Thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 370 Class  – Ferris State University Traverse City, Michigan

Posts From Students:

Rick Kevwitch –  Kenneth Klump – Andrew Pleva – Kathryn Karvala – Jacqueline Pishney –  Daniel Duffiney – Ryan Monette

I BELIEVE, Leadership is Earned


Being a leader isn’t just about taking charge and making good decisions in order to achieve a common goal, it’s about how you are thought of by those you are leading. Giving commands or tasks to team members in order to move closer to the goal is something any leader can do. What separates a leader from a good leader is how those commands are received by the team. A good leader will have earned the trust and respect from their team. When a command is given, the task will not just get done in a satisfactory manner, it will be done in a way that would make the leader proud. The team members, because of their respect for the leader, will want to do tasks as best they can because of what the leader does for them.

The leader treats his team with respect, and shows them trust by giving them the opportunities to think and make decisions for themselves. If they make a mistake, the leader is there to pick them up and correct them. The leader moves obstacles out of the way which allow the team to find the right path and move closer towards the goal, giving each member the ability to succeed. When corrective action is needed, the leader is fair and counsels the team member on what they had done wrong and how to avoid that mistake in the future.

The leader is not lazy, but is in the trenches with the team, leading by example. This shows the team that they are not thought of as less by the leader but are members of the same team. The team members are also challenged to take initiative and to go above and beyond. This not only pleases the leader but helps the team as a whole become more successful. The leader teaches members to look out for one another. This will provide bonds between them and allow them to trust one another, furthering the success of the team. The leader will be able to recognize when the team has low morale, and will be able to boost it because the leader is close to the team and knows them well. If one team member is not successful, the team fails. The leader guides and directs the team in the direction of success. The leader instills pride in the team members, which motivates them to want success.

I believe that this is a good base of what makes a leader, a good leader. There are many more factors involved for being a good leader, but the above provides some key points for successful leadership. Good leadership is leading with the earned respect and trust of the team, and with that success will not be that far away. Not every leader will be the same, and not all teams will respond the same way, but a good leader will find the right way to interact with the team and lead them towards success.

 – – Rick Kevwitch, Interlochen, Michigan

I Believe Anyone Can Become a Great Leader

Just being in a management position does not make someone a great leader, or even a good leader.  Leaders do not have to be in a position of power or wealth to be considered a great leader.  A great leader can come from anywhere; they inspire, motivate, and are able to create culture that supports improvements.  Today’s successful companies are being led by transformational leaders rather that the transactional leaders.

Think about the leaders of the past that were able to move cultures and nations, people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus Christ were all leaders that were able to move nations.  These leaders took on the roles to change what they knew was right, and people followed their beliefs.  They were not promoted into leadership, they knew who they were, what they stood for and what was right. They all had a vision that people followed.  They inspired and motivated people to become better than they are today, no matter what the immediate costs were.

Today’s workplace has two types of leaders, the transactional leaders and transformational leaders.  The transactional leaders tend to give orders and ensure tasks are followed through in a specific order.  They ensure that the rules are enforced and that deadlines are kept.  These types of leaders rarely inspire or motivate people, I would go as far as saying they are not leaders at all, they are managers.  Transformational leaders, on the other hand, are charismatic and share their vision with everyone.  They empower people to support their vision and collaborate to find innovative solutions or innovative products.  They motivate their employees to become better people at work and at home.  A transformational leader still holds their employees accountable, the employees are more willing to go above and beyond their duties.

After graduation I will have a better chance at being placed in a management position.  I will need to stand for something more than just being the “boss” in order to become a great leader.  After entering the workforce I will need to work on my leadership skills even at an entry level.  It is my opinion that people cannot succeed without the support of others.  After achieving a management position, I will ensure that my employees are empowered.  The best ideas can come from the people on the ground floor, those are the people that can make a company great.  The idea of becoming a manager is not enough, as it is my dream to be a leader within a company that strives for constant improvement and greatness.  Knowing that I do not have to become a manager to become that leader will help in achieving my goals.

