MGMT 370 – Big Rapids Online Class – Spring 2014

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

Posts From Students:

Michael Reinert –  Michelle LaMore – Angela Moore – Alexandria Wright – Daniel Riedel – Dawanda Dade

I Believe In Honesty, Empathy, and Charisma

When I consider what it means to be a leader, and all the trappings that come with a leadership role, I most often consider the traits of the person more than I consider the demands of the role itself.  I have always believed people are the most valuable asset a company can have, and it doesn’t matter in which industry they operate; people are their foundation.

My current employer has the mantra of: “Hire the people for their personality and manners, and we will train the skills”.  The more I experience interactions with companies (both large and small), other co-workers, and our business clients; I feel his idea moves closer to becoming a truth as time moves on.  We have a good team of folks here, and he knows it.  Why? He chose to hire us based on our qualities, not only our skills, which have created a solid foundation for us to grow.  Ah, but there it is again!  People are the foundation of our growth, plain and simple.

Now, let’s consider the themes in our title:  Honesty, Empathy, and Charisma.  Anyone can be a leader if they possess the qualities and traits of a leader.  They must be honest, of course!  I have worked for companies where the leaders weren’t honest, and it was maddening.  As an employee, if you can’t trust your support, where are you supposed to go when you need help, or an answer?  Honesty, in my eyes, is one of the most important qualities a leader can possess.  Lead by example, lead with honesty, and your team will know they can trust you, count on you, and follow you without hesitation.

Empathy is a close second, as a leader needs to understand the needs of their employees.  To have a leader rise through the ranks, experience what they company does, and understand their goals is a major factor in their success as a leader.  If you don’t understand where you came from, how can you lead into the future?  Also, you need to be able to place yourself into the shoes of other people to understand what their issues or concerns may be.  It’s very easy to tell someone to “deal with” a problem at work, but it is entirely another to take ownership of the problem and find a solution for that employee.  Steps like these can also help instill trust and confidence in a leader’s team.

Charisma, while not an essential trait, is certainly helpful.  Being able to work with people, communicate effectively, joke around, have fun, and be an all-around good person can set you miles apart from other people in leadership roles.  I have always felt that a leader should not only have the skills and knowledge to get the job done, but they need to have the personality and communication skills to lead and inspire their teams.

Overall, leadership is about understanding people, knowing how to communicate, be a real person, and maintain honesty.  All the other skills you need can be learned as you go, but without a foundation of these qualities, a leader may struggle to reach their goals and bring pride to their company.

– – Michael Reinert, Frankenmuth, Michigan


I Believe, I am, I will be

 I believe that in being a great leader you need to know your strengths and weaknesses and continue to grow and learn from them every single day. No one is perfect but you can strive for perfection within yourself as well as your team if you guide them in the direction they are needing to go in. A great leader is one who is willing to invest themselves into the team, group, project, and company. They are always willing to help someone else out even though time is always precious it is the job of a great leader to be patient and to call upon the needs of those around them when it’s crunch time.

I have learned a great deal in the short time since this course began. From how you really need to be able to be a visionary and see the whole picture while also being able to focus on the small moving parts too. You also need to be proactive rather than reactive do everything with an intentional purpose not just a reaction to a situation. A great leader is not just someone giving orders but someone that is asking for your help in creating the best product or service they could possibly create. It takes more to be a great leader than just yourself; it’s about the continued growth of others. You as a leader will get the good, the bad, and the ugly. Remember though that the glory and praises you get as a leader are not because of you but because of your leadership abilities with your team and their successes.

You become yourself while becoming a leader because you see what exactly you are made of in tough situations. You need to learn how to adapt to situations, and how to make the best of an ugly situation. You learn how to be a better you when you are helping others better themselves. Patience, understanding, humility, and strength are key components to a great leader and as well to being a great person too. When you get to know yourself better you can better understand how to help others.

I have not changed my idea of what makes a great leader because I have always known what I would like to see my previous supervisors do for myself and others who worked for them. You need to start with a great solid foundation and work your way up through training, coaching, and being supportive. When you show appreciation to your employees for their hard work and dedication it will pay off. Be grateful, be humble, be honest, be patient, be adaptable, be understanding, be strong, and be you! Those are the best attributes you have and thus why you are placed in a leadership role because of who you are and how you care for others and take pride in everything you and your team do.

– – Michelle LaMore, Edwardsburg, Michigan

I Believe Leadership Cultivates Leaders

Real leaders must be able to adapt their style to the circumstances they find themselves in. In order to lead others people have to be confident in a leader’s abilities, their ideas and feel that they are doing, or going to do, what is right. For those that are eloquent speakers, they can use this ability to inspire others to adjust their behaviors through their words. For those that are persuasive, they can sell ideas and behavior changes to those they manage. Some managers can convey through their actions a sincere caring for people that motivates them to perform better, to try harder, to do their job and go beyond that. Managers don’t need to change who they are in order to be effective supervisors, they only need to utilize their natural abilities or skills to build upon their personal style of leadership. Being open to ideas from others, and looking for ways to improve not just business operations but themselves as leaders, is the process of ‘becoming’ that the quote refers to. True leaders never stop learning or listening because the process is never truly complete just as leadership is not stagnant, but flowing and evolving with every experience.

“Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control and creating leaders rather than forging followers.” – David Marquet, Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders.

