Posted here are the thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 302 Class – Ferris State University campus in Traverse City.
Posts From Students:
Analise Hanson – Donna Corbin – Justin Rice – Joshua Perrault – Brittany Langlois – Jessica Moore – Henry Tamminga
I Believe in Me!
Leadership can be one of the most important aspects when making your mark on the world. Some people are born with natural qualities while others develop skills and growth through their experiences. To me leadership has combined both nature and nurture aspects of life. Having to grow up in a single parent home for a majority of life has brought aspects to my tendency of leadership that are both good and bad.
Leadership should not be defined because it differs from every person and every situation, it is a learning process and in order to be a good leader you truly need to be vulnerable. Let all guards and walls down and truly embrace every aspect and decision full on, learning and evaluating the growth and decline that come with it. I feel that I will never reach the aspects of being a great leader, when I die the lessons I have learned and experiences I have encountered will never be enough to be defined as great. I may develop along the way and truly learn to lead as well as to follow, but I feel there is something to be learned in every situation and it is up to you as a person to show the commitment to the growth of who you want to be.
One of the biggest life lessons I have learned was when I was a part of NMC Professional Communications service learning project, Food for Thought. Throughout this experience I realized that being a leader does not mean controlling all the aspects and making sure everything is perfect. A leader should not manage others; they should be there to support and embrace others while quietly being the best you can be so others can gain from the experience. When the class first started we were asked if we wanted to lead the project, normally I would have said yes because I like to be in control; however I stepped back and lead from a different position. I offered advice when it was needed and took more of a secretary role. Prior to this class I always felt that people needed to be told what to do and when to do it and that was leadership. By stepping back and allowing other class mates to truly shine I learned more about myself then I will take from any other class. I did change my mind as to the style of leadership, I realized it is not always about being right and in control it is more about being able to adapt and let things work out. You cannot expect everything to go the way you want in life and being able to accept that through this project has forever shaped me.
When we are young we all have a vision of where we want to be when we grow up, little do we know, but life will take us on a complete different journey. Embrace the journey with all you have, live your life with no regrets learn from the past and let it go, spread your wings and let life shape you. Allow the walls to come down, disappointment will encounter every chance it gets, fight through it, be strong, be dedicated, be passionate and you will find yourself. Once you have discovered the path you shall take, be loyal to it stand up for what you believe in and allow others recommendations to mold you. Always believe in yourself!
– – Analise Hanson, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe In Following to Be a True Leader
From the time we are able to walk, we follow a leader. We follow our parents, older siblings, grandparents, daycare providers, teachers, peers and so on. For some of us, when we reach teen status, we think we are born leaders. What we do not realize is that we are still developing. Eventually, we achieve a level of development where we consciously realize we are a leader. We just do not know the most effective ways to lead. In most cases, leadership in our young minds is in a distorted context. We search for control of our own lives and sometimes those of others. What isn’t often realized at an early age is that we must first become a good follower in order to be a true leader.
True leadership is learned through many things in life, but following is one of great importance. Life experiences often provide unexpected challenges where we are forced to make that choice: to follow or be followed. Life took me down a path of several losses of the leaders in my life. When I most needed to follow, my leaders disappeared, were taken away, or just plain gave up. These occurrences distorted my idea of leadership. I felt the only way to succeed as a leader was to take control and build walls to protect myself. I experienced many more difficult times where this idea of leadership challenged my ways. Why should I follow another leader when leaders leave? This was often the first question when I arrived in a new situation. It took me awhile to realize, it is okay to follow. It is okay that leaders in your life disappear because those you have followed, no matter the length of time, have taught you great leadership lessons. You just have to acknowledge the messages.
Once the messages received (which often seem encoded at the time) are decoded or unraveled in terms of understanding, one can begin to adapt their leadership style to a variety of situations. This is what I have learned to do. I practice this because people are individuals like me, and have their own story. They too, will find their own way when given enough tools. In the past, the approach I used was strictly a directive one. One that is strong, forthright, and often overbearing. Following opportunities and most of all, others, has assisted me in locating additional attributes which contribute to my alternative leadership styles. It is never too late to learn from life’s lessons. Life’s most difficult challenges have helped shape me into who I am today… a leader to some, but a follower of many.
