Posted here are the thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 301 Class – Ferris State University
POSTS FROM STUDENTS :
Johnathan Robbins – John Ensink – Danny Trudgeon – Skylar Stewart – Katie Luczak – Gabriel Adkins – Danny Darghali – Nicholas Martin – Matthew Haack – Mitchell Chrenka
I Believe Quality Leadership is Crucial in Today’s Society
As being a leader in the workplace for my summer job, I view leadership as an important trait in today’s society. I find the quote by Warren Bennis very relevant in today’s society. I learned a lot in this Management class that ended up polishing certain skills that I possess and making me a better leader. I agree with Bennis that you must put everything on the line to become a great leader. To be a good leader you cannot be selfish. You must always think about the people you lead before you think about yourself. I will take some of the conflict management techniques that were learned in this class into situations that I face in my current employment situation. I supervise and manage approximately 30 employees in various recreational programs offered to the community. I have learned different techniques such as promoting the workers and when I return to work this summer I will take many of these techniques learned into consideration. I have learned a lot about myself during this process. Before this class I had issues of taking total control of the entire team and completing every task. I have now been able to delegate tasks and be in a more of an over watcher. I have been able to interact with other people accomplish a task more efficiently thanks to this class. I think the most important thing is that you must believe in yourself and know yourself before you can lead others and try to motivate them. I believe the leadership style that I possess at this time works for my personality. It is a very motivational type of leadership that focuses on structure. I am a very organized person which I believe that helps greatly to being a good leader. However, one thing I learned in this class was about the amount of paper work that you use to maintain organization. I use a lot of paper work to maintain my organizational skills; I have learned that too much paper work can lead to more confusion. I will try to reduce the amount of paperwork used; so that the message I am trying to deliver will be easily understood. I believe that I am a good leader and focus on my traits more than the need to have power that some leaders have in today’s society.
– – Johnathan Robbins, Big Rapids, Michigan
The Courage to be Honest and Fair
I believe leadership demands both honesty and fairness. It demands not just being honest and fair to those you lead, but also to yourself. Being a leader starts with knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are, and using your strengths and weaknesses to guide you through the process of making honest decisions for those you lead.
Being fair to all of those you lead, and being honest enough to allow those you lead to achieve the goals you set for them without prejudice or favoritism is a hard thing to do. Realizing the strengths of those you lead without allowing your own prejudices and biases to influence your decisions as to who can achieve and who cannot is an important aspect of being a good leader. I believe that being a good leader also starts with being fair to everyone you lead, and in order to be fair demands an amount of separation from the leader and those being lead.
As much as you might like to be everyone’s friend, you need to separate yourself from those you are leading. Keeping your distance will allow you to be fair to the people you are leading. It is very hard not to allow personal feelings towards someone influence decisions you make on their behalf. Being honest with yourself and accepting that your decisions can be influenced by your feelings towards someone is monumental towards making fair decisions. Using this incite will allow you to question why you are making the decisions you are making. It will allow you to truly make decisions based on the abilities of the individual, not some false perceptions based on the relationship you have with them.
I was a high school teacher for fifteen years, and I have been challenged by the task of being a leader of my students. I believe I was a good leader/teacher because I was a fair leader. I did not get involved with my students personal lives nor did I involve them in mine. I remember being asked more then once by students “is there any students that you don’t like?” I would always reply “sure I can’t stand you, but I hide it well don’t you think?” I would then go on to explain that sure there are students that I do not like, but they will never know it because it would not be fair to them and their ability to study in my class if they knew I did not like them.
I did not realize it at first, but I realized a few years into being a teacher that I had great influence over my students and that I had developed a leadership style that treated my students fairly and honestly. I had also developed a leadership style that was adaptive. I always had high standards for all of my students, but without knowing it I had different leadership styles that I used with students who were at different levels of achievement.
It was not until I read in the textbook for my Applied Management class that I knew there was a theoretical model that matched my leadership style. The Situational Leadership Theory Model developed by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard is a theory that states how “leaders should adjust their leadership style according to the readiness of the follower.” As soon as I read this I knew this is what I had been doing as a teacher all along. I felt vindicated when I read the information about this leadership style. I was also amazed that the leadership style that I had developed naturally and subconsciously was actually part of a study.
I will continue to implement this leadership style when I am once again in the position to be a leader. I am happy that I have been given some incite into this leadership style, but I can only hope that I will not be negatively affected by the knowledge of this style by over thinking it. Like I said I seemed to have developed this style naturally and subconsciously.
– – John Ensink, Big Rapids, Michigan
I Believe in True Leadership
According to the quote from Warren Bennis, to become a leader you do not need to prove anything. All you need to do is to be your true self and use all of your abilities to achieve your goals. Be the person you always wanted to be, and enjoy the process. I believe leaders have to be true to themselves to be able to have influence over others.
