Posted here are the thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 301 Class – Ferris State University
POSTS FROM STUDENTS:
Kyle Barker – Christopher Whitfield – Benjamin Ludema – Jayne Alexander – Andrew Berg – Noura Ashri – Cory Armstrong – Robert Marcus – Christopher Anderson – Stacie Juengel
I Believe I Can Be a Leader
I have never been the type of person to step up and speak what is on my mind. I am usually the one in the background that does not say anything and lets everyone else do the decision making. But after this class, I realized that I want to be a leader. I feel that I have developed the right skills for what it takes to be a leader while being in my group this semester. For me, a leader is someone who takes charge or a situation if needed and listens to everyone to come to a conclusion. To me a leader is that person who is willing to step up and say something when it is needed.
Before this class, I thought as a leader I would just come to my own decision and not include anyone else’s ideas. However, this class has shown me that probably is not the best way to be a leader. I have learned that I am the type of leader would include everyone with anything that I do. I feel that it is important to get everyone involved when you are making a decision about a topic. You never know who in your group has that one brilliant idea, one that can be even better than your own.
There are a few things that I will take away from this class on how to be a good and bad leader. Good leaders are ones who are upbeat, have a good attitude, and never let anyone in their group left out. A bad leader is someone who makes decisions for everyone by themselves, does not include each group member, and has an attitude of some sort the whole time. When a good leader is in place, people as a whole work better just from the leader doing a good job. But with a bad leader, the team’s morale is down which results in less work and a lower efficiency.
As a whole, I am overjoyed with what I have learned. It has taught me what works and does not work with people. I plan on taking this information with me throughout my career. As I know it will be very helpful in many situations. But what truly might be the most important, is I found out who I am when it comes to being a leader. This undoubtedly, will benefit me for my entire live in all situations.
– – Kyle Barker, Big Rapids, Michigan
I BELIEVE THAT LEADERSHIP INTERNAL
Leadership is a skill that is completely defined in many ways, depending on the person that is defining it. Leadership to me is like a vehicle. A vehicle has many parts to it that are built for several different reasons. You have electrical equipment as well as material as simple as leather. Each piece of it is responsible for a duty. They also are built a certain way for certain situations. Starting from the front to rear, built to withstand the pressures of accidents or possible break in’s.
Your leadership skills are determined how you were built which dates back to your very first encounter with leadership. As a car is built to withstand a high-speed blow, it doesn’t completely rely on just the front-end body armor. Backing it would be a metal frame followed by countless safety features inside the vehicle. Each person has some type of leadership built underneath what there external presents shows. Just like the car accident it may take a very dramatic experience for it to truly show. There is nothing wrong with that either.
Leadership is a presents that can be felt among others without even speaking a word. You are able to lead others in a way to achieve a common goal or overcome an issue. Being a leader also assures that you wont leave others behind because they cant handle the task. It is your responsibility to recognize it and place them in a well-suited area.
I have learned several different things about being a leader. The most important thing I have learned as a leader would be to not show stress under pressure. This may seem very simple but it doesn’t always play out this way. You must hide your stress because of two people. Which are your teammates and your competition. You don’t want your teammates to see that you’re under stress because they will automatically gain that feeling also. They will began to second-guess things they shouldn’t. It will then throw everything off balance and make things worst than they actually are.
Your competitors are a completely different subject. You never want them to see this side of you because they will take advantage of it from all angles. They can get inside your head and pretty much make you feel worst about ideas you had. Which in return gives them the upper hand because they are calm and even better off that they know your not.
In becoming a team leader you began to actually find out who you truly are. Like I stated early with the car accident, you never know yourself until you least expect it. That’s why there are so many great leaders that you never would have thought of. When your put into a dramatic situation and your first instinct is to act in a certain way, you find your leadership skills. I have found that I personally will step up and do pretty much anything needed, but I wasn’t always like that. It starts for me back in middle school when I had to take a speech class. I never wanted to go first but I couldn’t take the nerves of waiting until last. So I would make myself go but throwing my hand up or saying “ME” against my own will. Through that I learned that I rather get it done first and right than to go last and wrong.
