Posted here are the thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 370 Class – Ferris State University, Summer 2013
POSTS FROM STUDENTS:
Matthew Person – Jared Cooper – Cameron Beeler – Robert Hughes – Andrew Smith – Aaron Kelm – Connor LaRowe
I Believe in Leading by Example
Mr. Bennis is exactly right, the idea is not to become a leader, it is to reach your full potential as a person and lead others by their actions. Being a leader is not something that can be learned overnight or any specific period of time. There isn’t an exact formula or perfect set of attributes that make a leader. Being a leader is all about you. Each person has the ability to be a leader if they take Bennis’ advice to “use yourself completely,” and “become the person you started out to be.” You must be a person that doesn’t let work get pushed to the side, someone who accomplishes all tasks at hand, and does this in their personal leadership style. Once a person has become all they can be, without holding back any of their potential, they can then become a great leader.
As a generally passive person, most people wouldn’t consider me to have the potential to be a good leader. However, I have come to the realization, and it is supported by Mr. Bennis’s quote, that I still have the ability to lead people effectively. As a person that takes pride in the quality of work that I do, I can be effective through leading by example. By taking pride in my work I hope to show others the standard of quality that is expected for the task at hand. I have learned that leadership is not all about directing the group or telling others what is needed. As someone with a passive personality, I have the ability to be an effective leader by supporting the group and getting everyone involved.
Throughout my leadership experiences I have become more confident in different areas that have made me who I am today. Decision making under pressure has been a difficult task for me in the past, but through my leadership experience I have become confident in making decisions in my professional and personal life. Being put in leadership roles has also given me the opportunity to take advantage of my interpersonal skills. These skills are important for effective communication within a team setting. Without these skills it would be difficult to be a role model for others to follow. Within my professional environment I am able to use these skills when interacting with customers and fellow coworkers. Overall, my leadership experiences have benefited me by giving me the confidence and interpersonal skills I need to succeed in the future.
– – Matthew Person, Big Rapids, Michigan
I BELIEVE In Being a Leader
The great Warren Bennis once stated, “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 reiterates my vision of true leadership. I believe that leadership comes from the ability of having high self-esteem and confidence. If an individual lacks confidence, it is almost impossible for that person to trust themselves along with their everyday decisions. High self-esteem in a leader is crucial because when leading a team, other members look up to you or depend on you. They may also make their decisions based on the leader’s actions. When high confidence is seen in a leader, it often rubs off onto the team members. A good leader will also motivate others properly. It is important that he/she makes sure that everyone is focused on the task and sees the light ahead. When group members hear about the benefits or rewards of an end result, they will often work harder to try to achieve those results. I also believe that a requirement of leadership is to have good organizational skills. Somebody who is not organized or doesn’t keep track of things well, is much more prone to fail or make bad decisions. Becoming yourself in the process of becoming a team leader means that an individual can grow and improve from being a leader. Leadership also brings on a lot of responsibility. Within this responsibility means that there are often mistakes made or negative consequences. If a leader is aware of his/her mistake and can take full responsibility for it, while also learning from it, they are on the right track to improvement. I also believe that the quote above means that an individual should be true to themselves and not change based on others. A leader should possess the capabilities of making their own knowledgeable decisions based on their best instinct. If a leader has a vision, they should stick with it until the end and not let anything else interfere.
Jared Cooper, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
Born to be a leader?
I believe leadership to be the single most under rated quality that a person in the work place can hold. Everyone has a different leadership style in which they are best able to motivate a team towards a common goal. The best leaders seem to have a knack at mobilizing a group and look as though they were born to lead. I believe this comes from the fact that they are not trying to be anything they aren’t. People can tell when someone is acting in a way that is not true to them selves. If you figure out your leadership style, and use it in a way that compliments the person you truly are, you will be perceived as a great leader. A team will not rally around a person they feel is putting up a front, or acting the way they think they should. People respect honesty more then anything. If you cannot be honest with your self about how you personally should lead a team, then there is no hope for a group of people to follow you into battle whole heartedly.
I believe that in the process finding your leadership style and leadership skills, you will find yourself. In life, finding yourself, and being true to you are the two most important things. People can tell when you are faking it. Especially as you are trying to lead a team towards a common and concise goal. I believe being true to yourself is the most important thing someone can do in their life. If you are a leader, then be a leader. If you seem to follow orders better then give them, then dominate when you are given a task. Make sure that you do you better then anyone else. It seems tough to go wrong with that point of view.
