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

Posts From Students:

Azlan Williford –  Sydney Bryngelson –  Tarah Bourke –  Courtney Meyer –  Ariel Star –  Austin Leeck – Tayler Rodes

I Believe In Staying True To Yourself

What is leadership to me?  Leadership is going the extra mile that most people aren’t willing to go. It is putting your pride to the side and doing what you need to in order to make something or someone better. It is also staying true to yourself and doing what’s right. Leadership sometimes involves facing your fears but I believe that facing those fears makes you a better leader. The things I have learned growing up, throughout college, and in this management course will help me become the leader I aspire to be. I do believe that I am a leader but I see myself being so much better in my future than the person I am now. I will become a better leader by incorporating some of the skills, theories, and/or techniques I’ve learned throughout my years at Ferris.

Being a good leader can bring about great followers and that’s who I want on my team. Being a leader is already in me, it’s just a matter of creating a better leader within myself. At the same time, I’m always myself and I don’t change for others. I change according to situations, adapting to each environment I’m in. I don’t change the person I am in different situations, I just change what I do and/or what I say in different situations; I believe any good leader should know how to do that without actually becoming someone else. The older I get, the more I learn, the better I understand myself and others. I look at the things that I wouldn’t want to see in a person I’m following, so I use things like this to better myself as a person and leader. When somebody looks at me, I want them to see the person I am and the leader in me as one.

I haven’t really adopted a leadership style but if I had to explain my leadership, it would be more like a participative leadership. I want my followers to have a role, participate in the decision making processes. My employees opinions will matter just as much as providing excellent customer service. I believe that just because somebody is under you, doesn’t mean that they don’t know anything. I wouldn’t give them the option to make decisions on their own but I do think it’s beneficial for them and helpful for their future to get in on decision ­making. No matter what, I believe staying true to yourself and working hard towards a worthy goal will get you where you want to be in life.

– – – Azlan Williford, Big Rapids, Mi.

I Believe in Balance

The pressures & responsibilities of being a leader make it a challenging position to be in. I believe everyone has the capacity to be a good leader, though they may need to discover where they need to improve first. I also believe that each aspect of leadership roles requires a balance, & a leaders strengths & weaknesses will determine how these aspects weigh against each other in the balance – which in turn is how their team will perceive their ‘leadership style.’

Being decisive is one of the clear obligations of a leader. Leaders need to be comfortable making that final word on decisions, which entails a level of confidence. Many people struggle to make choices because of the risk attached to choosing the wrong option. The balance in decision-making comes with collaboration & member involvement. Keeping your team members, employees, or whatever group you are leading informed on the decisions that need to be made & the alternatives allows them to offer input. As a leader, you should keep your ears open & keep your team engaged & involved. When everyone has the opportunity to be included in decision-making, the decision is no longer just yours & the pressure is somewhat relieved, & you also empower your group members.

Another challenge faced by leaders is keeping the team organized. The responsibility to ensure things are getting done both on time & correctly demands a leader to have their hands in every aspect of the group to some degree. I find that there are two different balances within this task: focus/versatility & organization/flexibility. A leader of course needs the ability to focus on tasks, but while overseeing so many functions of a group, there needs to be balance of versatility in switching that focus quickly from one task to another. Organization yields to efficiency & its importance is well known. I believe flexibility, or as some may perceive as openness, is also crucial to being a leader. Things happen that can’t be avoided & if something out of place occurs a leader needs to be flexible to handle it. Being open to a change is also very important for improvement to occur.

The last major responsibility I would say a leader faces is keeping the team motivated. This balance is relayed in incentives & positive reinforcement to appreciate group members for what they’re doing well versus challenging members to do better or work harder.

Every person has different strengths & weaknesses, & the challenge is not relying on your strengths to cover your weaknesses because all of the responsibilities of leadership are equally important. Being placed in a role of leadership forces you to test yourself all of these aspects: confidence, collaboration, focus, versatility, organization, openness, & motivation. You discover what you need to improve on based on how you work with your team as a leader & learn a lot about yourself from it.

– – – Sydney Bryngelson, Big Rapids, Mi.

I Believe in Confidence

A leader is someone who is in charge of some sort of group or organization. They are the one in control, the one that people answer to, and the one that bestows the face of the organization. Now, a good leader is someone who is confident, fearless, determined. Good leaders are able to connect with the people they lead and guide them to success with proper motivation and encouragement. Not all leaders are good leaders.