My visions of leadership include trust and honesty. In order to be able to influence anyone, you need to trust yourself and the people around you. Without gaining their trust, keeping them as followers or employees will be difficult. If you cannot trust yourself to do the job well or have faith in yourself, your abilities as a leader will be limited. People will sense the uncertainty and therefore entertain the possibility that you are an unfit leader. Be honest about who you are and how you want your leadership abilities to show. Don’t pretend to be something you are not. Don’t exaggerate strengths. Knowing your limits and staying honest to your people will make you a great leader.
Learning about different leadership styles has taught me many things about being a leader. You should be flexible with your people. I would make sure to listen to them. Ideas can come from anyone. Input and feedback is a good thing. I would make sure to motivate and inspire people to do their jobs by setting goals. They will know how to do their jobs and I will be able to delegate tasks to accomplish goals.
In the process of becoming a team leader, I have learned about myself as well as others. I have experienced what it takes to take control, lead, and get the job done. Just by having experience in one group has changed my views on group work. Delegating parts out to get work done efficiently is one thing that I have always feared. I would rather get the work done myself, knowing that it will get done the way I want it. That has changed with working with new groups. Leading doesn’t mean taking complete control. It is getting the whole team to work as a whole.
As a result of my learning, my leadership style has changed. I have learned that controlling every aspect of a task is not beneficial. Delegating is an important leadership ability, as well as trust and honesty. Situational leadership is by far the best style for me. Options for every situation beat trying to make one style work for everything. True leaders make the best of what they have, not with what they want to have.
– – Danny Trudgeon, Bessemer, Michigan
“I believe, then I shall Achieve”
“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.”
Leadership vision is means for focusing attention on what matters most; what you want to accomplish in your life and what kind of leader you wish to be. A useful vision has to be rooted in your past, address the future, and deal with today’s realities. It represents who you are and what you stand for. It inspires you, and the people whose commitment you need, to act to make constructive change towards a future you all want to see.
Over the years I have formed good qualities to becoming a good leader. I have been instilled with the ability to communicate with others no matter what your race is or gender may be. I have learned how to become flexible. I learned how to have courage and stand up for what I believe in and never let anyone walk over me. I have always been responsible and punctual. These characteristic I have learned over the years I believe will make me a good leader. I will take these skills and continue to learn and better these myself so one day I can become the best leader and better people and try to teach them great characteristics of a good leader.
I’ve learned in a team you have to be a leader and a follower. I’m not really a follower so it was hard for me to sit back and take orders from someone else. So I’m becoming myself and working on something that I never had to do in life. I’m being molded into becoming a better me as I go through life’s long journey.
I never knew what my leadership style was until I got in this class. I just always knew I wanted to help and better people and to make myself a better learner so I can take myself to the next level. I have learned my leadership style is transactional. I focus on group performances and what I can do to change the future. I have become ethical and action orientated. I believe in rewarding employees for the good work they do with in a company. Showing employees that you appreciate them makes them want to work and give them a good attitude about coming into work. I believe it’s all about the people! I believe you take care of the people and the people take care of you. My motto: if you strive to achieve you will succeed.
– – Skylar Stewart, Detroit, Michigan
“To Lead People, Walk Beside Them”
I believe leadership is created by someone who people admire and are motivated to follow. A leader is someone who can inspire others and show gratitude for the help they receive; a person who takes the first step and encourages the people around them to make themselves and any given situation better.
A leader needs to be confident with their decisions, yet respect those who look up to them ; they need to have a goal and a vision of how they want something to turn out, and be able to have an open mind in addition to accepting input and feedback from those around them. It is important for a leader to request tasks when discussing a desired goal, rather than directing someone to do something.
A successful leader needs to be trusted and educated. Someone that people know is working to make a situation better and is invested in both their job and the employees, along with knowing the significance of being able to initiate and consider the behavior that surrounds them.
I have learned that in order for one to be a leader they must be able to deal with complexity in a professional manner, they need to be able to work through difficulties without personal emotions arising. It is important that a leader takes a problem and determines the best approach to fix it. They include those around them and share a well organized plan to reach success.
As I share my thoughts on leadership, I realize that I am capable of being a leader; whether it is in my personal surroundings, the work environment, or my community. For me to become a successful leader I need to continue to remind myself the importance of being assertive yet considerate of others opinions and styles. I also realize that it is important to be gracious of those around because you never know who can inspire a more effective path to reach a goal. Leadership has also taught me that aggression and power won’t help you reach your goal and it is sometimes necessary to change direction, even when suggested by others, to prevent failure. I am also learning that being confident in yourself along with what you do encourages others to believe in you and the tasks that you perform. I have learned that leadership is more than having a group of followers; it is inspiring others to join you in success.
