Posted here are the thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 301 Class – Ferris State University
POSTS FROM STUDENTS :
Jamie Scarlett – Chloe Hoffman – Kurt Davey – Daniel Egan – Donna Chmielewski
I Believe I’m Authoritarian
I’ll admit it, I am bossy, blunt, abrasive and maybe a little rude, but I get the job done. I have known this for a while. I take things into my own hands; ‘put the team on my back.’ I like things done my way with little to no adjustment. I don’t like group projects mainly because other people want to do things their way or they don’t want to do anything. And although I like to do everything my own way and dictate how others will do their parts, I can’t stand when someone deliberately doesn’t do anything. I’ll be the first to tell someone what to do, how to do it and when it needs to be done; I am bossy.
Bossy isn’t a very effective leadership style. It offends people. Pushes them away and makes them resentful. So I have learned that a good leader breaks away from their own desires and only contributes ideas and direction to a group. Leaders that I have always admired seem to take the good with the bad, they try to bring the best out of each and every group member and use each person’s skills to the group’s advantage. By utilizing each person’s skills and making them feel welcome and appreciated members of the group begin to go above and beyond the scope of the project.
Being a leader doesn’t mean you control everything about a project, or that you do everything for your team; it means that you do what you’re best at and push your team to do the same, use their strengths to guide them and give constructive criticism instead of negative responses. My authoritative personality is a strength in the sense that I am well organized, detailed, great at time management and project management as a whole.
I can use these personality traits to work towards being a more productive group member. By keeping track of who I am and never changing my core traits I can successfully “become the person I started out to be, and enjoy the process of becoming” (Warren Bennis). Every group needs a bossy individual to keep them on track, I just need to learn how to tone that attitude down in order to keep myself grounded.
– – Jamie Scarlett, Traverse City, Michigan
I believe that although leadership is an upper hand role, there should still always be a mindset of working as a unit. When you segment yourself away from others and become too distant from those who you are leading there is a loss of reality in the process. Working alongside one another and relating to how they feel about their work will benefit any leader greatly. This will help them solve problems realistically when they occur instead of taking a guess at how things should change. Working first hand in the problem will give them the knowledge they need to fix situations right away. Of course there are boundaries that you have to have to ensure that the ones you are leading still feel as though you are their leader.
Inclusion is an action that many leaders over look as non-important but in turn it is a make or break component while communicating. When one feels included in a situation their morale is raised and they put their best work forward. On the flip side, when one feels as though their opinion does not matter and they have no say, the reverse effect will take place.
As a leader you are looked up to by many people therefore every action you make matters greatly. By making smart and ethical decisions your subordinates will respect you and strive to be like you. Having a sense of trust within your team is also a key factor to developing respect. Trust is not something that is earned quickly or easily but once it is earned it can change an operation around entirely. Being able to rely on each other gives not only the leader but the subordinates as well a feeling togetherness.
Leading should give you a sense of accomplishment if done the right way. It should show ones strength and weaknesses. Through this process there will be struggles that are overcome which will only make a leader stronger. The word power is something that any leader should be in touch with and make sure they are not abusing it. Having power over a group or team can be very effective is used the right way and can be harmful if it is taken advantage of.
– – Chloe Hoffman, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe that Great Leaders are Great Communicators
What makes a great leader? The first thing that comes to my mind are oratory skills. You look at the most influential leaders in world history and they were able to charismatically sweep an audience off their feet with a speech of a better future. Notable leaders in the 20th and 21st centuries who inspired millions include Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Adolf Hitler, Franklin Roosevelt, and Barack Obama. Though people’s opinions differ amongst these men’s policies, it’s hard to argue that they couldn’t put an audience in the palm of their hand with the words they spoke.
In terms of Roosevelt and Hitler, they inspired their citizens that there was a light at the end of the tunnel that was the Great Depression. Martin Luther King inspired African-Americans in the 1960s that there was an end in sight to the discrimination of those with a dark skin color. Ronald Reagan inspired Americans in 1980 that America would be the “shining city on a hill” again, after the massive inflation and high unemployment left by the years under President Jimmy Carter. Lastly, Barack Obama inspired Americans in 2008 that “change” would come with more government transparency, better race relations, affordable healthcare, an end to the wars in the Middle East, and of course a recovery to the economy’s recent freefall. Say what you will about the results of those promises, you can’t deny that he sold the majority of voters in 2008 and again in 2012 of a better future for America.
I myself, know that I am not a great communicator, and therefore cannot be a great leader, which I am perfectly content with. I have never made part of my goals in life to lead people, nor do I have a hunger for power. For I know that life is short, and I’d rather spend my time here with family and friends that I can cherish to my death, than trying to convince others why I can lead them. Having joy and humility is what will bring you satisfaction in life, not power, money, or other material items.
