MGMT 370 – QUALITY OPERATIONS – Traverse City – FALL 2013 – Pg. 3

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

Posts From Students:

Joseph Hoch –  Jonathan Thompson –  Sarah Farley –  Luke Lidgard –  Michael Town –  Joseph Kolar – Leslie Jackson

This I Believe Essay

            I believe leadership is one of the greatest tasks a person can accomplish in their life and career. Leadership is not operating a profitable company or accomplishing a task with a few team members, rather it is taking life by the horns and accomplishing all greatness a person can. This greatness called leadership is not a trait but a lifelong asset, which always needs improvement to maintain the highest level of accomplishment available. Leadership is asset of someone’s personality because great leaders do not only focus on their tasks at hand but their coworkers, businesses, and families as well.

I will take what I learned and become a good leader by putting others first always, I realize now that a building is nothing without the foundation around the structure. If a person builds a strong foundation their leadership greatness will be built around them. I am going to take every opportunity to the fullest of my ability and never be scared to learn new tasks and face problems head on without giving up. I have realized that leaders depend on many of their coworkers for input on ideas and often need to not overlook ideas proposed by team members that could be the next big thing.

I am becoming myself in the process of becoming a team member by opening up to other people opinions and ideas. When listening to others ideas I often find myself thinking about what could be done to make that idea successful or discover ways to overcome the flaws in the idea. I found myself in the beginning of our semester often getting frustrated with my team wasting so much time talking off topic when having group meetings, but I realize now that with the small talk became relationships which in end resulted in greatness being accomplished. The greatness accomplished was not just receiving a passing grade but developing friendships with people who were strangers only 14 weeks ago. These relationships are vital in our careers because there may be a time when one of them will be a vital resource to advancing in my career or allowing them to utilize me to help them advance in their career.

I have not changed my mind as to Democratic leadership being the result of my learning; I feel this style of leadership is vital in successful teams due to teams being able to see many different angles of decisions with more opinions being expressed beside only the leaders. I utilized my team members on almost all occasions due to wanting their input to my decision making process. I displayed throughout the year how vital their input was by taking their ideas and using them to make our company successful. This is not understood that all our team’s decisions were good ones but we always managed to create success out of our failures.

– – – Joseph Hoch, Traverse City, Mi.

I Believe in the Emergence of Leadership

Leadership takes many forms and styles; many believe that leadership is a characteristic you are born with, commonly known as the “natural born leader”. However, I do not agree with that. I believe that leadership can be learned, and that everyone has the capacity to emerge as a leader. Leadership can be in the form of autocratic, democratic, and laissez faire styles. I believe it is important for the leader to properly identify what his or her goals are and choose a style that best fits the objective. After all, isn’t the ultimate goal of a manager or a leader to persuade individuals to accomplish the goals that are set?

I hope to develop more as a leader. Leadership is a learning experience and it does not stop with the completion of a degree or even when the dream career is acquired. A good leader is continually learning and constantly trying to improve their individual leadership style. A great leader is one that is both, highly proficient and confident at their profession. I believe this is a very important part of being a leader.

Throughout the course of my adult life I have served in the Marines, attended college, and studied Aviation and Business Management. As a result of my education and experiences, I can absolutely say that a good leader is one that can adapt to a changing environment. A great leader is a leader who is not firmly planted in one leadership style, but rather, one who has the ability to use different leadership styles based on the situation and the type of subordinates. The “natural born” autocratic leadership “do as I say and not as I do” will not command the respect or gain the confidence needed to attain the goals of the leader. One must be fluid and adaptive to changing environments.

I believe that people who are willing to apply themselves and learn how to become a leader have the ability to emerge as one. Far too many people think they are leaders because of a position they hold. My suggestion to these people is be humble, highly proficient, and look out for the needs of the people that you lead. Never forget to continually seek out self-improvement and adapt to changing environments. If you do this you will emerge as a great leader.

 – – – Jonathan Thompson, Traverse City, MI.

This I Believe

            When I think of leadership I think of the characteristics that make up a good leader. The characteristics that come together to create my vision of what leadership is, are flexibility (adaptability), communication (relationship management), organizational awareness, and trustworthy. Now all these characteristics are what I think blend together to make a great leader, because becoming a leader requires a all of these skills to be used on a daily basis to create a productive and hospitable environment for their employees, who the lead.

