Spring 2014 – MGMT 370 – Big Rapids Class

Thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 370 – Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan

Posts From Students:

John Ensink – Spencer Scheeler –  Markisha Jackson – Joel Root –  Jaclyn Meunier –  Travis Hodder


This I Believe – The Courage to be Honest and Fair

 

I believe leadership demands both honesty and fairness. It demands not just being honest and fair to those you lead, but also to yourself. Being a leader starts with knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are, and using your strengths and weaknesses to guide you through the process of making honest decisions for those you lead.

Being fair to all of those you lead, and being honest enough to allow those you lead to achieve the goals you set for them without prejudice or favoritism is a hard thing to do. Realizing the strengths of those you lead without allowing your own prejudices and biases to influence your decisions as to who can achieve and who cannot is an important aspect of being a good leader. I believe that being a good leader also starts with being fair to everyone you lead, and in order to be fair demands an amount of separation from the leader and those being lead.

As much as you might like to be everyone’s friend, you need to separate yourself from those you are leading. Keeping your distance will allow you to be fair to the people you are leading. It is very hard not to allow personal feelings towards someone influence decisions you make on their behalf. Being honest with yourself and accepting that your decisions can be influenced by your feelings towards someone is monumental towards making fair decisions. Using this incite will allow you to question why you are making the decisions you are making. It will allow you to truly make decisions based on the abilities of the individual, not some false perceptions based on the relationship you have with them.

I was a high school teacher for fifteen years, and I have been challenged by the task of being a leader of my students. I believe I was a good leader/teacher because I was a fair leader. I did not get involved with my students personal lives nor did I involve them in mine. I remember being asked more then once by students “is there any students that you don’t like?” I would always reply “sure I can’t stand you, but I hide it well don’t you think?” I would then go on to explain that sure there are students that I do not like, but they will never know it because it would not be fair to them and their ability to study in my class if they knew I did not like them.

I did not realize it at first, but I realized a few years into being a teacher that I had great influence over my students and that I had developed a leadership style that treated my students fairly and honestly. I had also developed a leadership style that was adaptive. I always had high standards for all of my students, but without knowing it I had different leadership styles that I used with students who were at different levels of achievement.

It was not until I read in the textbook for my Applied Management class that I knew there was a theoretical model that matched my leadership style. The Situational Leadership Theory Model developed by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard is a theory that states how “leaders should adjust their leadership style according to the readiness of the follower.” As soon as I read this I knew this is what I had been doing as a teacher all along. I felt vindicated when I read the information about this leadership style. I was also amazed that the leadership style that I had developed naturally and subconsciously was actually part of a study.

I will continue to implement this leadership style when I am once again in the position to be a leader. I am happy that I have been given some incite into this leadership style, but I can only hope that I will not be negatively affected by the knowledge of this style by over thinking it. Like I said I seemed to have developed this style naturally and subconsciously.

– – John Ensink, Canadian Lakes, Michigan

Leadership Today: The Long and Winding Road

I believe that leadership is not taught in a classroom or even can be researched in a book. Leadership is something that grows from someone’s qualities and characteristics. The topic as a whole is the culmination of experiences, actions, and morals that from the learning outcomes obtained, can contribute to good leadership. The vision of leadership depending on the source can be very skewed. Some think that it comes from a book or a lecture, but to me it comes mostly from the lessons learned by prior experiences.

Solely from this class, being a group oriented structure, leadership came into play very often. While I wasn’t the Operations Manager running the entire show, the various managers delegated properly and we learned from each other. The entire experience of the computer technology wars is prominently a way to work in a group setting and succeed. Therefore, from this experience, much leadership knowledge was gained.  Personally, I will take the ideal of getting the lower level employees in on the decision making rather than the managers and bosses making all the calls. A well rounded group who are not afraid to speak their minds to me are what succeed.

Developing leadership skills and qualities are far more difficult than one may assume. This class through its assignments and presentations have improved my overall skill set immensely. Growing from the lessons learned and really evaluated after the conclusion of those lessons have been the main point of me becoming an effective leader. Obtaining a better understanding on how to react in different situations is what I need to work on.

Towards the beginning of the semester, I was evaluated as a driver and expressive. I was unsure at that time, but after all this semester had to offer I can finally agree with those two traits. They sum up my leadership standards quite well. I do voice my opinion and do not normally choose the easy way out. As far as fixing problems, need to address and discuss early on to make an effective decision. I would have to agree with my driver and expressive traits after completing the class even though at the beginning I was on the contrary.

 

– – Spencer Scheeler, Sandusky, Ohio

 

I Believe That…

Leadership means a lot to a person and a business. It is a way to lead people or an organization in the right direction. Usually in a leadership there are certain goals that you plan to reach so you manage people accordingly. With that being said you should have the ability to listen to others and get their feedback. Even though it sounds like in a leadership there should be one leader, I feel like everyone is a leader because they can bring new things to the table and also teach us things that we probably didn’t know.

To become a good leader I think I will have to stay on top of everything. Make sure I explain things thoroughly, and everything is done on time. I will also have to realize that this isn’t just about me; it’s about everything (company and employees) as a whole. Making good decisions and learning from mistakes in the past plays a huge part in leadership also. Being surrounded by good people and a safe working environment is important as well. With good leadership skills, it gives you the ability to build other people into good leaders.

Since I got a taste of working in teams and doing group work, I see how much easier it makes life. The thought of getting help, ideas, and feedback from other people helped me a lot, I couldn’t imagine how it would be to have to do everything by myself. Since everyone is assigned to different tasks, it makes you want to focus on your task even more. I believe I will be a good leader because of my bright ideas and communication skills. Being around other people and being able to work with them showed me that it’s important create a bond. I understand that mixing business with pleasure should never happen but it wouldn’t hurt to get to know your partners on a more personal level simply because you probably can relate to them. Also by being in groups and in this class, I am deciding if I want to focus more on human resources within my career. Since my major is business administration, it is very broad leaving more room to experiment. The two things that I’m singling down to are human resources and small business. This class has showed me how important HR duties are, and I actually enjoy finding out more interesting details about it.

