MGMT 370 – Fall 2014

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



Kayla Rollenhagen – Zachary Gilbert – Caleb Nieman –  Dominik Kirchmann – Jake Smith – Nicholas Weick

The Persona of a Leader Revealed

I Believe leadership exemplifies a person’s persona. Most people would describe leadership by the measurement of someone’s strength they outwardly show. The outward strength people show is just a facade covering up someone’s true self; someone’s character. People can act however they want others to perceive them; but if it’s an act the outward strength really means nothing if your character and mindset isn’t in the right place.

The leadership that I have experienced and have brought forth has taught me a variety of things. One is that people who act like they can control everything in a work setting is usually because they can’t control what is happening in their personal life. During high school I worked at McDonalds for two years. During the majority of my stay there was a manager who forcefully used her anger from her personal life to help her manage the business. She was vengeful at almost any given time and believed that because her life wasn’t “right” outside of work everything she did inside of work was right. In the end no one liked her and she got fired. Bringing in personal problems into a work setting is never good. The strength this women showed outwardly t work was fake to what she was really feeling. There were times were she would cry at work. That strong personality wasn’t there anymore. To me the strength she outwardly showed was weaker then the strength she had on the inside, her character was shown in those moments where she wasn’t powerful anymore. A true leader doesn’t let their power get in the way of treating people like they are human.

Something I learned when I was the leader figure is that outward strength is no window into what someone can do.  Over the summer I worked at Boyne Mountain Resort as an Intern cooking. I got graded two times based on workout put. For my characteristic traits based on first impression I immediately did poorly. But when it came to work ethics I did above average. My shyness didn’t come close to effecting my ability to produce good work . No one should be considered less because their outward strength doesn’t match their inward strength.  I came into this Business Management class as a shy, timid person and the likelihood of me walking out a shy, timid person is high. I ran my group as who I am personally. I made sure things got done onetime and constant communication where everyone could have equal input. I made mistakes and was learning from them, only I would know that.

Leadership comes from a person’s inward strength and determination, where true character is made from real life experiences. It teaches you and others how effective one can be, no matter what the methods are. If given the right support anyone can be a good leader, and from a good leader is where good work is produced.

– – Kayla Rollenhagen, Ada,  Michigan

I Believe You Cannot Be a Leader without Someone to Lead

Leadership is a strong and powerful thought. It is based on the ability to influence others to complete tasks that are greater than what you are capable of single handedly. Leadership by far is one of the most difficult abilities to possess, due to the fact that if you cannot comprehend the completion of the task then how is it you expect others to do so? In regards to this I feel leadership is highly based on a person’s intellectual understanding of the many tasks at hand in which they are expected to lead. Classes dedicated to build better leaders (such as Management) are truly just building one’s intellect, preparing them for the many realities of what to expect as being leader and understanding what is expected of them on a day to day basis. Throughout classes it has become more apparent that throughout the hierarchy of management in different environments that a person cannot be a leader if he/she has no one to lead.

Instead of Management, the class should be titled Teamwork. I myself have had multiple positions in the past where I was in charge of small teams/groups and many times I should have followed some of the tips and suggestions presented in class. Hopefully in the future I will follow the advice and perhaps complete tasks more effectively. This class focuses greatly on effective ways to be fair and just to other members of your team regardless on their rank/title or standing in the group. Most businesses that I have experienced in the past seem to focus on the Management classes that they have taken in their past where it strictly is how to be a ruler rather than a team player, which is beyond inefficient and many times the managers are heckled for their stingy/uptight behavior. My leadership style has always been more of a team player; I strongly believe that if I am part of a company and one person fails and in result the business collapses it does not matter if it was a result of them or me, regardless we all lost our jobs. So in that thought it is important to support each other and continue to improve your career environment in all regards.

Although I am certainly a team player it has also taken me 26 years to do so; group sports, recreational groups and classes have all participated in the building of my teamwork mentality and if those lessons are not being taught in and out of class many future employees/managers will begin focusing on the “What’s in it for me” mentality and as a result businesses everywhere will become independent and dormant of creative thoughts. Management has made me more aware of new lessons to further my team work mentality and how to provide a better work environment for those around me.

– – Zachary Gilbert, Big Rapids, Michigan

What Makes A Leader?

            I believe that now, in today’s society more than ever, Warren Bennis’s view on leadership and what it entails rings true throughout all career paths and walks of life. In today’s world we place a heightened emphasis on individuality and self-worth, two components of any effective leader that must be developed in order to follow through with your visions and goals for the future. Being a leader is not simply confined to telling people what to do and encouraging to get projects accomplished in an efficient fashion. Rather, the concept of leadership envelops the whole being. In everything you do, you have to be fully committed, confident, and have an idea of the direction in which you want to go with every decision you make. This requires, as Bennis reiterates, all of your gifts, skills, and energies.

This statement is especially profound to me as I’m developing into a leader-type in my own life. As I have transitioned from a new member to an integral component of both my fraternity, Phi Sigma Kappa, and all other organizations that I am a part of (including Music Industry Management Association and Interfraternity Council), I have seen myself become the person who people count on and trust with a problem that needs to be resolved, or direction and advice for the future. Last year, at one of my fraternity conclaves, one of my brothers delivered a statement that has followed me ever since I heard it: “The one thing you need to realize when you get out into the world is this-there are leaders, and there are those who lead.” I have carried that with me through every experience I have been through, and it made me realize that leadership is not simply telling people what to do; it is being compassionate as well as assertive. It is being able to coordinate a group as well as working effectively one-on-one with a wide and diverse range of employees. It is having concrete and tangible goals and a clear vision as well as having the confidence to know and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will be realized with hard work and dedication from all who are involved. Quite frankly, being a leader is finding yourself as an individual.