From that point on I continued to volunteer for things and my personality along with my leadership skills came through. I have never thought that my definition of leadership was every wrong. Growing up I has realized that are things that I can add to it. These wont change the meaning but they will make it better than before.
– – Christopher Whitfield, Southfield, Michigan
I BELIEVE IN LEADING
My vision of leadership is to be able to lead people by showing them what to do and not just telling them. A leader is supposed to be able to show by example what he or she must do. Too inspire your people you need to be fearless and able to communicate and show what needs to be done.
I’ve spent a good portion of my life in the military and have seen many different leadership styles and traits of many leaders. After being in this class most of my views on leadership are the same however, I feel a great leader is measured not on how he or she accomplishes the mission but if he or she gets it done quickly and efficiently. I’ve had leaders in the military that have used the more aggressive way to get things done and I’ve had leaders that were softer and went with asking people to do things more than yell. My personal opinion is that people are all different and respond differently than others. Most people would rather be told in an asking manner then being told and screamed at, I would happen to be indifferent. Some people just respond better being told than being asked. I feel as though you need to approach people in different ways and figure out what works best for that individual.
After being in the military and seeing the different leadership styles and experiencing it first hand I’ve tried to lead in a way I would like to be lead. My leadership style would be an aggressive style when needed but for the most part I would treat people all as equals and with respect because I feel everyone deserves respect until given a reason not too.
Most of this leadership styles I’ve learned in this class are very good but being that I’ve had experience with most of these I have made up my mind on how I would lead and how I feel others would want to be lead. Overall I feel that to be a good leader you have to have two main qualities’, which are confidence and respect. If you acquire these two attributes leading is quite easy and you will find that you will accomplish the mission quickly and efficiently.
– – Benjamin Ludema, Dafter, Michigan
Without a Leader, We’re Just a Mob
Most people think that being a boss automatically makes you a leader. I respectively disagree with those people. Sure, being a boss gives you power, but what good is that power if you don’t know what to do with it? Getting the title of “being in charge” is only half the battle. If you can’t inspire the people you’re in charge of, then I can guarantee you won’t be successful. I’m not trying to say that a true leader comes up with the best ideas or always has the right answer. The best leaders are the ones who can admit when they’re wrong. They’re the ones who can always pick the best idea, even if they weren’t the ones who came up with it. Over the course of the semester, my management class taught me a great deal about what being a leader is all about.
First off, I learned that confidence is very important. You can’t expect others to believe it your ideas and goals if you seem hesitant about them yourself. Also, you should be kind. Not overly nice, but when communicating with your employees, ask yourself this simple question, “How would I like to be treated in this situation?” As children, we were constantly told to ask ourselves this question. I think as we get older, this is asked less and less when it really needs to be asked more than ever. Another thing I learned about being a leader is that it’s very important to be dependable. If people can’t trust you to do what you say you’ll day, there’s no way you’ll be able to lead them or inspire them to do anything.
The traits I have previously described- confidence, kindness, dependability – are just a few that describe a leader. In my opinion, these traits also describe a good person. Obviously you’ll never be completely void of all flaws, but if you are always trying to improve yourself, others will notice and do the same. There’s many different ways you can go about being a leader. When I first saw all of the leadership styles, the contingency approach seemed best. After taking a closer look, I now believe that the style of transformational leadership would be best in almost every situation. The four keys to transformational leadership are inspirational motivation, idealized influence, individualized consideration, and intellectual stimulation. When reading through these, they all seemed like very average, common sense ideas. But, maybe that’s the point. Just to stay simple and encourage people, be flexible and understanding, and respect will just come naturally.
– – Jayne Alexander, Big Rapids, Michigan
To lead is to Succeed
Warren Bennis claims “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.” I must say I agree with this quote.
