Mgmt 370 – Quality Operations – Spring 2013 TC

Posted here are the thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 370 Class – Ferris State University, Traverse City

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Posts From Students:

Erica Hamilton – Nathan Blue – Leslie Nowlin – Michelle Autry – Kevin Rideoutt – Bryan Ruediger – Shane Workman – Heather Marshall – Julie Lautner – Richard Rice

I BELIEVE that everyone has potential…

Leaders recognize potential.  They can see potential in themselves and then use it to its maximum capacity; they can also sense it in others.  Leaders help motivate others to use their personal potential—they do not help others take the “easy out” or complete challenges for them.  Rather, a good leader can identify when her or his peers are in need of encouragement, a better self esteem, or a little inspiration.  Further, leaders know how to foster that inspiration and use it as a driving force within themselves and in those who surround them.  A true leader is not one who requires credit for other peoples’ accomplishments, but one who gains personal satisfaction in knowing that they have helped that person get to where they didn’t know was possible.  Leaders can help turn potential into confidence.

As a team leader throughout this course, I was actually able to do this.  In the beginning of the semester, once roles were assigned, it was apparent that my team was unsure about the class.  My job was to help my team members find their inner strength and recognize their potential.  When compared to previous experiences working with groups, I could tell (and was grateful for the fact) that I was given a handful of truly competent people to work beside for the semester—I just had to get them to believe too.

But before any of this, I had to know for sure that I was up for the tasks at hand.  Becoming an Operations Manager meant understanding that it was ultimately my fault if we were to fail, some assignments would be my responsibility totally, and most of the time I would need to know all of the answers, or at least where to find them.  My content knowledge would need to be much greater than my teammates’; as they would often times expectantly come to me for advice.  I needed to dig deep, and believe in my potential—only then could I get others to do the same.  This meant “reading-up” on what it takes to head small groups, studying the syllabus and ultimately accomplishing the smallest of goals—like collaborating on a great “team name” and making a decision.

Once I had gained my confidence as a team leader, I was able to motivate my team members by striving to understand what each team member was already good at, working to expand that person’s horizons in their own managerial category based on those personal qualities, and then enthusiastically communicating this knowledge to the entire group.  This really seemed to work well.   Some of my teammates were extremely well-organized, some had vast knowledge of things incomprehensible to me (like information technology), some were outspoken, some were invaluable when it came to “crunching numbers,” and some were true idealists.  Once we knew this of each other, the nerves seemed to almost disappear.  We grew confident in each-others abilities; we became invested in one another and in the projects at hand.

This course has shown me that even though I am not the most intelligent, best looking, or most outspoken individual, I am capable of being a leader because I believe in people and their potential.  In other words, those who sincerely want others to shine may end up shining just as brightly.

– – Erica Hamilton, Cadillac, Michigan

Leadership: What I Believe

                Every person in this world has their own opinion on leadership. Some believe that it is alright to lead with an iron fist, while others believe that kindness and compassion are the keys to successful leadership. My opinion on leadership is a complex and very particular in its definition, and how it is to be carried out.

A wise man named Warren Bennis once stated about leadership, “The point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, and use yourself completely – all of 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 quote is somewhat related to my opinion of what real leadership is. I believe that in addition to Warren Bennis, it is important for a leader to be able to sympathize with those who are being lead. Also, it is important for a leader to truly understand what is like to complete the job at hand as well as those who are being lead. A leader would most likely not be very successful if they are unable to understand what it takes to complete the job at hand. A leader also has to be able to allow for adjustments in the process of completing the job at hand in order to make improvements in quality or speed of completion.

From taking a class in Operations Management, I have learned several different ways of measuring and adjusting the process of completing a job in order to speed up the process. I learned how to calculate time studies to measure the duration of a particular station. I also learned how to find ways to re-arrange the flow of the production process in order to speed up production and to lower the labor costs by removing un-needed employees. The ways that a person can effectively measure and implement these solutions is to think critically and realize how changes can not only improve the flow of the operation, but it can even make things worse. The skills I learned in the Operations Management class allows me to understand how to effectively improve the time it takes for the completion of a job, as well as how to understand the possible risks for new implementations, while understanding the benefits.

In becoming a good leader, a person also needs to be themselves. I can be a very compassionate person, as well as think outside the box. These qualities are important for a good leader to have. By taking the class for Operations Management, I have learned philosophies and processes to improve my skillset and be able to understand what it takes too effectively improve the completion of the job. Taking into count my skill of creating bold ideas, and the workings of effective management in this class, I can combine this with the knowledge of a good leader, and become a good leader by just being myself.