“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!'” Lao-Tzu.
– – Katie Luczak, Big Rapids, Michigan
I Believe Leading Isn’t Set in Stone
“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.” (Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader)
When I say that leading isn’t set in stone, I mean the idea of leading in a very traditionalist sense. I don’t think leading is about being some shining beacon in front of everyone else for them to chase and try to obtain, at least not all of the time. I also don’t think it’s about getting behind your followers and shoving them towards whatever goal you wish to achieve, at least not all of the time. In fact, I believe that there is nothing about leadership that is a set guide on how to act all of the time.
As Warren Bennis states, I believe leadership starts with discovering yourself completely. You must find out what you are capable of, what ideas and strategies you use yourself to achieve your goals, and even your shortcomings and skills that you do not have. You must know yourself inside and out before you can presume to know and lead those around you.
While complete and total self-discovery is by no means easy, I would classify it as much easier than what comes afterwords. Once you know yourself, it is time to learn about everyone around you. It goes much deeper than just knowing their names or their positions or the role they’re going to play in your task, but really to dig deeper with everyone you’re going to directly work with. Get to know how they tick, what motivates them, what they want out of their experience with you. It is then that you must decide how to lead each person. I strongly believe that to lead the greater group, you must lead the individuals. And there is no cookie cutter solution for leading the individual.
This is where the “not being set in stone” part comes in. You must act differently with each person to bring out their best. Perhaps one person does need you to be the shining knight championing the cause high above them and leading by example. Be that knight for that particularly person. Maybe another individual needs you to be forceful with them and tell them in no uncertain terms what to do. Be forceful with them. It will be difficult to accommodate all of them, and personal sacrifice will be required. But another part of leadership in this sense is sometimes sacrificing your own strengths or own glory to improve those around you.
In conclusion, leadership is a very flexible concept. To truly master it, you must first know yourself, and then find ways to know all those around you.
– – Gabriel Adkins, Marshall, Michigan
I believe that leadership is a characteristic that defines who we are as human beings in America today. In the words of Michael Scott “A true boss is A friend first and a boss second … and a great lover third” and although I don’t agree with that in terms of being a good boss, I do believe that it can be used to define a good leader. To me a good leader can be compared to a good friend, because a good friend is someone who cares about the friends they have and someone who listens to what their friends need to say. Which to me a good leader has to care for the people they are leading and has to be able to listen to what their team needs to say. However a good leader cannot just be a good friend, they also have to be professional, assertive, creative and on time. For example, Michael Scott once said “I am an early bird and I’m a night owl, so I’m wise … and I have worms.” Which mean as a good leader it is crucial to be to be prepared and be willing to pull a couple of late nights to get the job done.
More importantly, becoming a good leader isn’t just about knowing what it means to be one, it is about the steps you take to become a good leader. The steps I would take to become a good leader include; creating trust between the people I work with, keeping track of not only my employees’ performances but mine as well, and understanding my limitations as a leader and not trying to cross them. With these steps it will create more opportunities for me to learn and grow into an even better leader.
In conclusion, the leadership style I thought I would need to use in the future was a transactional leadership style. However after defining what a good leader is and what step I need to take to become a good leader, I came to the conclusion that the leadership style I need isn’t any certain one, it is understanding each style and making sure I am able to use and adapt to any one style in any situation I am in. I have learned that it important to open to change and it is crucial to be able to adapt to situations that happen sporadically in order to be a good leader.
– – Danny Darghali, Big Rapids, Michigan
I Believe a Leader is Someone with an Idea
I believe that a leader is someone with an idea. I believe that every truly great leader has some idea of how things should be, not just with one task or project but also with the world in general. Leaders draw people in and share their vision of how something ought to be. They convince and inspire people to take on their ideals and their methods to work with them to bring their vision to life. This could be something as small as the way a store organizes the small impulse purchase items at the register or as grandiose as reshaping the way an organization functions. Someone becomes a leader when that person takes up a cause to change something in the world that disagrees with him or her. Again, this isn’t necessarily something of earth shattering importance, but it is something they see and don’t agree with.
However, just having an idea isn’t enough for a leader to be successful. They need to be able to communicate their vision to other people. Leaders need to be able to make other people see what they see and feel the way they do about it. Leaders can show people their ideas through persuasive speeches, written words, or through example. Gandhi said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” It is so easy to win people over to your way of thinking by just showing them that it works and explaining why it works.
Telling people what direction the goal is in is not leading. You have walk towards the goal first to get people to follow you and help you get there. Leaders need to have confidence in what they are doing or else no one else can have confidence in your plans. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance and the line is drawn where the evidence stops supporting your ideas.
