Posted here are the thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 370 Class – Ferris State University, Summer 2013
POSTS FROM STUDENTS:
Christopher Whitfield – Jordan Pesce – Joshua Guiles – Jack Hanna – Craig Franke – Zachary Dryer
I BELIEVE THAT LEADERSHIP IS INTERNAL
Leadership is determined by important events that occur throughout life. From the second you respond, to the second you react; you leadership style is predetermined. If you have people that are willing to follow and support you, what they are doing is correct. Possessing a strong personality and confidence level is very important to obtain leadership skills. I believe that leadership is nothing that can be learned but more of your natural instincts.
As a car is built to withstand a high-speed blow, it doesn’t completely rely on just the front-end body armor. Backing it would be a metal frame followed by countless safety features inside the vehicle. Each person has some type of leadership built underneath what there external presents shows. Just like the car accident it may take a very dramatic experience for it to truly show. There is nothing wrong with that either.
Leadership is a presents that can be felt among others without even speaking a word. You will be able to lead others in a way to achieve a common goal or overcome an issue. Being a leader also assures that you wont leave others behind because they cant handle the task. It is your responsibility to recognize it and place them in a well-suited area that will help benefit as a whole. Those well-suited areas can be assessed by your observation on a day-to-day basis.
I have learned several different things about being a leader. The most important thing I have learned as a leader would be to not show stress under pressure. This may seem very simple but it doesn’t always play out this way. You must hide your stress because of two reasons. Which are your teammates, and your competition. You don’t want your teammates to see that you’re under stress because they will automatically gain that feeling as well. They will began to second-guess things they shouldn’t. Finally throwing everything off balance and make things worst than they actually are.
Competitors are a completely different subject. You never want them to see this side of you because they will take advantage of it from all angles. They can get inside your head and pretty much make you feel worst about ideas you had that could have benefited you. Which in return gives them the upper hand because they are calm and even better off that they know your not. The number one rule is to never show the emotion that you possess, when it comes to competition.
In becoming a team leader you began to actually find out who you truly are. Like I stated early with the car accident, you never know yours true self until you least expect it. That’s why there are so many great leaders that you never would have thought of. When your put into a dramatic situation and your first instinct is to act in a certain way, you find your leadership skills. I have found that I personally will step up and do pretty much anything needed, but I wasn’t always like that. It starts for me back in middle school when I had to take a speech class. I never wanted to go first but I couldn’t take the nerves of waiting until last. So I would make myself go but throwing my hand up or saying “ME” against my own will. Through that I learned that I rather get it done first and right than to go last and wrong.
From that point on I continued to volunteer for things and my personality along with my leadership skills came through. I have never thought that my definition of leadership was every wrong. Growing up I has realized that are things that I can add to it. These wont change the meaning but they will make it better than before.
– – Christopher Whitfield, Southfield, Michigan
I believe that a good leader should not only be able to lead people that he or she manages, but must also be able to handle opposition from others that they have no control over. Yes, a good leader should have people skills: considerate to others opinion, listening, and being assertive without being mean or rude. These are the characteristics of a good leader in the eyes of the people that they lead, but it is more than just how those that he leads perceive him. It also takes a strong mind to take action upon those who oppose your leadership, which you have no power over. My favorite writing about leadership is “The penalty of leadership” by Theodore F. MacManus. It was first used as an advertising campaign for Cadillac motor company in a 1915 newspaper article. To this day it was one of the top 100 advertising campaigns of all time. The writing talks not only about leading in the auto industry, but in anything you do as a person. When you make something unique and state of the art or perhaps lead a group of people to a company’s goal of expansion and increased profit. There will always be a certain percentage of people that slander your work and may discourage you from leading. To be a good leader you must be able to take action against those that oppose your thinking. Some may think that a certain move you made as a manger was wrong. Say you outsource part of your business (which is a big deal for some) and people say it’s unethical and taking away American jobs. Well, as a leader you made the decision to do this for a certain reason and that reason (reduced cost, travel time, better product etc.) should be upheld and backed up by its leader with why they made the certain move they did. You must be able to reason with others and explain yourself to show why your move was for the good of your company and you lead it to become a certain way. To lead comes with more than just managing people. You must also be able to overcome greater obstacles and not allow others that oppose you or sway your judgment.