As I have talked about becoming a leader, and the importance it can have on your life, I would also like talk about being a team player. A very good leader can seem to motivate anyone, however any person unwilling to be a team player can put a stop to the teams efforts. Being a team player within a group may be just as important to the growth of the group. “The total is only as good as the sum of the parts”. This quote seems to sum up my thoughts on the matter. A leader may be the very important glue that holds and makes everything work, but what’s the point of gluing to pieces of garbage together.
I would like to end this essay with a point I picked out from this class. Some leaders are born to lead. From the second they had the chance, they stepped up into the limelight and grabbed a hold of the reigns. However, some people develop a leadership quality that stands out. They do this by finding what works for not only the team, but themselves as well.
– – Cameron Beeler, Big Rapids, Michigan
Leadership: It’s in All of Us
I believe that leadership is an essential quality that is found in all people. People just need the training or education to utilize the ability. I also believe that leadership is the skill that makes a group or team work together on a common goal. Everyone who wants to be a leader should go after it make it a goal to lead when the opportunity arises.
I’ve learned a lot from my college education. I’ve learned the styles of leadership in Applied Management; how to increase quality of a product or service, and how to speak in front of a group in my communications classes. I will use my knowledge of leadership from my studies to better myself in careers I’ll have in the future. I’ve found through simulation of a business it makes members of group show their leadership abilities. Whether it’s working on selling simulated product to another group or putting together a presentation making sure all people do their best.
Warren Bennis is right when he says “The point is to become yourself, and to use yourself completely – all your gifts, skills and energies – to make your vision manifest.” We are all though leading groups releasing the skills that we never knew we had. This also makes us see our strengths and weaknesses of our abilities. It ultimatly helps us see what we need more training or experience in to improve. Say you are good at getting things done on time but have hard times communicating with other members of a group. You need to improve your communication skills but you can see if any of the other members of the group are good with communicating. You can then use their strengths to get to the groups goal.
I have changed my leadership style. I used to really not be a leader, I’d normally be a follower. I’d only put in input to the group when I was sure it would be accepted by the group. After working in groups in over ten classes for college I’ve come to see my input to the group as constructive to its goals. I’ve found you must take some risks as a leader. To better the out outcome of the groups productivity. Say a retail store has too much inventory that have been sitting in storage not being displayed to the customer. You need to take charge and tell customers about those products that are not out on display. Be a leader and make decisions that better the group.
All people need to understand that they can become leaders all they need is to look at themselves. Look at their strengths and weaknesses. Take the strengths and use them to be a leader today. The weaknesses should be improved by training and experience. Ask people for how they would go about something that is included in one of your weaknesses.
– – Robert Hughes II, Union City, Michigan
I Believe Leadership Depicts How One Can Persevere…
I believe there are two types of leadership; to lead by example and to lead by experience. Each of these ways is only possible with a whole lot of perseverance along with charisma, moxie, determination, and an overall will to succeed. These traits are more or less within us, not attainable through instruction. That is why great leaders become renowned as examples to society. Examples that come to mind are Winston Churchill, who led and inspired an entire nation, if not continent. Another example would obviously be Ghandi. The man has inspired religion and patience as nothing but a virtue in life and leads buy his influential beliefs and spiritual powers. Of course the likes of JFK and MLK spoke equality and fought for their rights, even when society did not agree. I like to live by the saying that best paraphrases perseverance and how to never give up. “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” A similar, more humorous rendition is as follows; “If at first you don’t succeed, but lemons in your bra to make your boobs bigger”. This statement mirrors not giving up, and even provides a compelling rationale for women (and maybe some men) to make best of what they have, even if that means going extra lengths, or cup sizes, to get there.