The simple fact is that factors such as outside sources, motivational speeches and management seminars do very little to develop you as an effective and efficient candidate for a role of leadership. To first become a leader, to first develop a vision or goal and stick with it, to take a first minor step outside of your comfort zone, coordinate and interact with people and organize plans that you never thought plausible, you must know and trust yourself. The old cliché says that confidence is key, but it’s true. As we all change, grow and evolve as people, we gain invaluable experiences (though maybe minor, maybe grandiose) that help us understand who we are as individuals and potential managers. As we learn, our goals become clearer, our skills become sharper, and overall, we become leaders, not just those who lead.

– – Caleb Nieman, Armada, Michigan

I BELIEVE that no best leadership style exists!

I am Dominik Kirchmann, an exchange student from Koblach, Austria and I take part at the MGMT 370 class of Frank Armstrong. The following paragraphs show what I think about leadership.

Either if you are in a sports team or in a business or student’s team, leadership is necessary that a group of people works for a common goal and achieve results, which are usually better than the results of individuals. The autocratic leadership style from the past changed to a more democratic, employee-oriented leadership style where employees as individuals are appreciated. Research investigated, that people are much more likely motivated when they feel that the work they are doing is important and honored by other people. Furthermore as a leader you always have to be aware of the fact that you are dealing with human beings. Everybody has different characteristics and reacts different to certain situations. Some people are motivated by personal achievement; for some others are social relationships more important; others need clear instruction and a clear schedule to be productive while others achieve better results when they can work freely without any restrictions and guidelines. I think a leader needs to know what kind of people he deals with. With the knowledge of group members’ personality, a leader can guide them so that they can perform as best as possible. Moreover I think that good leadership depends on the situation. That means that there is not one appropriate or best leadership style that you can use in every situation. For example in an emergency it is necessary to make a fast decision. Therefore someone has to take responsibility and make autocratic decisions while a number of opinions are needed to formulate a long-term company strategy.

Another point is that in our time a lot of simple tasks get automated. A rising number of people are so-called “knowledge worker” who use their knowledge, their brain to create new products or invent new innovative processes instead of working physically. These kinds of workers are not very productive under strict guidelines and restrictions. They need a democratic, cooperative leadership style to perform well and achieve their goals whereas a task-oriented, more structured leadership style is more appropriate in a static environment like a production facility.

To sum up, becoming a team leader is an ongoing process where you have to know the personalities of your team members and every time you working in a team you gain more experiences in that field. Adapting you leadership style to the environment, the people and the situation will be the key for successful leadership. With this knowledge you can make a positive contribution to your team and improve your skills as a team leader.

– – Dominik Kirchmann, Koblach, Austria

I BELIEVE a Great Leader is Formed, Not Taught

In a summarized form, Warren Bennis once claimed that the point is not to become a leader, but to become yourself, and carry on what you have started out to be. His point is to not strive to change yourself into a leader you are not, but to take your values and skills and become your own form of leader. The mission of a leader is to know their strengths, skills, and overall vision, and to develop that into a unique persona.

I believe that leadership is about following. A leader must know how to be a good follower first. This will help an individual learn their strengths and weaknesses, as well as knowing what they look for as their personal leader. This will help the person morph themselves into a leader that knows their strengths, skills, and have an overall vision. Being a follower will also give a person the knowledge of what a follower wants. This helps keep a team together and the leader obtains an overall charisma that helps them overall. All the time an individual is a good follower it morphs them into becoming a leader without the person trying too hard to be a good leader. This allows them to just be themselves, which in-turn, allows them to be successful in the future.

I believe that there is no true leadership style that is the best. Every situation needs a different style of leader to be the most efficient. A leader need to be their own mold and even a good leader may look like a bad leader if put in the wrong situation. For example, a micromanager is highly unnecessary for a high-skilled workforce. However, this individual would excel if a meticulous work environment with new hires. A leader needs to know their persona and strive to be in a position in a good environment where they can excel in.

In conclusion, an individual must know themselves before they begin to understand others and lead the on a task. However, a leader must not be forced into becoming a leader, but must embrace it with their personal will. A great leader will know all of their strengths, skills, and vision and understand it enough to strive to be put in a position that they will excel in.

– – Jake Smith, St. John’s, Michigan

I Believe

                I believe that leadership is one of the most important and overlooked elements of human existence. Throughout history the leadership that leaders have showed, whether it be good or bad have showed us what it takes to become a good leader. I believe that a good leader is someone that gets the most out of his followers. They are mentally and physically tough and are able to overcome any obstacles or adversity that they may face. A leader that stays even keel through both the good and bad times displays the fortitude that is necessary to be a successful leader.

Taking what I have learned in class will only help me in my quest to become a better leader. I have learned to become confident when speaking to others. At first I struggled with speaking in front of others, but the more I did it the easier it became. I believe that confidence is one of the most important traits of leadership, and I was able to increase my confidence by becoming more comfortable speaking in front of others.

In a way, everyone becomes themselves in becoming a team leader. You find out what kind of person you are, and the manner in which you will lead others. Are you going to be the leader everyone hates, or the one that everyone respects and wants to work hard for? In this way you start to find yourself. The leadership style that I have learned worked best is being both aggressive and approachable. As a leader it is a necessity to accomplish whatever goals or objectives you have set, but in the same sense you must be approachable and easy to work with. Having the ambition to succeed along with having mutual respect between you and your team members is the leadership style that I learned is the most successful. For example my team won the tech wars game, and we did so by following that leadership style.

In conclusion, leadership and the manner in which leaders act are extremely important. A good leader is well respected and leads by example, which allows them to get the most out of the people that they are leading. Good or bad leadership determines just how successful any team, country, or business will in fact be.

– – Nicholas Weick, Hopkins, Michigan


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