– – Donna Corbin, Traverse City, Michigan
The Complexities of Leadership
I believe that leadership is a skill that requires much more than what people may realize. Leadership to me is the balanced combination of confidence, support, direction, and creativity. When a member of a group takes initiative and helps others to achieve the goals of the group as a whole, they are practicing true leadership. Although there is usually a pre-conceived notion of what a leader should be like, there are many very different leadership styles that can give a team an advantage. Each situation may have its own specific goals or problems to overcome, but the best leader would be someone who is strong in the areas that need help so that they will be able to direct the team in a way that lets them reach their goals.
The things I have learned about leadership and the things that are involved in becoming a good leader have really helped me to understand what I have to do in order to achieve my individual goals while helping others to achieve theirs as well. When faced with situations that require leadership I feel that I am much more equipped with the skills and knowledge that I need in order to be there for a group when I need to. In the process of becoming a team leader I am also becoming myself. I have learned that using the characteristics and attributes that my personality consists of allows me to provide a group with traits that they might not have otherwise had the chance to see or use to their advantage. Each person has specific strengths and weaknesses that a team can identify and work around to become the most efficient and productive group that they can be.
As a result of learning about leadership and the many styles and complexities that come with it, I have changed my mind as to what leadership style I should use. By hearing from many other students about their preferred leaders, I have seen many that prefer a woman over a man because they seem to be more supportive than directive. Although this isn’t always true, I believe that if I started portraying a more supportive role while also providing the right amount of direction I can be a very effective leader.
– – Justin Rice, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe in Caring
I believe that in order to be a successful leader you need to care, care about the people you are leading as well as he success or failure of the team. The most successful leaders take an interest in the people they are working with as well as an unwavering devotion to the success of the team. If a leader takes an interest and cares about the people they are working with, they will be able to better understand where they are coming from and why they do what they do. The leader can then adjust his or her leadership style to best suit that person. This ensures that the leader is getting the maximum performance out of each group member. If a person has a personal connection with their leader they will often do whatever it takes to succeed to not let the leader down.
Being a successful leader does not only involving caring about the individuals which are being led but also a commitment to the success of the team. If the leader does not care about the success of the team then how could they expect the other members of the team to care about its success or failure? A leader must be a coach as well as a model for the other members and encourage them to success and show them how. I have had leaders in the past who are not good leaders because they really didn’t care about the success or failure of the project, this not only affected their performance but it brought down the whole group who was merely acting as their leader was acting. To be a great leader you need to have a fire and a passion for success and be extremely motivated to do whatever it takes to motivate the team and do what is necessary to get the project done. A team could have the most motivated individuals but a team leader with a poor attitude can destroy all motivation and can cause unrest within the team rather than cohesion as a good team should have.
In conclusion the two main steps in becoming a successful leader are to take an interest in your employees and adjust you styles accordingly as well as truly care about the success of the project and be a model for how you would want others to perform.
— Joshua Perrault, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe Essay in Team Engagement
I believe that the most important foundation that a team can have is each individual being engaged in regards to the team. Engagement, to me, is a team member who is excited to become involved and eager to be an active member of the team. An engaged “employee” or team member is going to be more productive and task oriented; this too applies to engaged leaders. A leader who is considered to be engaged will also get better results from their team. When a leader is enthusiastic about the task at hand and can provide positive feedback for his/her team, it is likely that their team will want to become involved.
I also believe that an “open-door” policy is crucial to the success of a leader; communication is key to creating a good team environment. If the team feels that they can speak freely, they are more likely to make suggestions for projects or on how to improve operations. I feel that a good leader would involve their team in decision making, especially in “team” atmosphere. Obviously there will be situations where the leader will have to take the reins and make the ultimate decision; however, in many cases the team’s input is necessary for the success of a project. If the leader exercises good communication, then the team is likely to follow in their footsteps; therefore making the team work together more efficiently.