 – – Kenneth Klump, Traverse City, Michigan


An opinion is defined as a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. While leadership involves the ability to lead a group of people, how one portrays leadership is what gets people to follow. I view leadership as a privilege, one that can be taken away from me at any moment depending on how well of a job I do as being a leader. When leading a group, one must consider all possibilities and outcomes of what goal their group is trying to reach. With this, the leader is required to use its best judgment to determine which route to take, which could lead to an endless possibility of outcomes. Although this judgment may include some of the leader’s knowledge, there is not fact or guarantee that the outcome will be the same as its original goals.

In this class and other leadership positions that I have held, I have learned that although I might be the leader, in order to be successful, I need to ensure that my group in agreement with my decisions or actions. Without a group, there cannot be a leader. In order to reach leadership potential within a group, there needs to be a fine balance between directive and supportive behavior given to the members. A good example of this logic within the class project we had would be when I, the quality manager, was advocating high quality within the company. In order to do this, I needed to direct my team to include quality in our process and support it with reasoning as to why it was important.

The leader typically is the highest role within a group. By becoming a team leader I have become myself by leading the group in the fashion in which I want it done, which may be different than how others may lead their group. In order to do this, I use my own experiences and opinions to shape the group to reach its fullest potential and eventually achieve the original goals we have been working towards. Leadership is a matter of opinion because every leader and every leadership technique is different, however the goal tends to be the same, do the best you can and be successful in what you are doing.

– -Andrew Pleva, Maple City, Michigan


I believe every journey leads to a self-discovery

            I believe the best place to start when describing leadership is with a vision. The one who is to become a leader must have a strong passion for what they are going to be creating in the near future. Having this passion will unlock two other necessary qualities: motivation and determination, to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I do not state that meaning using any unethical or illegal behavior; just the willpower to get what needs to be done, done, and the energy to jump over obstacles that may enter their pathway. If one cannot connect with what they are creating, they should realize this self-discovery in the beginning because they should not be the leader for the project. Without passion, a leader cannot complete a project using their full potential.

Another component a leader must possess is  trust. This type of trust is not in its singular form, there are many elements to this. A leader must be able to trust the team that is working on the project. A leader must also be trustworthy. To obtain trust all must be reliable and credible. One can only lead as strong as the weakest teammate.  Trust is hard to earn, yet easily shattered. With trust comes risk. It is a risk to trust someone. Every team member must expose this risk of trust to succeed.

Personally, I have learned  that it takes a very well rounded person to be a leader. One has to excel in a matrix of emotion and quality combinations so complex that it can takes years to learn how to master. I have learned that a leader is never done learning how to lead. They know when to say no and when to let others lead. They are willing to take risk and get out as soon as they can when it is not looking good. In the end I have learned that I am not ready to lead yet. I have not mastered controlling my emotions enough to be the leader I envision. I hope this quality will come with age. I will never stop trying.  I can see myself becoming the leader that meets my expectations in the future though.

I want to end this with a quote by John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” I believe this to be a perfect quote to reference to see if your leadership style is working. Once that leader can sleep at night, feeling happy and content with the style they are using, the biggest self-discovery will occur, they can be a leader.

 – –  Kathryn Karvala, Caspian, Michigan


I Believe Aretha Franklin had it right; it’s all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I think that without a doubt in order to lead, people have to respect you. In order to earn that respect however, I used to think you had to mean, cold and distant. Leadership to me means to have someone worth following, not because they are intimidating but because they make you care about your work, give you opportunities to prove yourself as an employee and provide you the training and tools required for advancement.

As a leader it is important to give your employees goals to work for without interference from you as a leader.  Your job as a leader is to instill the same goals and visions you have for yourself and the company to your employees to help achieve them as a team.

If you provide your team with goals to accomplish on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis you will find that more often than not people will rise to the occasion. This will help create a team environment that will allow employees to work together in order to accomplish the company goals. In addition if any problems arise you will be able to rely on your team to come up with the best solution.

It is important to rely on and trust your employees as a leader. You are not always going to know the best way to complete your employee’s jobs, trust them. If you are able to communicate what you need completed to your employees you will be able to find the most efficient way to complete tasks.

