Thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 302 Class – Ferris State University campus in Traverse City, Michigan
Posts From Students:
Ryan Little – Adam Richter – Aaron Zacharias – Jillissa Heitger – Preston Geers – Spencer Anderson – Justin Rabish
Leaders are Servants and Readers
To begin an essay with a quote creates a good begin. With our class theme being, “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.” This really allows a smooth transition into what I feel a leader should be.
With my title, Leaders are Servants and Readers, I try to capture what a leader must have to succeed. First, leaders must be servants. In a position of leadership a team is only as strong as its leader. If the leader puts the team first and works to bring out the best in each individual and in turn the team, the leader will be viewed as a dynamic person and manager. However, with the lack of serving ones subordinates it can really become a disorganized mess that causes people to feel neglected and also become bitter. If a leader constantly gives attention to the situation at hand, becomes a great listener and meets the needs of their subordinates, the subordinates in turn will follow through on what needs to be done in order to achieve success.
The second focus of a leader is that they are readers. If a leader does not stay up to date on their surroundings, both with in the organization as well as the world around the organization, it is difficult to meet the needs of their team. Without a leader keeping up to date on the industry in which the organization does business it will be near impossible to provide his or her team with the information they need to succeed. In today’s world of fast moving and changing technology there is not one industry that does not get affected with change. It has simply becomes a world of separation of the haves and haves not by understanding that you must change with the times. For those that don’t change, they will find themselves behind the industry standard and out of business. It doesn’t matter if a leader is at entry-level manager of a corporation or a small business owner that makes all the decisions this holds true.
My personal view on leadership is always working towards a win/win situation as much as possible. When I conduct business, it is my goal to always give great products and service to any individual or group that needs what I have. By doing my best to lead, both my team, and myself we are able to bring things to the negotiation table that most cannot. I firmly believe that our success falls into place because I am an adamant servant and reader. Because I am so fervent on making sure I keep up to date on what I am doing, my intrapersonal knowledge is very high and this serves well in taking care of my team and day-to-day life. My servant attitude has created a team that really enjoys bringing there best to the business everyday and focusing on winning. Winning for us and winning for our customers.
– – Ryan Little, Traverse City, Michigan
My Leadership Vision
I believe the best quality’s in leadership are not how you look or how well you speak; being a good leader involves preparation and accepting responsibility even when you don’t want too. Are you a leader who delegates by the whim of your pants and expects nothing but the best? Or do you lay out the days tasks with a thoughtful and analytical approach expecting results but willing to take responsibility for any short comings? If I was someday to be placed in a position of leadership, hopefully I would display the latter and lead with a high level of integrity, empathy and the ability to provide mentorship.
Do my follower’s trust me and know without a doubt I will go to bat and stand up for whatever circumstances that arise? Do they know I will take responsibility for whatever problems they encounter? My success as a leader hinges on this high level of trust and integrity that will give my follower’s the motivation to reach beyond their limits and empower them to take innovated risks to find success.
Will I be a boss that keeps an emotional distance from my follower’s or will I reach out to them when I sense they be struggling with something or someone outside of the office? Will I be one of those bosses whose only care is about deadlines and not the well-being of my follower’s? Caring for someone is basic human need that needs to be felt by my follower’s. They must understand that above all I will be there for them. If I don’t show that I care, my tenure as a leader will be a short one for sure.
Will my follower’s be able to get the job done without any guidance from me? In some cases they just might, but if someone is struggling will I turn my back on them and hope they can figure out whatever issue they may be realizing? My leadership ability may be put to the test here but if I don’t provide some type of mentorship and point the person in the right direction, everything I have worked for as a trusted, empathetic leader will go to hell in a hand basket very quickly.
Most leadership qualities are attained from within and I believe after many years of working under numerous management styles, I possess the proper qualities to be an effective leader. I will say, yes I do have many more things to learn about effective leadership but one thing is for certain; I believe in me!