– – Jordan Pesce, Big Rapids, Michigan
I Believe In Believers
I could talk for hours about what I believe good leadership requires. I work for a network marketing company and to be successful in network marketing you need to develop yourself into a leader and learn how to instill leadership within other people. You have to work on YOU first.
I will start out with the basics and what I believe is the foundation of a good leader. In order for your business to grow, YOU need to grow as a person. I believe in this stronger than anything when talking about leadership, and that is personal development. Leaders are readers. Everyone in the world should read and listen to personal development, but especially managers and people in positions of power. You must ALWAYS lead by example. Some people are put into leadership positions without having the right mindset or personal development. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is an amazing book and explains how you should act and think. This book touches on points that will wake up the mind to how it has been acting and how it needs to change. He talks about how to make people feel important, how to cut criticism out of your life, and many more aspects. These aspects will make employees WANT to work, not just because they have to. It teaches you how to put the people first. There are many other good books as well, but personal development changes people’s lives for the better and that essentially affects everyone around them as well, including employees.
A leader is also someone who leads by example, but we hear that all the time, what does it really mean? Leading by example is acting as you would want your employees acting. One huge factor of being a leader, is NEVER ask ANYONE to do something you are not willing to do yourself. A good leader will do the little things to show people they are equals and they are not “above” them. Leaders push their ego aside and try to better others around them.
One of my biggest beliefs on what leaders need, would be enthusiasm and passion. We attract the vibes we are giving out. If we aren’t excited about something, then how the hell do we expect someone else to get excited about it? Enthusiasm is contagious. When a leader shows passion and enthusiasm, it will attract enthusiasm and passion in others.
Leaders also have to be listeners and problem solvers. Leaders always take others point of view into perspective. They decipher the situation and decide the best way to handle it….what would make this person, or company happy? Regardless if the business is product or service oriented, the PEOPLE are what matter the most. People are what make the world go around and the faster someone can understand people, the faster they will become a leader and become successful.
It is as simple as, a good leader is someone that other people WANT to follow and be like. People trust and believe in leaders. In order for someone to want to be like you, you need to be the person YOU would want to follow. Be the person you want in your business. The better you are, the better you will attract. Leadership has nothing to do with titles or seniority, but it has everything to do with character.
– – Joshua Guiles, Ravenna, Michigan
I Believe Anything Is Possible
I believe that a leader is what a makes and breaks a team effort towards a common goal. A leader is the person that takes the role of responsibility for everything the group produces, good or bad. My vision of a leader is a person with a passion to succeed and will do anything in their power to see things through to the best of their capabilities. They will not settle for just average work and push everyone around them to be better. A leader to me isn’t the loudest person in the group or the one who just tells people what to do. A leader is one who demonstrates character and provides what they know for the better of the group. They are the first one to get somewhere and the last to leave. The best leaders in my book are the ones who provide an example of what great is and how to get everyone to succeed together.
Being on teams my whole life and been expected to be the guy to turn to has shown me that people who are sought out for guidance are the ones that have to be the most committed. They have to show the others in the group their level of commitment as well as motivating others to give their best efforts. A person wants to do good things and impress other people but for some reason not everyone is willing to put in the effort to be better than everybody else. I have learned from this experience that every team has to be built around the same concept of which everyone is committed and involved. If everyone is not on the same page and working together than things go wrong and people start pointing fingers. This is why the best leaders do not put people down or try to intimidate their team. They are there for support and lead by example so people know how much they need to put into their work. I found a quote that I like about leadership and I couldn’t agree with it more.
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
– – Jack Hanna, Big Rapids, Michigan
I Believe in Teamwork
I feel that one of the most important roles in any business or management position is leadership. Leadership is an important role and the people that are above/below will always look to you at one moment for direction. The way that a person or manager carries themselves can make or break a company. With successful people, management skills and leadership comes the ability employees to work well together. As a good leader I have used my skills to communicate directions effectively, finish tasks with efficiency and accuracy, and I have been able to promote a quality atmosphere around me at the workplace. Having a good leader makes the workplace contagious. They allow for enjoyment, efficiency and a work environment that demands success.
