Thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 302 – Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan
Posts From Students:
Matthew Main – Chris Anderson – Jake Smith – Victoria Pizzuto – Micah Daso – David Lebin – Lyndsey Lampe
I Believe in Leadership in Varying Forms
Leadership is a tricky word. There are many different and incredibly varying schools of thought as to what leadership is. Some people think leadership is part of a job description which is the formal vision of leadership. There is also the informal vision of leadership which is when say an employee is who is an associate in a company and shows his leadership skills by busting his hump every single day and getting the job done well. You don’t always need to be in a position of power in order to show good leadership skills.
I have learned that leadership is prevalent in any person that is respected by one of their peers. If a person looks up to you they see you as a leader, this in turn ensures that you need to always be aware of your actions because there is someone that is taking your lead and following your example. Leadership extends beyond the workplace into your everyday life in that aspect. You need to always act as if someone is watching, if you don’t you will end up slipping and cheating yourself if you aren’t careful.
Becoming you while becoming a leader is almost guaranteed assuming you do it properly. If you step outside your comfort zone you will inevitably grow and have so many positive experiences. There of course will be negative experiences which enable you to learn even more as far as life lessons go. I personally have always learned a great deal just by leaving my comfort zone. Of course one of the most difficult things about leaving your comfort zone is actually finding the courage to do so.
I believe my leadership style all depends on the setting. So far in school I have always found myself working at least 20 hours per week, taking a minimum of 14 credit hours and still maintaining a social life. The amount of leadership I can commit to varying groups relies heavily on my other obligations. Many times I have many classes where the group aspect is heavily relied upon making it very difficult to maintain two leadership roles.
Simply put, leadership comes in all forms; you don’t always have to have been assigned a leadership position to be a leader, your actions will speak for that.
– – Matthew Main, Big Rapids, Michigan
I believe that a leader must be strong
Leaders are the people that are made to have control or authority over things. To me, to lead others you must first be self-motivated. If you are self-motivated then you are the type of person that will get stuff done under all circumstances. You have the mindset that you can do something and you will get the job done. Nothing will get in your way or distract you from doing your job. Everything you do is positive and you know that you staying motivated will help you with your accomplishments. People talk to themselves to boost their confidence. This should be a trait of a leader. Someone that is telling themselves “they can do it” over and over is the type of person that should lead. A strong leader will not settle for anything less than success. That is what self-motivation is to me. If one cannot motivate themselves then how can one be a leader?
Another thing a leader must do is set personal goals. You have to set realistic goals that you can do. The goals should be specific, relevant and challenging or there is no point in setting a goal. Setting your own goals will help with personal develop and that how a leader will become stronger. You must visualize your accomplishments or what you what to accomplish in order to succeed. If you cannot imagine what you want to accomplish then how can one accomplish anything at all. You must have a vision to help anticipate what could go wrong. A person that does not have a vision does not have a sense of leadership. These goals help you in the future when you plan them out right.
Overall, I learned that a leader has to be the strong and above average. The characteristics of a leader must be higher than the average person. As a leader myself in my group, I learned that when things go wrong it is mostly on the leader. After stepping up to be a leader I acknowledged my strength and weaknesses. I know what areas I need to improve in to be a leader. Everyone is not born to be a leader but everyone can learn to be a leader.
– – Chris Anderson, Troy, Michigan
I BELIEVE – A Good Leader was first the Best Follower
Warren Bennis once spoke about becoming a leader was, “to become yourself, and to use yourself completely.” I believe that to become yourself completely, you must first have learnt about yourself from others, especially people who once led you.
To become a good leader, I believe you must first learn from your leaders about yourself, as well as obtain the following characteristics. Once grasped, these traits will help form oneself, and lead them from follower to leader.
- Being crisp and clear – Do not make decisions that are confusing. Make decisions that are clear to everyone and have a set objective at the end.
- Take responsibility – If the leader has screwed something up, than they need to take the responsibility and not blame others.
- Awareness – A great leader needs to know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as those around them.