Yes, great leaders are born with the needed traits, but only become great leaders after implementing their beliefs and values with prior experiences. JFK didn’t become President over night, and MLK was racially profiled the more he spoke out for what he believed in. Credibility comes with accomplishments, but also failures. How else is one able to measure their success without evaluating their failures? As now a 23 year old college senior… or “Super-Senior,” I have had a lengthy road of my own trials and tribulations. I now look at my bad decisions and try to discover ways to build on those in order to prevent them from happening in the future. My most recent example of “screw up” came a few weeks ago when I was speeding for an important lecture regarding our PGA seminars. I was late with a fellow classmate and was speeding to get there on time. I was written a speeding ticket and was pretty disappointed. Five years ago as a cocky, punk senior in high school, I would have came up with every excuse as to why it was not my fault. Nowadays, it is easier for me to realize when it is my own fault, I need to accept responsibility. It was my fault for not giving myself enough time which initiated the entire issue. I can sum all of this up by noting that great things take time…as in Rome, and MLK, and all of the other examples I gave. Most men and influential figures dedicate their entire life to lead. Whether it is in what they believe or what the nation believes, great leadership comes with great responsibility, drive and the perseverance to succeed, no matter what the situation
– – Andrew Smith, Big Rapids, Michigan
I believe it’s not a process of doing, but a process of becoming
I am a huge believer in personal development when it comes to becoming successful and reaching any goals you have in life. In most cases, people will experience great improvement in life by working on themselves. In order to be successful as an entrepreneur in particular, you need to devote time into bettering yourself because if you want to be successful in your journey, you likely need to make some changes to your belief system and the way you think and act.
There are a few principles in particular that I think are essential if a person is looking to become the best leader that they can be and get the most out of their employees. These simple principles seem to be overlooked far too often among today’s leaders in business. They go as followed:
- Leaders should not criticize or complain to their employees. Most of the time by criticizing, we do not make lasting changes in the person’s behavior and we often incur resentment. Criticizing might relieve my feelings, but it will often make them try to justify themselves and make them condemn me. This will end up arousing hard feelings between the two people and not making anything better. Instead of condemning people, we need to try to understand them. Figure out exactly why they do what they do before taking action in a way that could hurt the relationship in a negative way.
- Leaders should give honest and sincere appreciation. I think that being able to arouse enthusiasm in your people is a very important asset to have, and the way to bring out the best in a person is by giving appreciation and encouragement. After all, what human being doesn’t want a feeling of importance? Leaders need to find ways to give a person incentive to work. Be anxious to give praise to someone instead of looking for faults. Most leaders today in my opinion do the exact opposite.
- Leaders should arouse in their people an eager want. The only way to influence people is to talk about what THEY want and show them how to get it. Many of the famous leaders from the past would tell you that a big key to success is being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. If you can show people how a certain act will solve their problems, they will do it!
These are just some basic procedures that leaders can utilize and become better in whatever business they are a part of. For many people, personal development is needed in order to change their thinking process and then change the way they act. Become the person you want to attract into your business!
– – Aaron Kelm, Ripon, Wisconsin
I Believe In Not Giving Up
In every community, job or group, leaders are needed. As a society, we would fail without successful leaders. This begs the question: What does it mean to be a leader? Many different people would answer this many different ways. That is the glory of leadership.
In order to be a truly successful leader you must be yourself first and foremost. This means everybody has the capability of being a true leader, but only if you can use the qualities you have as a person to your fullest potential. Something I have learned that is a quality that leaders must have is to not give up. When standing toe to toe with adversity, it is incredibly crucial for strong leaders to not back down. A perfect example of this is the Civil Rights Movement. Having almost no chance of winning, the great leaders of a crucial point in history stood back up every time they were knocked down. In doing so, many people came to their aid, supported them and trusted them even more. These are textbook examples of what it means to be a true leader.
Something that goes hand in hand with the previously mentioned, is sticking up for what you believe is right. When leading a group of people, having a message or a platform of morals, is crucial in being a leader. That is the largest factor in whether people are going to be supportive or not. This is so incredibly important, especially in the business world. In a time in society when corruption, greed, and bribery are at a high, having legal morals may be what keep a company afloat. Leaders who lead their companies into the ground through illegal or unethical activities are the ones who get caught in the long run.
In order to be a successful and great leader in whatever community, being a person with morals and ethics is the first step. The most crucial characteristic, however, is never giving up. Life will not just stop and become easy when things are challenging and setting the example that you will do whatever it takes to get the job done, is what leads people to become great people and do great things.
– – Connor LaRowe, Big Rapids, Michigan