A good leader uses different communication skills during different situations. For many employees, one communication skill may confuse or mislead the employee. This unfortunately slows the process down and ultimately restricts the company and the workplace. My favorite communication skill is utilizing positive reinforcement and recognition. I really like promoting the use of teamwork throughout the company. As a leader, I strive to create a positive environment and promote teamwork in the workplace. By promoting the positive atmosphere, employees can connect with others. The affiliate style of leadership promotes efficiency and in return helps employees love their jobs even more. When employees come together to solve a task, the task is outmatched and the job is completed. The faster tasks are completed means that more tasks can be completed and the workday is more enjoyable. These two skills are also important because they assist employees to see the “Big Picture” or what they are working towards. A strong leader should also be flexible and have an open door policy with all employees of the company. Most importantly, leaders must lead by example and not be the problem. They must be the solution.
Another thing that leaders should strive for is a common goal or goals. I like to break it up in to short, Medium and long term goals. These goals can be set and posted so that the employees know what they are working towards. This also gives the employees a sense of urgency in the workplace. As a visionary of the business it can be difficult to communicate what you see to the other employees. Employees need to work towards a goal so they have can go home with satisfaction of a good days work. Having an employee of the month at your company is a great way to motivate employees. Providing some sort of reward for earning employee of the month is also a great way to motivate employees. I think that it is a good idea for leaders to sit down with their employees once in a while to discuss the employee’s performance. Having individual meetings with employees can also help to motivate them to try harder. It also shows the employee that you as a leader and manager care about the company, but that you also care about the employees. A leader can also gain their input on the job to help determine what a leader can do to make the job better for employees. This would be very beneficial for the company and would allow for hard working employees.
Overall, a good leader should provide a positive environment for employees. This will allow for employees to work hard and work well together. A good leader should motivate their employees to work hard. This is very important for a business and a good leader should realize the positive outcomes of that.
– – Craig Franke, Lake Villa, Illinois
I BELIEVE IN ME
I believe in myself. I’ve said or thought this statement at least a thousand times in my life. Whether it be at a tough moment in a big tournament round or in a difficult situation in life in general, “I believe in myself” is always a good motivator. But in all the times of using this statement to get myself to step up in a big moment, I’d say my percentage of success in that moment is maybe about 50-50. I committed, I stepped up to the plate, and I failed. I missed the big putt, or I fumbled with my words, and I failed.
Thinking back to a few of the more memory worthy of those times now, I know that those words I told myself were a lot of hot air. “I believe in myself” were just comfort words. They brought my anxiety down, made me feel better about the situation, or whatever it was, but they were just words. I could say them as many times as I wanted if that’s what I needed, but there were very few times in which I could honestly say I truly believed in what I was doing. Now, four months away from graduation, I find myself in the same situation.
Graduation is honestly a scary thing. For the past four years, I’ve pretty much had my life planned out for me. My classes are laid out for me, getting internships were helped significantly by the contacts in my program, and I live most days in a fairly similar routine. I’ve moved around a lot during my time here, but that was a known fact coming into Ferris freshman year. Now, the real world is looming, and I find myself using the “I believe…” statement once again.
I was lucky to be given many opportunities during my time here at Ferris to intern at some great jobs around the country, and to really learn firsthand about the job opportunities I will have after graduation. Some of those experiences were great, and others not so much. But in every experience I had with working, tasks, jobs, bosses, titles, and the industry as a whole, I believe I learned more about the person I want to be going forward into the rest of my life. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with both great managers and poor ones, as I learned a lot from each.
The greatest quality in a good manager is their ability to lead. The ability to lead comes from knowing when to direct, when to involve, and when to support, and most of all, believing in yourself in the decisions you make. A great leader must be able to wear all hats, and know when it is time to wear each one. A great leader gets the job done, and makes everyone involved feel as though they were a critical factor in the success of the job. A great leader is confident in his decisions, and believes in all his endeavors. A great leader goes far in life; I have the goal of being a great leader.
As I move into the next phase of my life, I will look back on all of the leaders I have had in my life to this point. The good ones, the bad ones, and the ugly ones all have something I can take from them. I will do my best to become the best leader I can be, from everything I’ve learned in my time here at Ferris, and, most of all, I will believe in myself. I have to.
– – Zachary Dryer, Columbia City, Indiana