- Respect – A leader needs to respect others as well as earn their respect and not assume they have it just because they are higher up.
- Collaborate. –A great leader needs to know when and how to use their team and keep the teams’ feelings all on the same page.
I have learned many things that will help me become a great leader, some positive and some negative. On the positive side, I have learnt that I need to become more outgoing, stand firm and have confidence in my decisions, and not always be the accommodator. These will be easy to fix as most of them occur in everyday situations. Once confidence is started, it can grow rapidly and this is a major factor to turning these negative traits into positives. On my positive side though, I can now see I am very aware of others emotions, I like formalized structures, and I like to encourage and teach others to do well. These are all base characteristics of becoming a good leader and I now see I have them started already.
I am becoming myself in the process of becoming a good leader, because I am learning about myself. I am learning what my strengths are as of right now that I can lean on, as well as knowing my weaknesses that I both need to improve on and use help from others. As a follower right now, I can work on what I know about myself and this will force me to become myself even more.
No, I have not changed my mind about what a good leader is and what characteristics one has. Just because I may not be the greatest leader now and have all the traits I believe good leaders should have, does not mean I should change them. Instead it will lead me to learn how to form myself into obtaining them and learning from my leaders.
– – Jake Smith – Saint Johns, Michigan
What Leadership Means To Me
I believe that leadership skills are important things to have, but people today are forgetting the difference between being a leader and being in charge. People today want power, that’s no surprise, and they will do a lot to achieve it. A lot of great people in charge today have the potential to be great leaders, and maybe they were at one point. They come into the job with a clear mind of who they are and what they want, but they become blinded by power and start to lose focus on being a good leader just because they’re in charge. I believe that good leaders have the power to take charge, but not all those in charge currently make good leaders. Which is why I find that opening quote to be so interesting. People tend to lose themselves in the climb “to the top”, and to stay focused on your goals while staying yourself and becoming successful is the real challenge, and also the most rewarding part of that whole experience. Great leadership skills come very easily to some people: honesty, trustworthy, great people skills, great at bringing people together, are all great examples of some fantastic leadership qualities. I like to think of myself as having a few of these qualities. I know that I do not have all the proper qualities that a great leader possesses, but that’s okay. I have learned a lot from this class about myself as a student and as about myself as a leader that I believe I can use to better myself as a leader in the future. In the process of becoming a team leader you become more of yourself because you start to funnel things according to what you see to be the most important, which may not be what is best for you, but for the group you are leading. And I think that putting your groups’ needs before your own says something about the quality of your leadership. I don’t think my mind has changed as to which leadership style I am in relevance to my learning. I believe it accurately represents me, because being a leader is not all that important to me, but I will step up when necessary.
– – Tori Pizzuto—Chicago, Illinois
I Believe in Staying True to Myself
My vision of leadership has evolved over the course of my education. I always pictured a true leader who was honest when dealing with problems. I think that it is important for a leader to not only know how to lead a group but also how to follow. When teams are first formed it is very important for the leader to get to know each member so they can encourage their strengths as well as helping them work on their weaknesses.
What I have learned in Team Dynamics is that being an understanding leader is important. A leader needs to know how to communicate to their team members. Leaders should be firm in how they run their meetings but not hinder creativity. There has to be a balance like in many areas of life. I have also learned how important it is to form bonds with the members in the beginning to build trust. A leader should also be open to diversity of its members. Diversity is an important aspect of teams because if the member’s diversity is embraced you as the leader gains that perspective when creating new ideas as well as gaining access to that group that the member represents. Leaders should also know the best way to encourage creativity in a group. When a group feels secure and supported they are more likely to generate more ideas without fear of being judged.
I don’t think that I have changed my mind about what my leadership style should be. I believe that with my learning I gained a better understanding of what type of leader I would like to be. I have seen the term Servant Leadership which is basically that no matter the position a leader wants to meet the needs of the group. I think that is exactly how I want to be. I want to be the type of leader that whoever I am leading feel that they can come to me for help and that I will do my best to create solutions for them. I would also like to be the type of leader that is honest, and respectful to anyone I encounter. I believe that I can be the best leader by being true to myself.