Not looking at these characteristics individually you’ll be able see why they’re important in the development of a good leader. If we were to look at the characteristic of flexibility closely related to adaptability, this characteristic allows a leader to be able to take problems that may arise within their business and adjust to the situation. For example if there was a sudden change in management, due to retirement, a leader that is flexible would be able to help its employees adjust to this transition of new management. This example also is closely related to the characteristic of communication; because without it they wouldn’t be will to manage the relationships that they foster with their employees, or with their customers. Because a leader that is able to communicate what is and needed to be done as well as listening to others suggestions; they are able to become better leaders and grow from their communications with others. No one looking at the characteristic of organizational awareness, this is not just about having a tidy facilities it’s about being able to make those facilities as efficient as possible, whether that means organizing the facilities in a way that increases productivity, or shortens logistic times. Those are the sorts of events that organizational awareness would aid a leader. And probably the most important when looking at a leaders characteristics is their trustworthiness, because if you do not trust what your leader is advising you to do, there’s a likelihood that you are in unhappy worker and feel as though your employer is out to get you. And when you don’t feel as though you can trust your employer your less likely to produce good quality, because you don’t believe in what you’re doing, because you don’t believe in your employer vision.

The characteristics of a person are what makes up that persons personality, and a leader just like everyone else is judged by that personality, and the characteristics that they exude; probably more so. So when you look at the leaders that you have met with in your life, you’re probably able to look back and find examples of the characteristics that made them a great leader.

 – – – Sarah Farley, Traverse City, Mi.

True Leadership

            I believe that leadership is the goal and a role that everyone would like to achieve.  Leadership isn’t just a title that someone acquires or something that is assigned to them.  Its bringing out the highest potential in one’s personality, the ability to truly lead is a skill that many can hope to achieve.  Just because someone is elected to lead or is hired to lead, does not make them a leader.  A leader is someone who can lead a group successfully, who takes responsibility for the group; through its victories and through its losses.  A true leader cannot take credit for their team for only their successes, and not when their team falls behind.  As a leader, you take full responsibility for all actions in your team.  In order to be a true team leader, one must first be a good team member, not to suggest that the leader isn’t already a member of the team.  But as a true leader you must understand what it is like to be in a position of a member, as opposed to a leader.  This will give you the experience necessary to truly understand and help create a great team, with a member base that will support your actions as leader, knowing that there is mutual respect.

In the process of becoming a leader, you can also find out how you are as a person.  Being a leader is not an easy task to take.  You now become responsible for others and not just yourself.  You begin to test your limits as a person and find out your character in the process.  The ability to gain experience in all aspects of life, especially when in the process of becoming a good leader, is very important when discovering you as a person.  There are some very crucial characteristics that one must acquire in order to become a great leader.  There is no formula to become a good leaders, although many have some traits in common, there is no list for what makes a true leader.  Confidence is I believe, the most important trait that one must obtain before they can consider themselves, and others, consider them, as a great leader.  However, it is not the only “required” it plays a huge role in the outcome between a good leader and a great leader, or in some cases, a leader at all.

– – – Luke Lidgard, Traverse City, Mi.

I Believe Leadership is Key

                Leadership is a key competent in making many different things successful, without things truly would not progress. There is always at least one person that has to be there to keep things going forward and keeping it organized. A leader is not someone who always has the answer for the problem. A leader organizes a group to figure problems out, to work towards a goal and keeps people working together. To be a good leader that people respect and look to doesn’t have to be someone who raises their voice consistently or gets worked up and starts blaming others, a good leader leads by example and actually considers others options. A leader gains the respect of others by listening to them and genuinely are curious on what they have for an idea.

What I have learned helps me as a person continue to be a better leader but being a good leader is not something that happens overnight. I know that I have a lot of learning left before I can become a good leader. Something that I did learn from this class directly is if a leader is pursuing to be at the top the group will push for the same. A leader doesn’t let things slide by, they fix the problem areas and continue to improve in all areas.

In becoming a better leader I myself am able to realize the areas in which I need to improve to do so. Again as I stated before, it is not something that happens overnight and I do know that I have a ways to go before I am a good leader. In the process, finding the areas in which you struggle helps define you as a person. Being able to identify the areas, improve that area and move past to the next thing not only improves you as a leader but defines you as an individual.