Some people get confused when it comes to being a manager and being a leader. A leader leads and a manager manages certain tasks. Leadership is described as the process of influencing employees to work toward the achievement of organizational goals. This means a good leader must be able to motivate and inspire everybody in the company to do their jobs efficiently and overall obtain all the goals the company has set for themselves. A leader must inform all employees on the task at hand and it is the leaders job to decide what these goals are based on how the company is performing. Some traits that a good leader must have are problem solving skills, ability to communicate, demonstrate caring and empathy, honesty, energy level, self-confidence, self-monitoring, and intelligence. Some things a leader must do to have the best workforce are employ a code of ethics, choose the right people, emphasize value of diversity, and reward high moral conduct.
This summer I am going back to work at the same pizza place I have been working at the past two years, now it will be three years. The only difference about this year is I am going to be manager so I am going to have to lead everybody and make sure they are all getting everything ready for the rushes. I remember last summer my manager would sit there all day and try to tell everybody what to do while he did nothing. It wasn’t really a problem except we were always running out of stuff and we never had everything prepped. It’s not hard to have everything prepped but he just didn’t remember. That is why this summer I am going to be the best manager and make sure everything is good to go and stay on top of everything that needs to be done.
In becoming a team leader you really get to know what kind of person and leader you really are. If you try and boss everybody around by threatening them with punishments and you aren’t successful this means that you aren’t that kind of person and you need to figure out who you are before you decide which approach to take in being a leader. Let’s say the next time you decide to treat everybody with respect and honesty and your sales go up tremendously, this means that you have found the right leader approach and in that you realize what kind of person you really are.
Through all of my learning about leadership styles and approaches I have realized that I need to follow the leadership style that fits my personality best, not which one seems to be the best. I always thought that to be a leader you need to act and do things in one specific way. This however I have found to be rather false. Every leader is slightly different in many ways. You can take a successful leader in a certain company and place them in a completely different company as a leader and they might actually fail or at least do worse. In conclusion in order to choose the right leadership style you need to decide which style fits your personality best and will it work for that company.
– – Andrew Berg, Big Rapids, Michigan
Show Interest To Lead Better
I believe that leadership is about influencing and communicating in a unique way. A great leader is that person who listens and motivates the most. Leaders should be tough and straightforward but not in a dictatorship way. As I read Dale Carnegie’s book which is called, “The Leader In You” I found that the best way to lead people is by putting a genuine interest in others by listening to them, motivate them, respect their dignity and recognize, praise and reward them. As Jim Collins said in his book “Good To Great”, leaders need to choose the right people to drive their organization from good to great, or from a normal company to an exciting company.
It is important to know the basic concept about leadership, and it is also important that leaders learn about it from a reliable sources. Even though I read about leadership from multiple sources, I learned about it orally and not practically. To start practically do what I have learned, first I will apply it within my community. I am going to influence my friends, family and my social networking in general by listening carefully to them, motivate them to say and express their suggestions or even their complains. Additionally, it is very important to motivate them, support them and that way they will trust me. Therefore, I will have more ideas from different people; also I’m going to give myself a chance to expand my vision and thoughts toward people, which will definitely increase my experience about people for my future career and my own business.
I can use my own personality and my own character to be a great leader. I will not only rely on my personal skills, it is also important to learn more about leadership from many sources so I can combine all of the information to come up with a summary. Furthermore, I am friendly and funny with my friends and I listen carefully to other people’s problems, complains and I even be happy for their happy moments. Being myself with adding what I have learned will be a great combination of successful leader.
Before I learn much about leadership I thought that each person either have or have not leadership skills. In contrast, from what I learned leadership is more of practicing and learning within each person’s small community and therefore moving to a higher position like being a leader in a specific organization and that could help me be successful in my own future business and my social relations.