I have learned several times over that being good with people is not the same as being a good leader. I have found that if you can create plans and goals with others, and not simply for others, you have a much better chance of success. Team members who feel their input is value and respected by management perform better. Creating that sense of investment in a plan energizes people; they push themselves and hold themselves accountable for their part of the whole. Empowering employees to make decisions as well as giving them the resources to implement changes to their workflow or projects will likely improve their productivity and in turn that of the group. A leader who creates an atmosphere of growth and empowerment for others doesn’t have to be present for positive things to happen.

– – Angela Moore, Constantine, Michigan

I Believe in Those that I Lead

My vision of leadership is that the people being led are the primary role when it comes to being a leader because without them, there would be no one to lead. When you analyze the people in the group you are leading, you in turn find out a lot about yourself as well. You learn: what your leadership style is, whether you are a good listener, how to be a good motivator, how to approach people, and so many other things. While learning these things you are in turn learning what leadership style works best for you and once you know that you can capitalize on those skills.

I have learned about myself that I strive when it comes to other people. I like to find out what makes them work and then use that knowledge to motivate them. I believe one of the most effective skills of a leader is understanding people. If you do not understand people, then you will not understand that employee A thrives when it comes to group work and is goal oriented whereas employee B likes to work by himself rather than with a group. Having this knowledge can help you tap into each employees full potential and seeing what they are capable of.

I believe that just because I am the leader does not mean that I have all of the answers. If you ask your employees for their ideas on a project, it not only shows you what they are capable of but it opens the possibilities for the project that much more. You will never know what your employees are capable of unless you test them and ask. This style of leadership also builds trust and makes the employees feel like they belong more.

In summary, being a leader is not all about you it is about the people you lead. When the people you lead see these traits they will want to become leaders too. And I truly believe in Tom Peters’s observation that the best leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.

– – Alexandria Wright, Mio, Michigan

I Believe Leadership is Firm but Flexible

            I believe that the biggest attribute of leadership in today’s society is the basic understanding that the times have changed.  Effective leadership in business, sports, and life all come from people who have the ability to adapt.  You may have short term success sticking to your basic thoughts and principles of leadership, but the ability to sustain leadership for different groups over a long period of time comes from the ability to adapt and evolve to the changes in personality of your personal.

Quality leadership does not have to be a dictatorship, but it must be firm.  You cannot allow your thoughts to waiver because of personal feelings for employees and their situations outside of your working environment.  Effective management and leadership must have a feel for employee morale and things that require attention, but at the same time you must maintain the thought process that you have to do what is best for the organization regardless of internal and external influences.  I believe being firm in your basic principles and morals is paramount to gaining the respect of your subordinates.  You cannot expect a person to follow you if you do not believe in the direction you are heading.  People, for the most part want to be pushed and want to be guided.

Adapting is a natural part of life; from the beginning of time the survivors have adapted through hardships and continued to press on.  I think management has to be the same way.  If boss A has been running a company since the 1960s, odds are the way he interacted with young employees has changed dramatically.  We were all brought up with an old school mentality that the man in charge has the final say and will be a strong voice.  If you look at examples in sports, coaches used to get in their players face, demean them, yell at them, and try to embarrass them and it used to really work.  Now, with the modern athlete and all the financial changes to sports and the changes in generational mind frames you must approach them differently.  As a coach, you must be able to connect and communicate to get an effective result. I truly believe today’s athletes are as fragile mentally as ever and it is the duty as a leader to be able to make them understand that you are in the fight together and that you’re constantly growing/evolving together.  I think the most important thing that gets misused in today’s society is power.   Effective leadership strategies will constantly evolve, but the ever-lasting fundamental principles of being firm, fair, and honest will always remain.

– – Daniel Riedel, Rochester Hills, Michigan

I Believe in Me

            Leadership, There are so many different definition on the meaning coming from others. Some would say “A leader is someone who leads”, “Someone that makes the final decision”, “someone with authority”, or simply “someone who has followers”. My vision on leadership, is someone who has a goal and is striving to succeed it through their surroundings. A leader does not have to have the same style as everyone else, a leader is being their selves and letting their personalities and talents come out. Once a person does this they discover a side of them they have never noticed before. A person that is able to hear others opinions, and views, that is supportive along with guidance, lead with honesty and integrity, and leadership is not a position. It is what that person makes out of that position they have that will make them stand out as a leader.

What I have learned, is that many times a person doubt their selves on if they can do a certain task. They do not know that they have the ability to succeed until they attempt it. Seeing that a leader is not a demanding person, who look people down because they are not at the same level as them. Also not someone who do not encourage their team and acknowledging them in the work/tasks they set to complete. The only way to become yourself in the process of becoming a leader is to be who you are. I have not tried to be like anyone else, but only be who I am and this helped me to be a team leader. Example: I like to have things organized and able to have an open communication about every single task. By being “Me” my organized and communication style helped aide in as a team leader.

My leadership style is one that I have developed unknowing and knowing, I say unknowing as in I did not pay attention until a certain point in a task or assignment and acknowledgment from a team member. Knowing how I do things and the benefit it can have when it comes to a team. I also like learning from others, to see how I can make my vision manifest into something greater than I expected. With my leadership style I see now that I can believe in who I am, and what I can do for myself and others. I believe I’m a leader I believe in myself!

– – Dawanda Dade, Kalamazoo, Michigan


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