Since this is my second management class I still feel the same way about leadership. In my first class I decided that I wanted to be to be a servant leader.  I actually still feel that way because they focus on providing increased service to others while meeting the goals of both; followers and the organization rather than themselves. Like I’ve said before, you can’t be selfish when it comes to your company. Listening to what others have to say plays a big role, and so does bettering them. I would want the best for my employees and as well as my business. I encourage every manager to work by the servant leadership, you can’t go wrong! Much haven’t changed.

– – Markisha Jackson, Shelby twp, Michigan

I Believe In Communication

I see Leadership as a very important tool in anyone’s life. Being a leader in a company you are looked upon to make decisions for that company, that will benefit your company. Also you command the ship, but you don’t want to become a dictator figure and not listen to anyone and always think you right. Leaders also listen to the people under them for certain ideas. Leaders don’t make people feel like they don’t matter, as a leader you should always have a positive attitude and make employees feel like they are a big part of what you are doing, because in reality, they are. A leader also makes sure everything is running smoothly in whatever you may be doing.

I will take what I have learned to become a good leader by listening to ideas from the people around me. Instead of saying no my way is better, I will listen and see what they have too say. It may end up being something that will help me along the way with finding a job or whatever it may be.

Before I started reefing I wasn’t really one too take charge of a group project or something along those lines. But once I started reefing and realizing I need to learn to speak up, I started becoming less nervous when it came to leading. You control the game as a ref and that help me start to come out of my shell and become social. That led to me becoming a better leader in the classroom with group work and outside at my jobs. I have seen major upsides to being a leader and I am going to keep improving as a leader.

I wouldn’t say I am a completely an assertive leader because I don’t really demand people to do something or say this way is better. If they have a different idea I let them discus it with me and if it is better than mine then I will admit it and go with there plan for whatever the job my be. I do like too take control have some things done the way I envisioned it unless it fails.

– – Joel Root, Sterling Heights, Michigan

I Believe in Accomplishment

To become a good leader involves many things. It involves keeping your eye on the goal, determination and strength. It is very important to keep your eye on the goal as a leader. There are many times that it is going to be tempting to take the easy road or cut corners, a true leader is one who does not give into that temptation. It also takes determination to accomplish that ultimate goal. It is very easy to give up, but it takes a strong leader to get the will power from within to drive the group to success. Lastly, I think one of the most important things is strength. When I say strength I don’t mean physical strength. Many times in life you are going to be challenged. There will be a time in your life where people are going to look for someone to lead, to get through a situation. A good leader can recognize that and step up to the plate. They won’t put blame on anyone or freak out but be strong for the group, even if inside they are feeling the same way everyone else is. A leader puts those feelings aside and focuses on the task at hand. A leader looks inside themselves and pulls that strength they have within and carries that onto others.

Leading can be extremely rewarding in many different ways. It gives us a sense of accomplishment knowing that when you set your mind to something and lead not only yourself but others as well you can achieve greatness. Throughout my life I have seen how people handle different situations. Some people make situations worse while others see a challenge and prevail. It is all about how you handle it.

Throughout life I have been in situations where things seem to be falling apart. It felt truly rewarding to be able to step up and guide my group to success. Things could have very well fallen apart but they didn’t. After, I felt great and realized what I had inside of me. From my experiences I have grown confident that I am becoming the person I strive to be.

 – –  Jaclyn Meunier, Escanaba Michigan

What It Takes

            I believe that leadership is one of the most important qualities of anyone that ever dreams of being successful. Leadership isn’t really something that can be taught in the classroom; rather it is something that is learned over time as a result of your experiences and comes directly from your passion and drive. If one wishes to become a leader, it shows as they gradually develop skills over time and gain insight as to what it takes to truly be able to lead a group of individuals with creative ideas, unique perspectives, and varying personalities.

My vision of leadership is that not everyone is cut out to take on the managerial leadership roles while others seem to take to them with no problems arising. There are those that are more outspoken and dedicated to projects while there are others that would rather do the bare minimum and don’t enjoy expressing their perspectives.  What sets the two apart is the leader’s ability to get the others to step out of their comfort zones to take initiative for the sake of the project at hand. A lot of what a leader’s job entails is motivating everyone else to have the same focus and enterprise when it comes to getting the job done.

In order to further develop my own personal leadership skills, I consistently analyze the groups that I have worked with and consider what went well and what could have went better within the group environment. I take note of individual personalities so as to better be able to cater to and work with them if I so happen to come across a personality conflict in the future. Overall, I intend to continuously strengthen my leadership skills as one can never really learn all there is to efficient directing of a team. I will pool all of my resources and things that I have learned from previous experiences and combine them to utilize the ideas as I see them fit in leadership situations.

As I continue to grow as a team leader, I see myself becoming a more professional and productive person. As a person that strives to always be responsible, proficient, and ahead of the curve, leadership is a very important quality for me to steadily be improving upon. As a person not afraid to take on leadership positions, I feel as though developing these skills help me grow into the sort of natural-born leader that I can be.

In the scheme of things, I have a different perspective concerning what leadership style should be utilized. My new view is that I should always consider the situation first and accommodate the project with the leadership style that I feel best suits the personalities I am working with as well as the project as a whole. I don’t feel as though one style can be efficiently employed for every single project requiring a leader.

– – Travis Hodder, Sebewaing, Michigan

 

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