Mgmt 370 – Quality Operations – Spring 2013 TC – Pg. 2

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

Posts From Students:

William Humfleet – Sandra Lyle – Jon Link – Daniel Bonham – David Michalski – John Antosiak

I Believe a Leader is Someone Who Inspires

I believe a leader is someone who inspires those they lead to become better for themselves and the organization through the example they set. They look out for the company’s bottom line and improving their customers experience with their products and customer service without sacrificing either.

I have learned concepts in this class that I can use in the future, not only in my current job but also hopefully in the future when I have a chance to become a leader. It has helped me learn how to plan and organize projects and lead them to a successful end. It has shown me to look at the big picture, not just the parts I can see and interact with on a daily basis.

In my own experience I have taken to leading projects that affect the whole organization, and leading teams of skilled individuals utilizing their unique skills to the greatest effect. I have improved my customer support skills in ways that will benefit the m in ways they may not notice, but will make their lives more productive.

I have a greater respect for what it takes to be a leader through this class. I started my journey in the United States Air Force as a non-commissioned officer and what I have learned through day to day work experience, and now I will be able to add the skills gained here to improve every aspect of my work life. Being a leader is not just getting the job done, it’s gaining the trust and respect of those you lead, which in turn not only allows you to get the job done, but also get it done in style.

This class has changed my overall conception of what a leader is and how I would like to change to become a better one.

 – – Wayne Humfleet, Traverse City, Michigan

I Believe in Leadership that Guides

My vision of leadership is a person who has compassionate strength in dealing with others. Someone who has the ability to give direction and the willingness to stand back until needed, empowering others. Leadership must be strong in upholding ethical standards for all with the empathy to handle delicate situations on an individual basis. Leadership should be free with praise for good accomplishments and help for mistakes and errors.

I will take what I have learned to the real world. This was a new experience for me. This is the first time I have had to work with a team where we could not all meet at least once a week face to face. There is a great need for trust when working with others through the internet and phones. As a leader there is only so much that can be done over the air waves. So if you have a colleague who does not proceed the same way as you would, you need to step back and look at the work that comes in and ask questions. Is the work done and done well? Is the work in on time? The answers to these and more will help me when dealing with virtual teams I may be working with in the future.

I think that the process of becoming a team leader is an ongoing process. Each opportunity to become a leader is an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. Every time I work with someone I take the time to learn something about them, about myself, about the job I am doing. There are times when I go into a situation thinking I will be the teacher and come out knowing I am the student. Leadership is not stagnant, it is ever changing and those in leadership positions need to be able to flex and bend with the changing times.

I have absorbed the information on leadership styles like a sponge, from employers and teachers alike. At this stage in my education I am still working out what exactly my leadership style is. Yet looking back at the times I have been a leader there is no one style that I have used. Each group, each situation is different, an analysis must be done to ascertain what style or combination of styles would be best for the group as a whole and for individuals within the group.

A leader is not the loudest in the group, a leader is one who can get the group to listen even when whispering. Good leaders request instead of demand, these are given with respect, with clear and understandable directions, and communicated well. Leadership knows that for an organization to work well the group dynamics need to reflect the well-being of the individuals in the group.

– – Sandra Lyle, Traverse City, Michigan

I Believe I Am a Leader

I believe that no one is born a leader.  People may be born with charisma, with a natural ability to interact with others, but not with the inherent knowledge of how to have others follow.  This ability comes from focusing a person’s commitment and joy towards a particular area in life.  If this semester has taught me anything, it’s that leadership can only be found when you really care about something.

Caring for a cause gives you a kind of energy that radiates from you and affects those around you.  If you are a quality manager, much like I was this semester, and you really care about it, then the others around you will notice this and take heed.  While it is infinitely easy to go through the ropes in a position such as mine, to make it your own takes a whole other level of energy.  This drive to outperform the others, to make the very best quality products regardless of the costs involved, that’s what molded me to be a leader.  The others I was grouped with immediately took notice and didn’t need to be told what I would like done; they knew it almost as well as I did.  Instead of reacting to a situation, they took a proactive stance.