Being a part of a team has proved to be rather difficult. Not everyone agrees on all situations, and some are far more motivated than others to complete the work correctly and on time. Through the process of leading and being involved in a group, people learn about themselves. It’s through this self-discovery that you learn your strengths and weaknesses. Are you good at motivating people? Are you too much of a pushover? How do you approach someone you do not think is doing a good enough job? All of these situations are potential real life situations that we may face someday. And it is through this process that we learn about ourselves and what we should improve on to become better leaders.

For me personally, I’ve learned that I need to step up to the plate more. Our group has lacked motivation the entire semester, and while I am not the operations manager, I strived to try and keep everyone connected and on track. But when people kept slipping up or forgetting important things, I did not address the situations. If our team forgot to buy, it was pushed aside, not dealt with. With any future group work, or leadership opportunities, I hope to become more confident in my abilities to motivate a group and keep everyone focused on the end target- success.

Growing up, I was involved in a lot of leadership opportunities. Today, I am still involved in many leadership positions, from the organizations I am in to the classes I am taking. Over time, I feel as though I have lost the strength and confidence I once used to possess for fear that I am being overbearing or pushy. But, in reality, what I’ve found in the last semester is that people do not mind someone that takes charge. That does not mean doing everything as the leader, but rather having a plan, sticking to it, and making sure roles are delegated where necessary. If people know that they are being counted on, they tend to follow through much more than if it is just another assignment the professor handed out. Overall, I have found that I need to gain confidence in my abilities and take a more active leadership position in order to motivate, encourage, and become the leader I strive to be.

– – – Tarah Bourke, Big Rapids, Mi.

I Believe Leadership is a Way of Life

                I believe that leadership is not only something to do when you are being watched. I believe that leadership is something that you live and breathe, setting a good example even when you are not at work, or around those you lead. My vision of leadership is to have those that you lead inspired by your actions and way of life. The vision would also include taking responsibility for your actions, being a constant encourager to the employees around you, and keeping a positive attitude even when things are stressful. I am not saying that the manager needs to be a push over. A manager needs to be able to be firm, but not always so scary that they are unapproachable. This works for some managers, but I believe that good leadership can be accomplished, and accomplished well without having to scare your employees into listening to you.

Throughout this class I have been given an opportunity to be a team leader, which obviously is not on the same level as an actual active manager, but does have many similarities. The Operations Managers for this class project we are obviously not in charge of the number of associates that we would actually have under us if we were in charge of an actual operations team. Since working this position, I have changed my mind as to what leadership style should be as a result of the things that I have learned through this experience and others that I have had in the past. I have also changed my mind about my leadership style by observing other managers or those who are in leadership positions and how they act and respond to problems and struggles throughout the day. I have learned that being too soft or too hard will make no one happy. If you are too soft then employees can walk all over you and get away with slacking at work and being unproductive. If you are too hard then employees will be unhappy and try to make your job harder.

The leadership style that I try to use and fulfill is to lead by example. In this class especially, I try to post my parts of the power point on time and be prompt and ready for presentations and class. In the working world leading by example would be being using my time wisely at work, being a positive influence, and doing what I can to keep my employees and those around me in a clean and safe work atmosphere.

– – – Courtney Meyer, Big Rapids, Mi.

I BELIEVE: A Motivation to Create a Better Self

            Leadership can mean many different things to many different people. There are countless definitions out there giving guidelines to what the common ‘leader’ has to portray and what qualities they need to possess. To me, all of these definitions and guidelines mean nothing. Some say that leader (leadership) is born, but I feel that it can be made through self-will and dedication. All a true leader needs is motivation and confidence.

Through my MGMT 370 this semester I have learned how to work in a group and keep on a schedule. This, even though not specifically realized, has helped me to become a better leader and show leadership in my everyday life. I will take the skills of self-awareness and ability to motivate and use them in the rest of my professional career.

Through my journey of leadership, I have become comfortable in the processes I take in group work. I am realizing what techniques work with what type of people and how to get the job done to the best of my ability. This process has lead me to becoming myself in a leadership sense. I am not only learning about team members, but I am learning about myself and how I work with people (helpful & stubborn).