After learning the skills in this Operations Management class, my opinion on how an effective leader should be has not changed, but has improved. My opinion of a leader is that they need to be compassionate to those who are being lead. In addition to that, they need to understand the process of how the job needs to be completed. From taking this class, I have learned what to look for to improve the process, and how these new ideas can be used to improve the process in terms of speed, and quality of final product.

– – Nathan Blue, Traverse City, Michigan

I Believe in the Power of Passion

A true leader knows how to inspire, not only others but themselves.  A leader is passionate; it is this passion that attracts others.  In order to be passionate about anything, you must know yourself and be confident in your strengths and ability to overcome your weaknesses.

My primary goal is not to be a leader.  My goal is to do the best that I can in everything I do and enjoy the process.  Being a leader is simply a byproduct of my goal. Two of my greatest strengths are my confidence and passion.  I know with the right tools and resources I can achieve anything that I am passionate about.

One of my passions is helping others in any way that I can.  I know in order to keep something I have to give it away. If one of my strengths is someone else’s weakness, I try to share it with them.  For example, I try to share my confidence and teach the importance of it with those that need it most by volunteering to present to all of the senior high school students from the seven surrounding school districts every year.  I also volunteer on the board of directors of the New Hope Homeless Shelter.  My professional background is Human Resources, so I share my knowledge and assist with their hiring processes, personnel management, and help ensure they remain compliant with any rules and regulations.

Alternately, if someone else’s strength is one of my weaknesses, I try to learn from them.  Every day is a learning experience.  One of my greatest weaknesses was public speaking.  I still have room to improve, but I have made significant progress through practice and watching others and their presentation styles.  I have also found that the topic greatly impacts my level of comfort.  I do much better if the topic is something that I am passionate about and have knowledge about.

Whether I am the student or teacher, I am learning from the experience.  Every experience, success or failure, helps to shape who I am as I grow as a person and professional.  My favorite quote is by Earl Shoaf, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.  Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills.  Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.”

So my goal is to continue to be passionate about everything that I do.  I can only hope I can lead others to find their passions as well in the process.  We all will succeed or fail together as a family, a community, a state, a country, a world.  My vote and effort will be in trying to succeed.  Will yours?

– – Leslie Nowlin, Cadillac, Michigan

Bringing out the Leader in all of us

I believe Leadership is a quality that one must see.  I do not believe in the statement that some people are just naturally born leaders, but I do I believe that everyone has the ability to become a leader it is just that some recognize it before others . You need to make the decision to change, to grow, and to put the good of the company in front of your beliefs and desires. You need to adapt your skills to help draw out the leadership skills in others. Leaders need to realize the strengths and weaknesses of the team.  They need to use those strengths to promote leadership skills in all of their members.

As a leader, it is your job to encourage your workers.  Bring out their strengths by letting them know they are doing a good job. Praise can go a long way for some.  Make sure you have open communication polices with in your team.  It is important in helping all your members to strive for their full potential.  Leaders need to realize they do not need to do it all.  Delegate tasks; allow the strengths of others to be an advantage.

Effective leadership is essential in any organization.   Having effective leadership can help your organization to obtain a competitive advantage. Effective leadership will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your organization. To be an effective leader you need to lead by example. You need to work towards a clear vision with clear goals.

The key component of effective leadership is in the power the leader has to influence other people’s behavior to work towards a goal in the organization. Good leaders will take steps to make sure they have a sufficient level of, Legitimate, Expert, Reward, Coercive, and Referent power.  These powers are the way they influence others.  The key is how they use that power.

Your employees need to realize that you do not need to be a manager in a company to be a leader. Leadership is not how high on the totem pole you are but how well you use your skills to encourage others to step in that role as well. The saying you are as only as good as your team: effective leaders will enhance the leadership skills in other employees.  Allow your team members to step out of their comfort zone and grow. The most effective leaders bring out the leader in others.

– – Michelle Autry, Traverse City, Michigan

I Believe… Friends WANT to Help You

I have found that I give my best work to my friends. If my friends need help with something, I give it my all to get it done with the best results possible. If someone I do not like very well asks me to complete a task, I will get it done, but most likely with a minimum effort and as quickly as possible. This is why I feel the best leader I can become, is one with authority, but also a connection of friendship to each employee.

I have been a manager or supervisor in a couple jobs so far in my short 28 years. In both instances, I was promoted from amongst the ranks of basic level employees because I showed talent in leadership. In both cases I kept my relationship to the employees the same as before, except I now had to ask them to do things for me. I never demanded anyone get something done. Once in a great while, I had to step past the friendship line, and ask them to complete a task I knew they would not like. I found that asking them to help me out with a task, rather than telling them they had to do it, got the best results. If the task was particularly unpleasant, I would help right along with them if possible to show that I did not consider myself above them in any way.