– – Micah Daso, Big Rapids, Michigan
I Believe Everyone Has a Leader Inside Them
At the beginning of the semester, I thought I had a good grasp on what it meant to be a leader. To me a leader was all about guiding people to the desired goals of the team. A leader to me meant someone who always focuses on the bottom line and strives for perfection. After spending a semester in Frank Armstrong’s Organizational Development & Team Dynamics class, I have completely changed my view on what leadership means to me.
Being a leader is more than guiding people through a task. A good leader requires many traits. Good listening skills, quick decision-making, critical thinking, and open communication are just a few of the skills people find desirable in a good leader. To me though, a good leader is more than just measurable traits. A good leader to me is someone that can rally people even when the team doesn’t think they can be. They are able to cohesively bring together a group of people for a greater good. It is more than a goal or task for a leader. It is an achievement for a team.
Becoming a leader is like enlightening a human being. It is achieving a higher level of awareness within the group. The ideas I am learning in this class I’m carrying towards my goal to becoming a better leader. One piece of knowledge I use every day is how to handle different personality types. I am able to interact with everyone from drivers to amiables. Knowing how to deal with all walks of life is an invaluable trait to have. One of the main themes touched upon in Warren Bennis’ quote is becoming yourself. Above all else, this to me is the most important thing one can learn from becoming a better leader. I’ve always lived my life by the motto, “you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself.” I feel this translates well to the idea of becoming yourself. Becoming yourself means you are comfortable not only with who you are, but also with your comfortableness in being decisive and being confident in the decisions you make.
Leadership isn’t obtained overnight. Nor is it completely definable. Regardless of where someone is in their journey to becoming a leader, we can always learn more. “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.” (Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader).
– – David Lebin, Indianapolis, Indiana
I Believe in Change
I believe that each person possesses leadership qualities, but it takes a certain drive and willingness to put those skills to use for the good of the surrounding people. I believe in order to be a leader, a person must be aware of their strengths, weaknesses and limitations. To me, leadership is a process of discovery and uncovering what works best for every individual, including one’s self, and knowing how to handle any situation that is thrown at him or her.
Over the course of the year, I have been put in leadership roles that I didn’t expect. With the unexpected came many mistakes. I believe mistakes are okay, and the most important thing to do after realizing a mistake was made is to take responsibility for them, and then reflect back on the situation and learn what can be improved on for the future. Any good leader knows they have improvements to make and is constantly aware of who is around, watching their actions. To me, a good leader is a role model and leads by example and suggestion. A leader doesn’t dictate people’s actions.
Becoming a leader takes time and a decent amount of effort. One cannot become a leader overnight. There are many different ways to lead and it stems from a preferred style and one’s personality. Using the knowledge and experience one has gained combined with their personality and style, creates the kind of leader one is and the kind of leader people see. Leadership cannot be copied, but different aspects from different leaders can be modified to fit into a leadership style one has already built for himself or herself. A huge lesson I have learned recently is a leader should follow others just as much as others follow them. Following can produce many new insights into one’s own style. Skills can be learned and experience can be gained. There is only so much one can learn by himself or herself. I believe I’m at the point in my life where my natural leading ability is no longer enough. I believe that because I’m aware of this I can gain more knowledge since I am open to more experiences and knowledge. I think this is helping me become myself and defining my own leadership style because I am learning what I like and don’t like and also what works best for me by following others before I lead.
Every day and every interaction with someone brings new experience and insight into how I like to lead people. With the new learned skills, abilities and knowledge, I have modified what I thought to be my leadership style. My leadership style however covers a large spectrum, and I don’t strictly use just one style. Every situation requires different actions from a leader, so a leader is constantly changing, in my opinion. I think change is an essential part of being a leader because the same style doesn’t work for every group or every project. Leading is a process that never ends, and new traits can always be learned.
– – Lyndsey Lampe, Stockbridge, Michigan