Over the course of my college career I have changed my mind as to what leadership style I portray. At the start of my time at Ferris, I was more laissez-faire, being laid back and putting all of my trust in others when it came to group work. I had a hard time taking the leaders position and was always quite when it came to group work. Through my management classes and being forced to work in groups, I was able to change my stance on leadership and force myself to take more of a command and control position. Being chosen to be the leader in my management class for our group, I learned how to work with classmates and make sure assignments were done in a timely manner.

With this being said, I am very thankful for my time in MGMT 370 and the group work that was the basis of this class. It’s taught me not only about myself and helped me grow as a person, but also about others and their work ethics. Because of this, I feel confident and ready for the ‘real’ work and my professional life come graduation.

 – – – Ariel Star, Dexter Mi.


Leadership Changes Lives

I believe leadership can change the outcome of people’s lives on any given day.  It only takes one good leader to give an example of how things should be done in any given spot in life.  Every person has their own vision of leadership in their mind, it all depends which way you interpret looking at it.

“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.  You must withhold nothing.  You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.”

In many of my past accomplishments with sports, I have been in the presence of many great leaders. Many of which are pro athletes or highly ranked military generals. Three major points that I’ve found out over the years with a leadership role are 1; you do not always have to be liked to become effective and efficient. I’ve learned in sports that coaches do not baby you through drills just for you to be a soft athlete. The tough days I went through practicing thinking the coach dislikes was hard to soak in. I realized later on in life that they are only helping me and helping me become a successful determined athlete. Transferring all of that into the business world is easy.

If my boss gets on my case to finish a project, I don’t take it to heart and think he’s out to get me. I soak it in and push harder to get the job done. In recent experiences, it is the success factor that drives me. I, myself, want to be more successful than anyone else wants me to be.

My second point is “Always Do The Right Thing”. In sports, doing the right thing isn’t always best for yourself, but it could better your team. As in baseball, there’s a man on second base. Coach needs you to advance the runner so he gives you the bunt sign while you’re up to bat for a sacrifice play. It doesn’t necessarily benefit you in that play, but it definitely helps your team’s odds of scoring by a big sum.  Transferring this into a business situation I would like to think that if someone had a work group of five of six people, and everyone always did the right thing, you would basically have a self-managing team. Showing that little bit of respect weighs on people and it demonstrates a good leadership role.

I see myself in the future owning my own power sports dealer ship, so I plan on being a solid leader for the group of people I will run when I get older. My overall goal is to influence my workers under me to set a perfect example of being a leader.  I’m a strong motivator and a driver when it comes to finishing jobs and being successful. There is no option to failing for myself or a group that I’m involved in.

People you encourage and set example for today, will then follow your footsteps and become the leader you are today in the future for tomorrow.  I believe leadership can change the outcome of people’s lives on any given day. It all depends how the others interpret your success and drive.

– – – Austin Leeck, Big Rapids, Mi.

From Followers to Wise Leaders

I believe everyone has the power and ability to become a leader.  A leader can take many forms and may possess many different qualities.  These qualities come from within but are also created as you grow.  A leader is defined as a person that commands a group but is so much more.  A leader, in my eyes, is someone that possesses qualities like integrity and confidence but also possesses qualities of a follower.  Some are born leaders but I believe the best leaders are ones that were once followers.

As you age, you gain qualities like patience and humility, which are needed to be a good leader.  One of the most important qualities of a leader is wisdom.  A person gains their wisdom as they follow the wise.  I have learned from my years of school and life that at my age I am mostly a follower of the wise, but I am becoming a leader.  School is where I have learned most of my skills to become a leader, specifically in classes where I must work in groups.  Groups have taught me that you must be a leader and a follower depending on the situation.  For me particularly, I take a leadership role when I have the knowledge and skill to be able to help and guide my teammates.  When I don’t have the knowledge or skills to be the leader, I fall into the follower position.  Within the follower position, I learn the skills to be a leader in that same situation in the future.  These skills combine through your years of life and make you an incredible leader.

I have learned throughout my life that I have the drive and qualities of a leader and I have always had those qualities.  As I grow and follow other leaders, I gain the information and skills of becoming a great leader.   Those skills combined with the qualities I was born with, will allow me to lead now and in the future.  I know that I am a leader and always will be.  Leaders are needed to encourage and motivate the followers who eventually will be the leaders.  It’s a cycle that will never end.  Everyone is a leader in some way, but they are also followers of other knowledgeable leaders.

– – – Tayler Rodes, Traverse City, Mi.


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