I found that I needed to stay true to myself in order to become a leader. I’ve had many bosses that barked orders and would not lift a finger to help with any of those tasks. Those supervisors were never well liked. I am the kind of person who wants everyone to like him. In order to keep true to myself, I had to avoid becoming someone who demanded things of their employees like a dictator. This does not always work the best, especially when some of your friends and/or employees are not very good at taking direction or criticism well. Then I have been forced to tell them to get something done, rather than ask. Because I am their friends, there are no hard feelings though.  I have found throughout many business classes and jobs, you cannot always be everyone’s friend, all the time.

Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone and be a capable leader. This does not, however, mean you have to change who you are. If you feel you can get best results by befriending your employees, then stick to that. Everyone would rather work along-side friends anyways. It makes for a more pleasant work environment, which also contributes to higher productivity. Happy people work harder and longer. Therefore friends want to work for friends, not dictators. I will not be changing my leadership style anytime soon because I love working with my friends.

– – Kevin Rideoutt, Traverse City, Michigan

My Vision of Leadership

I believe a good leader is involved, empowering, compassionate, and an ample resource.  In past experiences a leader can be overbearing or invisible, you must find a medium to become a good leader.  One way to help ensure strong leaders is to empower them and their team members.  Also, teams should be in manageable sizes, if a team is too small or too large a leader or a member may not succeed.  My views on a leadership style has been fine-tuned throughout college courses but are formed by my hands on experiences.  In the past, I have worked in small companies, restaurants, and large companies I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to leadership.  Seeing it hands on then learning the styles and techniques have made it possible for me to define my leadership philosophy and style.  A good leader is made up by more than the ability to lead well.  To be seen as a good leader you must of a good team behind you.  Your team must one enjoy their work, two must feel empowered to make choices, three must also be flexible and understanding.

Currently, I am fortunate to have a good job which has career potential.  As with some of the greatest examples I have seen of good leaders and teamwork.  Everyone is looking to help our clients which create easier jobs for all.  The company is striving to move toward a more autonomy work environment which empowers all employees to make decisions based on the company’s best interest.  During the beginning parts of the semester I was applying to become a part of the management team.  Because of the size of the company everyone that applied had to do a project, the project was a paper and pie chart.  The project was to describe how much of the day and what tasks I feel would make up a managers day.  I can look back and describe what makes a good leader and how I can meet my expectations to become one.  However, it was very challenge to really break it down.  I believe that if I could redo this project after taking Operation Management I would have been able to explain techniques and management styles to explain my ideal leader.

– – Bryan Ruediger, Traverse City, Michigan

I Believe!

I believe that Warren Bennis’s quote is entirely accurate, especially so in today’s business environment. I often tell people it’s important to be a leader and not a boss. To which I believe is the same sentiment as Bennis’s quote. Your employees are more likely to follow a leader and inspirer, over a demanding non-giving boss.

A quote by David Gergen explains what my vision of leadership is. ”A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” Leadership is about giving inspiration to those around him or her so that they can achieve a common goal, whether that is in business or on the field of battle. Not only to inspire, you must also push so that they achieve personally, not just as a group or whole. Personal achievement is the most rewarding and it’s that gratification that can change a person.

Knowledge is power and knowledge is experience, so the information learned in this class can only carry me forward in becoming the person I see myself becoming. Whether it’s information attained in a classroom, experience on the site, or just simply reading books; any new knowledge helps you make a more informed decision. And as we all know; success comes from good decisions, good decisions come from experience, and experience come from bad decisions and knowledge.

I’ve always been a natural leader in many aspects of my life. I’ve been captain of many of my sports teams, most group projects I would lead. Often I feel misplaced when I’m not the leader, it feels natural to me. However being a leader is ever changing and there is always room for improvement. The corner stone of being a leader is having the ability to be open-minded, it is crucial to be able to entertain others idea’s. Aristotle said it best when he stated, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

I believe that people should always be evolving, what is true of today may not necessarily be the truths of tomorrow. Everyday widely popular ideals are being debunked or tweaked as new evidence presences itself. This is true of every field of study, from math to leadership. So with that being said, I feel that my leadership style is also continually evolving based on new experiences, courses taken, and other knowledge that I attain.

– – Shane Workman, Traverse City, Michigan

One Direction

I believe that all leadership begins with direction.  Direction is the key to guiding your employees in order to get the result that you desire.

