the others were angry that I was promoted. I understood that if I was in their position, I probably would’ve felt the same way. I didn’t try hard to have them like me or earn their approval, I was just myself. Two years later we had a new boss who tried to come in and change quite a few things and these employees, who just two years ago weren’t happy with me, were coming to me about all of the problems and saying they will do whatever to change them. I knew right then that I have had their respect for a while and it wasn’t because of age anymore but the person I was to them.

The main point is to be as honest with yourself and others as you can. Don’t try to be or act like others that have succeeded. Yes, you can look at their path to success and what they did but don’t try to duplicate them exactly. It is essential to become yourself because people will be able to see right through you. Some people are not meant to be leaders and there is nothing wrong with that. The people that follow are the ones that create the leader. If this world was made up of just leaders it would be much worse off than it is right now. At the end of the day, you just have to be yourself.

– – – Kevin Hathaway, Big Rapids, Mi.

I Believe That Leadership Comes in Many Forms

Leadership can be a scary word. It can trigger questions like “What if I let everyone down?” or “What if I don’t know the answer to every question?” As a quieter person these were always my thoughts when faced with a leadership position. I usually felt much more comfortable being a normal team player. Through past leadership positions, some of which were forced upon me, I have realized that the leader doesn’t always have to be the loudest or most vocal person. I realized that leadership comes in all forms.

Back when I was in high school I became the president of a small group that I was a part of. At first I tried replicating the behaviors of people that I thought at the time were great leaders. I tried to be encouraging but in a loud and enthusiastic way because that was what I thought leadership was about, but this just didn’t feel like me. And it also wasn’t effective. Later, I decided to spend more time just listening to what the other members had to say and working with them. Although this worked, I believed  that I wasn’t doing my job as a leader because I wasn’t controlling things.

Luckily I’ve come a long way since then and I now realize that my approach to that group actually was a form of leadership, and a good one at that! In the quote from Warren Bennis, he states ” …The point is to become yourself, and to use yourself completely – all your gifts, skills and energies – to make your vision manifest...” I think this is an excellent way to look at leadership because it says that everyone has something that makes them a great leader within themselves. Some people may be amazing communicators, others may be extraordinarily intelligent, and others still,  may be great at making new people feel welcome. And none of these approaches to leadership are better than any other! Even though it can take some time to discover, there is a leader inside of everyone just waiting for a chance to shine.

– – – Allison Caister, Big Rapids, Mi.

This I Believe

I believe that leadership is a capability that is attainable by all. Leadership comes easily to many, but not all. It is something that is a gift that many are born with, hence the name, natural born leaders. They have the charisma that many people gravitate to. Leadership is something that many people are drawn to. It is a natural instinct for people to look to leaders for guidance. If one aspires to be a leader, they have all the capabilities to be one. It just may not be as easy for them as it may be for others.

Throughout the course of the semester, I have learned how to be a better leader. Not by example, but by seeing what not to do. The leaders that I have witnessed have not been up to par. One example is the leader of my group for this management class. To be a team, we needed to have a good leader. We would need someone who would guide us in what we needed to complete throughout the semester. With the leader that we had, becoming a team was never an option. With a leader that showed a lack of motivation, the rest of our team had to figure everything out ourselves. From this, I can realize that being a leader is something that one must strive to be. They must be motivated themselves in order to motivate others.

I have always had an idea in my head of what a leader looks like and that has not changed. I believe that there are core values when it comes to leadership. Without these qualities I think that it is very hard to be a leader. I also believe that these qualities are well known by everyone. Studies have even been done to show that there are core qualities that leaders have.

With what I have learned this semester, I will take what I have learned from this group project and apply it to further team projects. I will try to be the best leader that I can in order to motivate my group. I realize that many people can be affected by a bad leader. It simply is not fair to be a bad leader.

Leadership is something that comes easy to some and not so easy to others. It is up to you to be the leader that you wish to be.

– – – Anders Johnson, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Leader Within Me

            I believe that a leader is something that can be found within each individual, but each individual needs to find the leader within themselves. A leader is someone that uses all their talents to guide, direct, and set examples to the potential leaders around them to become the best they can be. A leader needs to believe that anything is possible. They need to overlook and set an example, but give their peers enough so they can think for themselves.

I have learned that a leader doesn’t make an impact by just being present. The leader needs to be approachable, communicate, and become involved with the individuals a leader is leading. A leaders peers look up to the leader for guidance and reassurance. I will take what I have learned to become a better leader then I was before. I want to work on communicating the good and bad with my peers and to be approachable with any degree of problems. I have learned that good communication is an asset in my personal and career life. Problems cannot be solved without the right amount of communication. I want to help my peers secede and grow within the company because without improving your employees, the organization will not improve.

Throughout the process of becoming a better leader, I am becoming myself.  I am an outgoing individual and I have brought that outgoing quality of me into my leadership. I have learned that you can be a fun leader and be taken seriously.  Before this process I have felt that being strict is the only way to act to ensure that deadlines get completed and that was the leader I was before. After learning about leadership and what makes a good leader, I have learned that everyone enjoys a little fun in their lives. Fun doesn’t always mean that nothing will get completed if it’s the right fun. If the workplace is a fun environment, the employees will enjoy coming to work and working on projects to the best of their ability. I hope that I never stop learning how to better myself as a leader.

– – –  Brittney Spencer, Big Rapids, Mi.

I BELIEVE WE ARE ALL LEADERS.

In today’s world, the term “leader” is subjective and skewed towards individual beliefs.  However, in its basic form, a leader is someone who leads others.  So the real question is not what a leader is but rather what makes a leader.  What drives people to want to follow your ideas and look up to you?  The answer is to this question is quite complex, but in general it has to do with the persona you give off and also how others interpret that persona.

As mentioned, many factors go into deciding whether you personally believe someone is a leader.  But as Warren Bennis once stated “The point is not to become a leader.  The point is to become yourself, and to use yourself completely – all your gifts, skills and energies – to make your vision manifest.”  Personally, I believe this inspirational quote outlines two very important messages.

The first message is that to be a successful leader you need to be yourself.  To be a leader, you need to be open and honest and embrace your talents.  Every single person on this planet is unique in their own way; we each also possess natural talents.  When you find your natural talents, exploit them!  Take the things you are good at and make them great, then take the things you are great at and make them exceptional.

The next message is that you need to stop worrying about becoming a leader.  This may sounds like it contradicts the first message but I assure you it doesn’t.  You should always be yourself and others will consider you a leader.  However, this message is that you don’t need to worry about becoming a leader because you already are one.

The phenomena about leaders is that not one single person on this planet is a leader to everyone.  You could name off hundreds, even thousands, of people who are superior in the public eye and yet someone would still not believe they are a leader.  Where the true magic lies is that leaders only need to have one “follower”.   So when put into the sense that if just one person on this vast earth considers you a leader, everyone is able to be leader to someone.  Sure you might not have hundreds of people that believe that you are a leader but that doesn’t make you less of a leader.

– – – Courtney Beck, Romeo, Mi.

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