Communication is the key to being a leader of any kind. A pastor needs to communicate effectively with his/her congregation for God’s message to be herd. A politician needs to convey what about electing him/her will bring a better future to those they serve. A business executive needs to relay to his/her employees how the business will move forward and bring success to all its stakeholders. It doesn’t matter if you supervise fast food workers, or are the leader of the free world, effective leadership with a vision of a better future, communicated charismatically will make you a great leader.
– – Kurt A. Davey, Traverse City, Michigan
One thing that I’ve noticed while watching groups of people work out a problem is that the best leadership isn’t assigned, it is discovered. The best teamwork occurs in a group where individuals with vision and foresight communicate their ideas with the team and develop a trust relationship and a framework for the exchange of ideas and feedback that is tailored to the individuals within the team. In my opinion, great leaders need to not only develop trust and communication; they have to be conscious and sensitive to the different personalities and abilities within a group. To be affective they must watch, listen and guide people toward a common purpose. Leaders can’t force their ideas on others and they can’t force themselves to be something they are not. Some people are not leaders in the standard sense where they give direction and others follow; rather they lead by following and adding their own impetus.
As we learn new ideas and ways of communicating one thing becomes clear to me as a student. Much of our personality is already established and doesn’t change over the course of a single semester or even through the short years it takes to earn a degree. Personality includes our likes and dislikes and the way we view ourselves and others. Most of the new ideas that we learn in school are ways to organize and communicate ideas. We learn the important theories about others and how to recognize and appreciate cultures in sociology classes and through ethics classes we learn appropriate actions and how to judge decisions better. Within the business school we learn essential tools for organization and frameworks for thinking. We learned Gantt Charts, decision trees, and work breakdown structures in this class for example. One thing that isn’t overtly taught, it isn’t in any book, is how to connect our own personalities to the things we learn in school. The connection comes from practice and experience.
The most important part of this class was practicing the connections between the tools we learned in the book and our own personalities. Most of our roles within our groups were assigned on the first day of class and it was uncomfortable. Even on the last day of class I imagine that it is still uncomfortable for anyone who wasn’t assigned a role that they are used to or one that matches their personality. This disharmony was very important. It taught me a lot about myself and my strengths and failings as a leader but the most important thing it taught me was the importance of practicing leadership. I will continue to improve as a leader through practice while adhering to the qualities of a great leader: communication, observation, trust, vision, and organization.
– – Daniel Egan, Traverse City, Michigan
“I Believe Leadership Lives Within All of Us”
Throughout this semester I have finally come to understand that being a leader is more than just having a title after your name. I have been the Operations Manager and Switchboard Manager, but I never achieved the level of satisfaction or respect that I had hoped to. I attributed these failures to the shortcomings of the individuals that I worked with, when in reality the shortcomings were within myself. I possessed the knowledge required for both positions, but lacked the interpersonal skills necessary to inspire those around me to achieve even more than they could envision for themselves.
I have always felt that the best way to lead was by example. Always be willing to jump into a situation to work alongside frontline staff so that one can better relate to their struggles. That is no longer good enough. It is more important to listen to those around you in an effort to understand what they are passionate about; help to provide the tools that they need to obtain the necessary skill set that will allow them to pursue that passion; and then like a parent provide encouragement along the way to achieving those goals. A true leader takes pride in watching the metamorphosis of others, and celebrating their accomplishments. For me personally, this has been perhaps the hardest thing that I have had to come to grips with. Although I have often times been heard saying that there is no “I” in team, I have always held a certain amount of skepticism related to the professionalism and reliability of those around me and whether or not they would be able to get the work accomplished when it was critical. As a result I held these individuals back, never allowing them the same opportunity that I was once given. I acted more as a dictator rather than a true leader, putting pursuit of my career above the greater good of the team.
Going back to school has taught me much more than I anticipated. In addition to the theories and knowledge contained within all of the textbooks, the group assignments have opened my eyes to the fact that it is impossible to achieve anything worthwhile as an individual. More satisfaction and a greater sense of achievement come from sharing an experience with others. Therefore it is essential to recognize the uniqueness of individuals on a team, and to provide him or her with the opportunity to contribute in their own area of expertise, to be a leader for the rest of the team.
As I continue down my career path the most important things that I can do are to always remain true to myself, never compromise my moral or ethical integrity, and remember that pivotal moment when someone recognized leadership potential within me and gave me an opportunity to make a difference. By doing all of these things, I hope to leave a legacy of greatness exemplified by the number of individuals that I was able to inspire to step out of their comfort zones and achieve greatness.
– – Deborah Chmielewski, Traverse City, Michigan