– – Adam Richter, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe Without a Good Foundation, No Good Leader Can Stand
Leadership comes with its benefits. The leader, after all, has the most control of the group and usually has some perks being in that position. Like Mel Brooks said, “It’s good to be the King!” But with these benefits, also come responsibility. The leader is responsible not only for him or herself, but with all the members of the group. I believe a certain attitude or point-of-view that the leader takes with this responsibility is the core foundation that makes a good leader and it is this: any success of the group is because of the group’s members, and any failure of the group is because of the leader.
A leader must remember that he or she stands on the shoulders on the members of the group, and no success can come without the team holding him or her up. All praise and credit therefore should go to the group as a whole. On the other side, failure of the group should fall solely on the leader. All cases of not coming up to the group’s full potential can be traced to some kind of shortcoming of the leader. If a member of the group doesn’t get a task done in time, the leader should have taken a more active role and knew about any difficulties that member might be having.
This of course isn’t one hundred percent realistic, there are incidents of group success because of the leader and causes of failure because of an individual member, but the leader should always have the belief that success is of the group and failure is of his or her own. This attitude will go a long way in gaining respect of the group. Also, this isn’t to say that the leader shouldn’t highlight an individual group member’s effort that goes beyond what is expected nor discipline a certain member’s shortcoming.
Once a leader has this attitude, leadership styles and techniques can be used to build upon this foundation to become a good leader.
– – Aaron Zacharias, Nicollet, Minnesota
I Believe in Self-Managed Teams
My vision of leadership is that everyone should be allowed to work in groups and be able to handle all the goals they need to be achieved. Group work is about the greatest way to be effective when a task needs to be done. It’s better because you have the ability to split up the task that way all aspects are focused on rather than just one person trying to make the deadline. Also, teams are helpful because if one member is struggling then another can give ideas on how to do that particular task or just help out.
I will be taking everything that I have learned into account. I’ve have always had to ability to be a leader and delegate task but now I have more knowledge of the struggles individuals have. Even though I was just the marketing manager in our group; I helped out our operations manager a lot. I really know that trying to keep everyone on the same page is a difficult task especially with all of the issues with everyone’s personal schedule. I have learned that in a group it really takes everyone to help out with organizing meetings, especially when it deals with your particular tasks. I have also learned that groups sometimes can work without meeting all the time, but it’s nice to meet or keep communication up that way everyone feels comfortable with addressing their concerns or questions.
I have really learned how to broaden my type of leadership. I haven’t necessarily changed the type I use, but I have learned that I can alter it to help me work well with other types of teams. Every team will have different individuals in it, such as ones who like clear, cut instructions and also ones that just want the general idea. When I have these different types of members I will have to alter the way I work with each one. Also, there are always people who really aren’t the greatest at making decisions on their own and that can be difficult for any leader, but it gives me knowledge that when I’m leader and I have an member like that, that I will have to take charge.
In overall view of what I have learned from this course, I do now know that a team leader needs to be flexible. Flexible in the sense of being able to change the way you look at things as well as the way you do things to benefit all the different personalities in the group. I have also learned that it is alright for the team leader to ask for help from the team, especially when you are having trouble with connecting with many or just one employee.
– – Jillissa Heitger, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe Leadership is an Art
In terms of leadership, I believe Dwight D. Eisenhower said it best; “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Any quality leader knows that leadership goes far beyond giving others direction. The key from Eisenhower’s quote is in the last six words; because he wants to do it. Evidence of poor leadership is when a focus is placed on forcing one’s actions. A leader’s first priority should be to gain their subordinates trust and respect. Once a leader has earned this trust and respect, they can begin the next step of motivating. Motivation is an art form all in itself, but without the trust and respect of those you plan to lead, motivating will prove nearly impossible.