The type of leader that I would like to be is someone who knows when it is time to work and also not forget to make time to laugh and play. You spend as much time, if not more with your co-workers than you do with your own family. It is important to have a positive working environment with your employees where they respect you and if through that respect you become friends it creates the perfect work environment.

In conclusion I think being a leader is more than just the corner office, fancy suits, and an arrogant attitude. To be a good leader you need to respect your employees, trust them, listen to them and finally let them know what you expect from them. Through this you will be able to accomplish a positive working environment where everyone will feel valued.

– – Jacqueline Pishney, Traverse City, Michigan

This I Believe Essay

                With the advances in travel, technology, and cultural knowledge the world has gone from a distant and mysterious place to something more along the lines of a large neighborhood. Gone are the days of a company owned, operated, and business conducted exclusive to that home country. In today’s world Mrs. Cleaver next door sends the kids off to school then gets on the computer and conducts business on a global level. See buys goods from Liang in China, orders product packaging from Suzette in France, talks with a store owner in Brazil, and then ships products to Mexico, California, England, and Australia all before the kids get dropped off by the bus after school.

My point is that you can no longer be an independent leader that solely directs people on what to do. Today’s world requires that our leaders be part of a group that works together as a cohesive unit in order to get the job done. By bringing people together it improves the chances of success because you aren’t limited to one leader’s knowledge and abilities. You benefit from the collective intelligence, experience, abilities, and ideas of the entire tea rather than depending on one person to do it all.

Recently in my academic career I was thrown into a group of strangers that had extremely different backgrounds and personalities. We were told that we are now a team and that our grades partially depended upon the performance of the team. In the beginning I was hesitant because I didn’t like the idea of any portion of my academic success to be dependent upon someone else. This feeling quickly changed as the knowledge and abilities of each team member surfaced. Things that I could have learned and done ok on my own was something that a team member knew and could do superbly. In turn, I could focus on the areas that I was strongest in and make a substantial contribution to our group.

The world has a multitude of things occurring at once and in order to be successful we need to have as much knowledge and ideas from the group of people working on the issues as possible. Today’s leader needs to abandon the threatening feeling of giving up control and embrace the idea of shared success. With everyone being honest and applying their best skills the entire process benefits and helps to advance the entire team. This unexpected experience has helped me learn and appreciate the value of a group of leaders over a leader of groups. This I believe.

– – Dan Duffiney, Northport, Michigan

I Believe Great Leaders Must Also Be Great Followers

Leaders and followers are often viewed as being two clear and distinct roles. Leaders are typically considered to be the people with the confidence, the willingness, and the know how to take charge whenever there are important matters to be attended to, while followers are those who are loyal to these leaders and do whatever is asked of them to get the job done. To me, however, the line between leaders and followers is much more blurred. In fact, I believe that the most effective leaders are the ones who also happen to be great followers and that great followers also have the potential to be great leaders.

Apart from the usual characteristics required to be a leader, which include self-awareness, vision, commitment, competency, and persuasiveness, one must also be a good listener. He or she must be constantly aware of the needs and desires of his or her followers and be willing to adapt their plans and leadership style based on these needs. A good leader must also be respectful and loyal to their followers, in the same way their followers are to them, and be open to all opinions and ideas. This way, the leader is able to make decisions that would, in the end, help to benefit everyone. Obviously, it is impossible to completely please everyone, and leaders must eventually put their foot down when it comes to making certain decisions, but by following along with what those they lead have to say and by taking these things into consideration when making the final decision, leaders are able to, at the very least, continue to earn and maintain the respect and loyalty that others provide them with. Failing to do so would otherwise result in a loss of support from these followers, meaning that a person would no longer really be in a leadership position at all.

Personally speaking, I would not yet consider myself to be a very strong leader, as I simply lack the proper experience in this regard. However, as I am generally pretty loyal and often do what is asked of me, I would say that I am a good follower. Because of this, once the right opportunities to lead present themselves and my confidence in my ability to take charge grows, I would like to believe that I will eventually become a leader that people admire and respect.

– – Ryan Monette, Lake Ann, Michigan


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