This is something that I have learned over the course of many years in the workforce (and real world in general).  Without clear direction, people are lost and have no idea where to go.  Direction provides order and that is necessary to complete a task.  Once direction is given and an end goal is provided, it gives an employee the freedom to complete the task they best way they can.  They have a starting point, a direction it needs to go, and what the end result should be.

Too many times I have seen a department with no direction and no clear leader to provide that direction.  A leader needs to be extremely decisive and take charge of all situations.  Employees need clear answers.  It is extremely frustrating to go to a “boss” and ask a question and they have an “I don’t know” answer.  They should never say that, but advise that they don’t have the answer at that moment (if they don’t) and that they will get a definitive answer for them soon.

Companies cannot expect their employees to perform their job at top capacity if they aren’t given the tools to complete their tasks.  Direction is at the heart of that.  To be a good leader you need to provide direction at every turn and be able to make decisions.

I am experiencing this at work right now.  Our department has been without a true “supervisor” for quite some time and it’s frustrating to get some things done.  There is no one to provide real direction and to say who needs to do something or what needs to be done.  Nobody has really taken on the role intermediary because they don’t want to come off “bossy.”  So the department is functioning, but would run more smoothly if there was a leader in place or someone to provide direction.  That’s all that is needed, just a direction to go.

The good news is that a supervisor will be instilled soon and the hope of order and direction is just around the corner!

– – Heather Marshall, Suttons Bay, Michigan

I Believe in Inspiration

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”  — John Quincy Adams

Leadership is inspiration. I believe that a good leader inspires others to realize their potential and be confident in themselves and the decisions they make. A leader is someone who embraces every situation as it comes, and is able to adapt to and overcome obstacles. Some say that people are born leaders, and while some people are born with more defined leadership qualities, I believe that anyone can learn to be a leader. That is the great thing about leaders: everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and can utilize them to their advantage in order to learn and grow.

In order to become a great leader, you need to be aware of the people in your team. It is important to understand who they are and acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses and appropriately delegate tasks so that they get the job done and improve themselves during the process.  I realize that, first and foremost, communication it key. Find the means of communication that works and use it. Praise people when they do well, and help them learn from the experience if they can improve. Learning opportunities are always there and it is the leader’s responsibility to embrace them.

I am learning to have confidence in my abilities, to find my voice, and to not question my judgment so much. When I have the necessary information to make an executive decision, I need to make it and be ok with it. I have learned that it is not only appropriate to delegate, but it is necessary. I used to have the mentality that I would do everyone to ensure that it got done to a high standard, but now I recognize that you need to instill trust in your teammates, maintain open, honest communication, and do not be afraid to bring problems to the table that need to be addressed.

I do not think that there is one leadership style. I think that every situation dictates the need to be able to adapt your leadership style to the circumstances and the people in order to be effective. Everyone learns different, and as long as you maintain the basics (communication, trust, opportunity for growth and improvement on both the professional and personal level, and the ability to adapt) you can apply your leadership style to any situation.

– – Julie Lautner, Traverse City, Michigan

I BELIEVE that leaders should take part…

            Leadership is about showing others what to do, by doing.  In my experience, the best leaders are not those who make demands and force others to do jobs that they themselves are unwilling to do.  The best leaders encourage others to make and meet goals.  The best leaders show others how best to do a job by doing it themselves.  The best leaders lead by example.  To be a leader you have to be in front, showing those behind you how to achieve what you are all working towards.

My views about leadership have been formed in much the same way.  I have seen good leaders at work and at school.  I have learned how to lead by seeing others lead well, in a way that I responded to.  The best leaders don’t just get the job done, they bring out the best in every person who follows them.  I believe that the simplest way to get a person to do a job well is to let them see you do it well.  This helps to show them that it is possible to meet the standards that you expect.  Every time that I have seen my leaders trying their hardest to achieve something, it makes me want to try my hardest as well.

Having seen this trait in the leaders whom I admire most, I will always attempt to emulate them in this respect.  In order to  become a good leader, I will always try to lead how I would want others to lead me.  It is important to share goals with the team and stay visible, so that everyone can see that you are putting in just as much effort as they are to meet those goals.  I am becoming myself in the process of becoming a leader by acknowledging the fact that I need to become a leader who I myself would want to follow.

A commander sits back and tells others what they need to do.  A leader shows others what they should do by being the first to do it.  I will always try to remember this when given responsibility for others.  I am glad to have learned how to lead from the leaders whom I most wanted to follow.

– – Richard Rice, Traverse City, Michigan

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