Coming into this course, I knew I had much to be taught in the art of leadership. A principal reason why I lacked leadership knowledge was because I lacked leadership experience. Other than a few various school projects or sports teams, I really had not been given the opportunity to lead. Throughout this semester, the Organization Behavior class has shown me what makes a great leader, as well as identifying my own weaknesses, and where I can improve. One central lesson that I have taken away from this class and will always remember is: the process of becoming a leader is truly more of a process of becoming oneself. There are no factory made leaders. Everyone has the capability of becoming a true leader whether they know it or not. Many different types of leaders exist, but the role of a leader is not exclusive to a set number of individuals. What is important is that a person takes the gifts they have been given, and utilizes those gifts to guide others. John Quincy Adams once stated: “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” It is not about height, looks, or how loud ones voice is. Leadership is an art. Leaders lead. It’s that simple.
– – Preston Geers, Roscommon, Michigan
I Believe That Leadership is Complex
I believe that leadership is complex and cannot be described by just one term such as diplomatic or authoritarian. My view of leadership has tow main parts, the first is a leader that takes into account the input of others and makes them feel like they have been heard, but also passing on the knowledge that you are the one that makes the final decision. Second, a leader must be nurturing, helping to foster the development of those that are being led by taking every step that they can to develop different methods to improve and broaden their skills and knowledge. While I state that the previous two points are what I consider to be the most important that does not mean that they are the only things that a leader should do or be, each leader should add to these based on their own experiences and based upon those that are being led. This is the style of leadership that I have developed from the information and teaching that I have gained from this course.
I will take what I have learned in this class and it will allow me to become a better leader and more importantly help me to become a more desirable person for hire. The information that has been passed onto myself will come as a valuable commodity in the future and I am very happy and grateful for that. This information and guidance will help to shape the way that I will lead when I am in a job, it wont be the main way that I shape my leadership style but it will serve as a frame that I will build upon. And it has helped in changing what I had developed as my leadership style before.
In the time before this class I had a style of leadership that some would call, dictatorial. I felt that leadership should be more of a give an order and expect it to be completed type of relationship. Then I took this course and started to realize that there is a certain level of give and take. That the role of a leader was not just to disseminate information and instructions but to nurture and foster a better employee and that helped change the way that I approach the leadership position as a whole and will help influence my work for years to come.
In conclusion, this course has given me an interesting new view on several subjects and has helped to develop my overall feeling on leadership and I thank Professor Armstrong for that.
– – Spencer Anderson, Traverse City, Michigan
Leading by Example
I Believe Leadership is simply a chance to use ones individual talents and gifts. It’s not just leading a group or a team, leadership is mentoring and listening, taking charge. Many leaders listen to what employees have to say and go the extra distance to make sure the job is not done, but done to the expectations of the company.
Leadership is mentoring or being an example. As a leader a person will set the stage of how to do a jab or a task. The leader always will be of good morals, and will have a good work ethic. Setting the stage and acting in a professional manor are two key traits of a great leader. Also, communication is a key trait to a great leader.
Communication is not just communicating to fellow colleagues. Sure, communicating of what is expected and how to perform a job or task is good, but listing to what they have to say is also a big part of leadership. Feedback from colleagues is a good thing. Make sure they know they are performing to standards and if not, find out why. It is a two way street. Make sure they are heard and make them feel like they are contributing to the work at hand.
Taking charge does not mean the leader has every last say, but when a dilemma does come up they know how to handle it. This would be problem solving skills. As a leader a person develops problem solving skills so when a tough scenario is at hand, the leader will know how to handle it. Many leaders are born with problem solving skills and develop them when needed.
I have been in leadership roles. This is the first class I have taken in leadership and now that I know what the leadership traits are, I can pursue my traits into my career. When I look back on my role as a leader, I have taken part in each one of these traits. I have assigned tasks, listened to employee’s thoughts and concerns, and fixed problems. Looking back these are traits that a good leader has.
Now that I know what the leadership traits are I can use the talents and gifts that I have to become a leader. I know what my strong leadership traits are and I can capitalize on them to be a leader. I have changed my mind about leadership. I can focus on my strengths. Leadership is not just taking control; it is good communication, listening, dedication, and problem solving skills that are developed.
– – Justin Rabish, Traverse City, Michigan