– – Noura Ashri, Big Rapids, Michigan
This I Believe
Leadership to me is more than just a good quality that some people possess; leadership is a way of life. Leadership is the ability to continually exemplify what it takes to gain success. As a leader, you must consistently be the example for anyone trying to achieve more in life, leaders also set that same example for those who may not be looking to achieve more. Leadership isn’t a sometime thing, it’s an all the time commitment.
Good leaders are not born, they are made. I realized this statement to be true more than ever this semester. What this means to me is that all the traits of being a good leader are acquired thru experiencing leadership first hand, and also being allowing yourself to grow from what you have learned. The first-hand experience part comes into play when you are put in a position to lead others, a key component in the development of a good leader; you cannot simply talk about being a leader, you must do it. The growth portion comes after the first-hand experience, good leaders must be willing take experience and harness it as a learning tool for the future. For example, if you fail the first time you try something; do things differently next time since you know the previous way was unsuccessful. Good leaders must also be able to take criticism from others, this can sometimes help you realize flaws in your leadership approach that you may have not have noticed on your own. Overall, to be a good leader, you must always be ready to learn about yourself, and always ready to improve.
In the process of becoming a team leader, I do believe I am becoming an improved version of myself. I have noticed that traits I already possessed, such being able manage multiple tasks and conflict resolution skills, have been magnified. I have improved not only in areas that were my strengths, but also areas I had trouble with in the past. I think this progress is a result of my willingness to continue to learn about myself to continually strive to be a better leader.
I honestly believe that my leadership style is fine the way that it is. I believe it is important to continue to experience leadership and make improvements to my leadership skills. Through continuous improvement, my leadership skill will continue to get better and better. I strive to one day be known for being an excellent leader.
– – Cory Armstrong, Big Rapids, Michigan
I Believe in Myself So Others Can Believe in Me
Warren Bennis’s vision of leadership is that you do not set out to become a leader. It is something that happens when you become yourself and use everything you have to achieve your goal. I really like his vision of leadership and my own is extremely similarly to his. My vision of leadership is that a leader never choices to become one. He/she performs to the best their abilities to achieve their goal without holding anything back. They push their mind, body, and spirit to the limits not to achieve the goal for themselves, but to achieve it for the greater good of the group. Then other will see that person’s dedication and selflessness which will cause them to do the same.
I will take what I have learned in class and put it to good use. I learned that leadership is not just telling people what to do. It is to motivate them to become themselves. This will cause them to become better individuals which will just make the group stronger. This will let us accomplish our goals quicker and more efficiently. I think I am making good steps in becoming a leader. In high school, I was that captain of my varsity football and power lifting teams my senior year. After I was picked to be captain, I asked my coach why I was picked over other players who had my experience. All he said to me was that the others wanted to be a captain but you earned it. This was the first real chance to lead a large group of people where each choose had a large influence on the team. Needless to say I was nervous at the beginning. I did not want to let my team down.
I learned quickly that I had to be confidant in myself and the decisions I made so others would be confidant in following me. Being a leader can be a stressful experience and you will second guess yourself at times. You just need to accept that you will make mistakes; it’s a part of being human. A good leader does not let mistakes affect them. They just need to believe in themselves and be confident so others will trust and believe in them.
– – Robert Marcus, Big Rapids, Michigan
Future Leadership Skills of America
I believe that leadership has many visions and shapes. In the every changing world I feel a leader needs to be flexible, and have situational leadership qualities. Today, you have many types of leadership that includes paramilitary to participation management.
I feel today leaders have skills that are essential and are key to success. Leaders, first need to learn how to be followers before they can lead. Once you learn how to be a follower, and promoted to a leader in an organization the work starts.
Leaders need to understand their people, and what make them tick. They first should meet and greet at a meeting. Everybody needs to speak, and introduce themselves. After that leaders need to build trust, and respect. Leaders can do this today by being honest and telling the truth about issues coming up, and including their people underneath them in the loop. Another way to build trust and respect is working aside your people leading the way instead of telling, and watching. Leaders also can gain trust by getting to know each teammate by working, training, and talking to each other on a one by one basics.