In this way, I think I make a good leader.  A good leader does not necessarily need to bark orders out like a drill sergeant.  For the longest time I thought it did.  Instead, I learned that a good leader could be more soft spoken and less intense.  For introverts, like me, I did not see how that could be possible.  A leader conjures up certain images of in your mind; a king on his throne, an 80’s executive in his business suit, the captain of the football team.  To think that someone like myself could lead by being the advisor to the king, whispering in his ear, influencing his actions was a radical new idea.  It made me feel powerful and in control of situations where I once would have just hide behind a more aggressive or loud team member.

I believe that while no one is born a leader, we are all a leader in our own way.  Each one of us simply needs to discover our own way of leading others.  For some, it will be by dominating a room with an overpowering personality.  For others like myself, we will sit back, contribute our ideas, and feel passionately towards a subject and let that passion speak for itself.  However you lead, remember that there is no right way to do so; simply be yourself and you can lead people anywhere.

– – Jon Link, Traverse City, Michigan

Lead to Believe

I believe that proper leadership is the key to a successful operation. Success in leadership requires the hard work of a charismatic person who truly cares about improving day in and day out. My vision of leadership has changed over time due to the growth of my current job position and the continuation of my business education at NMC and FSU. I initially believed that a good leader was someone who knew what they were doing and how to complete the task at hand. I have learned that proper leadership is so much more than that. Leadership requires honesty, communication, commitment, and a positive attitude. Moving from entry level jobs to a place of business where the team really matters was quite a shock and continuing my education is no different.

The scope of this class has really opened my eyes to how important each individual person is to a company. Communication and working together towards a common goal is important to the success of a business. In a fast moving business, it is easy for one to become frustrated and flustered when things begin moving quickly. I am taking objectives learned in this class and I am implementing procedures for my current employer in an effort to make our processes more streamlined. Making our processes more user-friendly will help our employees when things get a bit hectic.  In turn, this will lead to better interactions and sales with our customers despite how busy we are.

Being that I work for a small business with few employees, we all seem to have many tasks that we are each responsible for completing. Over the years, I have found my position making a transition towards management. I have grown with the company and I hope to continue growing as a leader. Leadership is something not to take lightly and I plan to make the most of it. With this group project, it has exposed me to the big picture and I have found many areas in which I need to improve. I do not want to stick to one leadership style as I would rather create my own style by taking what I feel works best and moving forward. I feel that all types have their place and a combination of them would be most beneficial in my current position. I am going to concentrate on growing the company with proper communication, commitment, and a positive attitude.

– – Daniel  Bonham, Traverse City, Michigan

I Believe Leaders are Visionary

To become a leader takes an individual on a life-long journey.  Warren Bennis’ quote on becoming a leader speaks to the true nature of leadership.  A good leader is characterized by the journey to finding one’s self in carrying out their vision.  Leaders embody certain qualities that manifest in an individual’s presence and business nature.  Good leaders set clear goals and maintain solid working relationships within the team.  Guiding team members to work together to work on projects to their completion and promoting the best effort possible, focusing on each individual’s strengths to bring value to the team, are task-oriented qualities that an effective leader must possess.  In addition, a good leader should work to maintain a cohesive balance between these tasks and the relationships among team members.

Leadership goes beyond simply being a leader, though.  At its root, leadership is the organization of people to achieve a common goal.  There are many approaches to leadership and what it means to be have effective leadership in a team setting.  To me, leadership is an acquired trait that a person becomes over time.  The progression to achieving strong leadership is continual, but success is marked by the cohesiveness and productivity of the team.  In short, finding the balance of tasks and interpersonal relations of a team will produce visionary leadership.