Confidence will be enough for some people but others will want proof and naturally so should you. You should be able to prove to yourself in some way that the direction you’re going in, is the right way and not off a cliff. A firm understanding of where you’re going and by what means you plan on getting there are necessary to being a leader. You wouldn’t feel safe on a boat captained by a man who had no knowledge of the sea or the boat he’s on. This knowledge will back your confidence as more than blind arrogance and posturing.
Now that the leader has a following of people who share their cause and are willing to follow, a leader must bring people together. A great leader can bring people not only to themselves but together as a group as well. They can take a handful of strangers and turn them into friends or comrades not just co-workers or tolerable people. They don’t necessarily make people get along but they can build groups from people who will likely get along. The tighter a leader can bring a group together the more efficient the group will be and the more pleasant the journey will be.
To sum up my previous paragraphs, a leader is someone with vision enough to set a goal, knowledge enough to be confident in their approach to that goal and a leader must above all be able to rally supporters for the cause, because a leader isn’t much without followers.
– – Nicholas Martin, Grand Rapids, Michigan
I BELIEVE IN EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
Leadership can be defined in an infinite number of ways, and individuals have all sorts of meanings for it deriving from their experiences throughout life. My vision for leadership is simple; I believe that leadership is the ability to influence individuals to fill their potential to enhances societies overall growth.
Leaders have the intelligence and persuasive abilities to not only bring the best out of themselves but can also trigger other’s abilities to achieve success. The top CEO’s, political leaders and leading innovators all have the trait to influence others and create common goals which makes me believe that leadership ability is incredibly important when pursuing future opportunities.
The knowledge I have acquired by taking this course has thrown different approaches and styles into my thought process when taking on a challenge. Everyone has their own leadership tactics as do I, but often some leadership styles can be counterproductive to the situation. If you keep an open mind, and give some thought to the possible approaches they can greatly increase your awareness and effectiveness when in a leadership position.
To become an effective leader I believe there are three areas that are more detrimental than other traits. Communication, ability, and planning are places that you need to be fundamentally sound to become a good leader. Communicating with others what your thought process is and having the skill to converse is incredibly important to leadership. Having the ability to do something well potentially creates a higher standard of working and therefore better results. Often times the best leaders if the one who sets the standard with his abilities. Planning and organizing information and ideas is crucial as well, because flying by the seat of your pants isn’t a recipe for success.
When faced with a leadership position I try to do the best I can while learning along the way. The interesting thing about being a leader is that it enhances self-confidence and produces more opportunities for successful. Becoming yourself is a process that can take an entire life to accomplish, so as you continue on take the experiences and information acquired throughout that time to truly develop who you are.
As I continue on my quest to become an effective leader, I will take my experiences and interactions throughout this class to help enhance my overall ability to lead.
– – Matthew Haack, Big Rapids, Michigan
I Believe in Me, Bring on the World
“If you do not believe in yourself, who else will?” This is one my favorite sayings. When it comes to figuring who you are and becoming yourself, it is very important to believe in what you’re doing. How is someone supposed to go through life and not have faith in themselves? Like Warren Bennis has said, you must use all your talents, abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and other traits you have in becoming the person you want to be. When it comes to leadership, some people are just born with it, while others work hard to become one. Being a leader is so much more than just telling people what to do. It’s being there for someone in need. It’s working together amongst a group with differing opinions or beliefs to find a common ground. Having a good leader is very crucial in running a successful operation, whether it’s a basketball team or a business firm or it’s a team of classmates working on a project.
I’ve learned many things about leaders throughout my life. Playing sports such as hockey, baseball, and basketball, I have both been the leaders of teams and worked with teammates who were the leaders of our squad. It is very important that all of the team members know what we are trying to achieve as a team, and they must believe in the way we are working towards accomplishing our goals. This class has also been a very unique experience when it comes to leadership. I have never been a part of a class such as this that puts so much emphasis on working together as group. This class style has really shown me another aspect of being a leader. We worked together as a whole group and never had a real distinct leader. I feel that this method of working as a group works just as well as those who have leaders. As long as everybody works towards a common goal and is on the same page, the group is going to prosper.
These experiences have given me the knowledge and ways of being a successful leader in helping my teams work towards common goals or objectives. Growing up, I always have tried to put the team’s best interests before my own. Teams who have members that are self-centered will struggle to perform as well as teams that are coercive and work well together. I originally believed that the Path-Goal leadership style was more suited to me. However, after what I’ve learned in this class along with my life experiences, I believe that he Transformational Leadership style is more of what I would strive to be as a leader. I think that it is very important for a business to be able to transform their employees to pursue the business goals and objectives over their self-interests.
– – Mitchell Chrenka, Owosso, Michigan