With having the setup for this class like it was defiantly changed my outlook on different aspects in a positive way. First and foremost with having the groups and each individual responsible for a specific part, you have to deliver because there are others that depend on you completing it and doing so correctly. Just as in an actual job position, there are others relying on your completion. It also showed to me that a leader can not do everything all the time for the group. A leader rather organizes it so each group member contributes individual parts for the completion of the project. Again, Leadership is a key aspect for anything to be successful .

– – – Michael Town, Traverse City, Mi.

I Believe Leadership is a Group Effort

            When it comes to leadership, most tend to think of a single person leading a group of people like a General in an army or a coach of a team. While that may be a general definition of a leader, after this semester I believe that great leadership is a collective effort from all those involved in any given project or group environment. A leader is given numerous responsibilities like planning, managing and motivating team members but I feel each team member should bear the weight of these responsibilities as well in order to succeed.

Throughout this semester and course I feel as though I have completely relearned what a truly great leader is. I was originally in the belief that a leader is the head of a group who coordinated how the group would operate as a whole. I felt that a leader was the one who you went to when you needed any kind of assistance or advice. As our group progressed through the course, I started to realize this was only the tip of the iceberg. Our group leader was fantastic at all of the above things, but it become increasingly clear that we were all leaders of the group. When obstacles arose, everyone stepped into a leadership role in one way or another whether it was taking over a specific task, solidifying communications or providing advice and opinions. Now, at the end of the semester, I would feel comfortable with any single member taking on the leadership role of the group. After this experience, I feel prepared to participate in a leadership role as I feel I truly understand what a leader should be.

Leadership can be defined in many different ways and contexts but what I have truly learned is that it is a personal growth process involving the entire team. Determining your strengths and weaknesses is important for every member, not just the designated leader. In my opinion, a group that is completely dependent upon their leader is a failing group. When a team comes together and more importantly grows together, then they are set up for success in any endeavor they undertake. Leadership is more than someone taking responsibility, it is collective effort to grow and adjust to any situation that may arise. It has been said that there are naturally born leaders and that may be true, but the most successful leaders are constantly learning, adjusting and growing due to those around them. Leadership is not a trait or single task, it is a group of people coming together to achieve something. While we may not always be recognized as such, we are all leaders.

– – – Joe Kolar, Traverse City, Mi.

I Believe inUndercover Boss

If you aren’t familiar with this pop culture television series commissioned by CBS, the concept is simple; CEOs and high ranking Executives go undercover at their own companies, posing as entry level employees.  The premise is that “Bosses” leave their corner offices and boardrooms to get a firsthand look and experience the inner workings of their corporations.  In business, high-level management typically take on titles such as Boss, CEO, President or Owner.  However, regardless of what is written on their business cards, they all have one commonality, and it’s that they are LEADERS.

To be an excellent leader in business is to understand your most important resource, humans. Humans are the oil in the engine, the bricks that make the walls and the very breath that is your business.  My vision of great leadership is one that shows compassion in humans.  Great leaders tend to relate to each of their employees in one way or another and connects everyone on various levels.  Undercover Boss reconnects leaders to their people and does so without title or authority.  Employees are free of fears when openly communicating their opinions and undercover leaders get honest, genuine feedback and information.  This certainly creates some amusing and comical situations worthy of primetime television, but most of the Bosses walk away using words of expression like; humbled, ashamed, touched, open eyed and motivated to be better.  See, the point of Undercover Boss is not only to discover your business and its people, but more about self-discovery within leaders.

As a compassionate person and proclaimed “Healer” personality, I too believe in the power of people, a belief which was emphasized and encouraged throughout this class.  One of my favorite quotes from American Literature was written by Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Atticus Finch said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”  This idea, I believe, was not only the underlining concept of Undercover Boss, but is fundamental for great leadership.  It is ideas like these that help us become ourselves and become the person we sought out to be.

I know I have many more years of becoming and with that, I will continue to focus on my gifts, skills and energies.  Will I be a great leader someday? Perhaps, but I will be a good person and that is something I believe is needed in leadership.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even be featured in an episode of Undercover Boss someday.  However, if reality TV continues to exist in 10-20 years, all hope for humanity will be lost.

– – – Leslie Jackson, Traverse City, MI

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