For myself, becoming a good leader has been an ongoing process since I was a child; from striving to become captain of my soccer team to guiding peers in professional classroom settings at university.  One first must become aware of what it means to become a good leader.  I have learned this over the years from the examples set by myself and others, as well as through my studies in management theory.  Simply being aware isn’t enough, though.  A person must then take those skills and abilities and transpire them into their functions in leadership.  I will focus on being more of a supportive and delegating leader, harnessing my tendencies to dominate projects and communications.  Taking what I have learned and experienced, I will focus on the strengths of the people around me to achieve a common goal and work to become a good leader with a vision.

The process of becoming a good leader pushes a person to become themselves as individuals.  This certainly has proved to be true for me.  I have noticed things about myself that have added value to the team.  I have also noticed many instances where my contributions or actions have been detrimental to the team.  Through these actions, I have established my boundaries and areas I need to focus on for improvement. As a result of the learnings of educational courses and life’ lessons, I found that my ideal leadership style has changed.  Starting out, I viewed leadership as a tall man, militaristic in his leading style.  After learning more about people and their interactions, I have found that teams need to be led in a manner that fits their circumstances.  Hence, leaders must be balanced, proactive, and flexible.

– – David Michalski, Bellaire,  Michigan

I believe the true beauty of work ethic will prevail

As a child I was always told that you can do whatever it is you want to do, there are no limits and the only thing holding you back are your own inadequacies. Time marched on as I continued to grow older, becoming aware of the present world we live in and how our people as a culture value work, leadership, and the qualities and attributes that come with these prestigious positions.

My first job after finishing my associate’s degree was for a programming company. I was indeed a young adult still and had no real work experience in the professional environment. My beliefs of the work place had not yet been skewed in any fashion. I had a tremendous amount of desire and although had not yet completed my bachelors, I still had enough experience and a strong enough resume that I could hold my own in the programming community, at least in this office. After several months with my position, a few openings began to surface in the company and we were expanding. I expressed my interest and applied to move upward but with no success. Shortly the positions were filled with new hires of what seemed to me like beautiful young woman. A third young lady was promoted from the same department as myself; to say the least I was furious about it. Having to do work with these fellow co-workers and put together projects as a unit, I realized that I was in fact more qualified, but why had I not been given the opportunity? In an ironic twist of fate, the company ended up folding over and I was forced to find new work.

My whole idea of equal opportunity and leadership based on principals and work ethics had been shattered. I had to realize that this was just a bad example and not everywhere had the same management strategies. I landed a new job as a cook at a local restaurant and in ten months became the kitchen manager. I had the opportunity of working for an amazing boss who inspired my leadership skills and taught me how organizations should be run. Rewarding the efforts put forth and the quality of work was his upmost concern. Seniority did not seem to matter too much to him; it was about output and performance. Quality and consistency were his focus on a daily basis.

I was chosen to open a brand new store and have all responsibilities from hiring staff, managing the whole store, and menu planning amongst other things. Having a caring heart for my staff, showing them through my work efforts and contributions to the store was the greatest example. I played no favorites and treated everyone the same. My staff became aware of my concerns and my ability to communicate openly and challenge my staff to grow was essential to the development of our store as a whole. The more I could demonstrate these values the more I got out of my staff. Other managers would complain that hiring staff was difficult because you cannot train a member to care about their job; I believed it was my job to get them to care as well as focus their daily tasks.

Being a great leader is about letting your staff see the human in you. Making mistakes and owning up to them is alright if lessons are learned and they are handled appropriately. Setting the standard for what you expect your staff to give you is important as well. There needs to be a level of personal contact, taking several moments to stop and see how someone is does make a huge difference. Setting the example of how to come to work even when you have a bad day does wonders for the work environment. People will admire that and strive to be like you. Without even realizing it, your staff will begin to respect you tremendously.

My idea of a leader has not shifted too dramatically in the last several months, but the thought of trial and error has become more important to me. It took time to master some skills and many mistakes before realizing how to handle situations in a better light. The best employees do not always make the greatest managers, the stress level, people skills, organization, and communication are hard to be taught and most often learned through trial and error. This thinking makes me a better employee and helps me continue to grow as wonderful leader and as a person as well.

– – John Antosiak, Traverse City, Michigan

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