I feel a leader needs to communicate and listen to his or her teammates under their command. When change happens in an organization a leaders needs to communicate the new polices, behavior, and practices coming from the top down. They need to enforce and reward teammates for positive change and adopting new practices. Communication is a skill that allows leaders to foster and support teamwork by showing you care about the people underneath you. It also shows employees that you care and it keeps them in the loop. In return for good communication employees feel positive, and do not feel left out. Listening is a skill a leader needs to have. For example, if your people inform you about issues and you as a leader ignore it; negative moral will start to happen. Good listening skills show worker you care, and in return they feel like a vital part of the organization.
Listening skills brings about expert power in an organization. A good leader realizes that he or she is not the best at everything. A saying I believe in, a team is only as strong as the weakest link, and it takes five teammates to form a fist. What I am saying is a team needs to train, and work together. In a team the weak link can bring the team moral down, and force everybody in the team to do extra work. Leadership needs have span of control. Typically, five group members with a team leader being the sixth man. It allows for the team to gel and form what I feel starts to create a welcoming environment.
The final skill a leader needs is experience. Experience allows a leader to train his or her teammates, and provide guidance. Experience, gives a leader creditability in the end because they have been in the shoes of the people below them, and have done every task on the job ask of their people. Experience gives the leader a list of tools, and tactics on how to deal with most situations they dealt with on the job.
Leaders in the changing world need to be situational with their leadership; have flexible responses, and styles. Leaders have to be firm like in an emergency crisis. On the scene one person is in charge and deligates task needed to be done. In another situation a leader needs to be less firm. The example I use is in a meeting with a mixed team. For example your company has malfunction in its product. The team leader needs to listen, and sometimes share leadership with experts on the team. Sometimes a leader needs to supervise and let the expert lead the way to victory.
– – Christopher Anderson, Tustin, Michigan
I believe that Everyone Has What it takes to be a Leader
My vision of leadership is when everyone respects their leader and wants to do what they tell them to do. If you are a leader, I believe that you should not make people do things out of fear but out of respect and belief. If you have a really great leader who respects you while proving that they are knowledgeable in their position, then things will get done well with no problems. It is a two way system. I believe that everyone involved in a team needs to be functioning properly in order for there to be good leadership. If there is a good leader and the teammates just do not respect the leader, nothing will go right. It is not an easy thing to be a leader and motivate others but it is also important to try and be a good team member as well and listen to your leader.
I have learned a lot over the years about being a leader. I take everything new and improve my leadership method. For example, my first year of being an orientation leader at the Office of International Education I found that being really good friends with my group is nice but it causes them to want favoritism in assignments and less work. The next year I tried being a leader and a friend they could go to for advice. This technique worked out much better because they respected me more and saw me in a more professional light. They also saw my intelligence and qualifications for my spot as orientation leader.
I believe that as you find your leadership style, you also find out who you are as a person. I learned quickly that I was not good at being “the bad guy” so I worked on different tactics to be bad without actually being bad. Over the years, I developed what many people know as the “good guy approach” where I give advice on what they should do and tell them the consequences if they do not. It works much better with my personality and it allows me to be a good leader.
I believe that my leadership style has definitely changed over the years. Like I said before, I tried all different kinds of leadership styles until I found what worked best for me. I would be lying if I said that I have always been a good leader. It takes a lot of mistakes and bumps to get to a good spot in leadership. Sometimes, people need to adapt their leadership style based on the group. For me this was true when it came to working with international students. But as a result of my experience with many different types of people, I know how I need to lead based on the situation. This was all thanks to the great and not so great experiences I had with leading students over the years. Overall, I feel that a leader should be open minded for change because you never know what is going to be thrown at you.
– – Stacie Juengel, Big Rapids, Michigan