I feel that this class has already made a difference in my leadership style; I have learned that I need to be more trusting of my team. This includes being able to delegate tasks to team members, allowing them to reap the benefits of success. I am fortunate that I work for a company that promotes “team building” throughout all levels of management. Although we do have assigned roles, such as manager, teller, teller supervisor, etc, we still manage to keep a “team” like atmosphere. We encourage our “employees” to make suggestions for improvement; we also ask for their help with difficult branch decisions. With the knowledge I have gained throughout this course, I feel that I am becoming a better leader. I am allowing myself to rely on my team, and not feel like I need to carry them. I am pleased with the changes I have seen in myself and eager to learn more.
– – Brittany Langlois, Traverse City, Michigan
I BELIEVE IN UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
I believe leadership is enrichment and encouragement. I believe a good leader will help enrich the people on their team. Leader with good leadership skills should help them get their fullest out of every learning experience. They themselves need to have the ability to learn from a person that is under their rank. Leadership is to encourage the team to do better and think of ways to improve in every situation possible. Leadership is being open to the ideas of improvement and not be overly forceful or arrogant. Leadership is the ability to communicate openly without making someone feel like they are less than you. Leadership is to share unlimited potential with a team. To teach a team that anything is possible as long as they work together to find the proper solution.
I will push to become a better communicator. I know that communication is a big part of being a great leader. However, it has to go beyond communication. A good leader has to truly care about each member of the team and what the team is doing. I have learned that to be a good leader I have to learn how to read my team. I good leader knows when one of their team mates is having a hard day and doesn’t want anyone to know or if they are struggling with something but they are scared to ask questions. A good leader has the ability to help in these situations without a teammate feeling like they are being put down or having their personal stuff brought in front of everyone. I have learned that not everything can be done as a team and as a leader I may have to make some really tough decisions. I have learned how to analyze a situation and brainstorm decisions. Then go through the pros and cons of each solution to decide which would work best for the group as a whole, not just individual people. I have learned that being a leader is to show a team that they have endless potential.
I am learning now that communication is the strongest form of leadership. I am learning that I can be a great communicator and that I am great at getting what I want to say out without hurting anyone by what I say. I am learning that even though I don’t like conflict that there is good conflict and bad. Conflict is not something to be afraid of but something to be embraced because it can move you forward to a better solution or show what situations are not good solutions.
Have I changed my mind as to what my leadership style should be as a result of what I learned? No, but I have learned how to be a better leader within my leadership style.
– – Jessica Moore, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe, So I Lead
Leadership is asked of many, but can only be given by a few. It seems to me that in every class I take there is an emphasis on becoming a leader, developing skills, and changing people. You can teach about leadership and what a good leader would do, but it is much harder to make leaders. To be a leader there needs to be some innate ability. I feel that I have some ability and desire to lead.
To be a good lead you need to be humble, and yet you need to be proud. You need to punish, yet have compassion. You need to be committed, yet you need to have balance. You need to be humble because no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. When a leader makes a mistake they need to admit it. Leaders need to be proud, proud of their cause, proud of their team, and proud of themselves. If a leader is not proud and not willing to fight for their beliefs or team they are not suited to be a leader. There will be times when a leader will have issues with a subordinate and there will need to be punishment in order for the leader to keep the respect of the others. At the same time a good leader will show compassion, and not punish too severely. A good leader is committed to their cause. They work hard and have passion. Balance is what good leaders posses. They know how to take time off to refocus, relax, and not get burned out before their goal is accomplished.
In this class what I realized was there should be some emphasis on how to be a follower, how to listen, how to work for someone else. I have had other classes that were the same in that their focus was leadership, and there are some people who are just not made to be leaders, but they still are hard works. As for leadership this class did to teach me a few things about myself. I learned how to deal with conflicts. Learning about leadership styles helped me to realize that I am more of a coaching leader boarding on directing leader.
I feel that learning a bit more about my leadership skills and what to focus on to be a better leader; I will be and effective leader. I know what it is to have balance with work and pleasure. I know what and when compassion needs to be given. I know what it is to be proud and yet have humility.
– – Henry Tamminga, Traverse City, Michigan