Thoughts and reflections of undergraduate students from MGMT 370 Class – Ferris State University Traverse City, Michigan
Posts From Students:
Jessica Witthopp – Marilyn Zielinski – James Morgan – Keaton Smith – Ryan Courturier – James Dwyer – Amanda Zehner-Carlson
I believe to be a good leader you have to continue learning and adjusting
Before I had returned to school, I had the impression that managers did little. The purpose of managing was to tell others what to do and how to do it. Some managers also did some sort of paperwork, nothing big. If you were able to get a management position you were able to get good pay for minimal work. In a sense it was the perfect job.
Now that I have had a few years in school I have learned that I could not be more wrong. Managers have many responsibilities that most people don’t really know about. It is not a career for the stubborn, or those set in their ways. It is an ever changing process and if you are not willing to change then you probably shouldn’t pursue management. One of the biggest things that I learned is that who you are will be the kind of manager you are.
As my years in school are winding down I am thinking of the ways that I will use what I have learned and apply it to the real world. For me, all of the things that I have learned will have an impact on how good of a leader I will be and how good of a person I will be. The old saying of “you reap what you sow” is a good way to explain how. Life is an everlasting learning opportunity and it is up to you to get the most from it.
When asked what one word I would use to describe a good manager, it would be evolving. Not just for the manager but for the career. It takes a lifetime of learning and adjusting to become a good manager. It will take a person that can adjust to the place and people that they will be managing. For instance what works in a big city most likely won’t work for a small town, or a finance manger may not do well in an information technology manager position. They will have to be able to adjust and still keep their basic manager skills intact.
This is why I truly believe that to be a great manager you have to be adjustable and learn as from all the opportunities around you. As you grow so will your management skills.
– – Jessica Wittkop, Mancelona Michigan
FINDING THE LEADER WITHIN ME
I believe good leadership begins with a person, or persons who are confident, and respectful. He must have the skills, knowledge and experience to lead others, and the ability to allow others to learn, and develop their own leadership skills. He must also be motivated to continue to learn, and improve his leadership skills. Leadership requires the ability to communicate effectively, give clear concise direction, and then allow his team to do their work. A good leader is ethical, and responsible to himself, his team, and his company. Most importantly, good leadership ensures a safe workplace for his staff, and their environment. Good leadership is not just a supervisor, manager, or executive. It is a team of qualified people that work together, with a good leader, as a unit, with a common goal to succeed.
To become a good leader, I will continue to develop leadership qualities through education, and training. I have recognized that there are several departments involved with developing a successful business. I must become not only a good communicator, but also a good listener, and be open to new ideas. Quite often, in business, there are changes in our processes, production lines, or even upgrades to equipment. Adapting to these changes requires good teamwork, and leadership. Good leadership is not just one person, it does require an ethical, and responsible leader, but leadership requires the teamwork of everyone involved to make a successful business or company.
Education is helping me to expand the skills, and talents I already have, as well as developing new areas of knowledge. Combining education, and knowledge, with the attributes I already have will help me become a better team leader. Knowledge also builds confidence, and responsibility. Having been a team member, and not a leader, I am familiar with how I wanted to be treated. I can use that insight as a team leader.
I believe that “becoming yourself” means to use the attributes that one already has, and allow them to grow into leadership qualities.
I have always believed that a good leader should be ethical, responsible, a good communicator, respectful of others, and open to new ideas. My learning has not changed my idea of a good leadership style. I have learned that there is a lot more involved in running a successful business, than I had known. The many different production methods, production layouts, graphs, calculations, and methods of running a business make it far more complicated than I was aware. I am hopeful that if I have the opportunity to become a team leader I am able to use the knowledge I have gained in this class, and combine it with my own skills, and attributes to become the leader and person I started out to be and enjoy becoming a leader.
– – Marilyn Zielinski, Traverse City, Michigan
Being an Effective Leader Involves More Than Just Leading
I believe that being a good leader entails more than just the ability to delegate. People will often oversimplify a leader as someone who is merely capable of barking orders at their subordinates, but a truly effective leader knows how to lay the groundwork to create a situation in which those who follow them will do so in a manner that facilitates the achievement of group goals. Often a leader must know when to hear, as opposed to being heard. Engaging in active listening will foster bonds of trust with subordinates, and also allow for the gathering of useful information without the need for probing. Those who follow a leader will not do so without having a certain amount of respect for that leader. This respect will not be earned by a leader that chooses to address people in an aggressive and condescending manner. Instead, a leader can earn respect by showing respect, and by showing their subordinates that what they do provides value and meaning to the organization. When people believe that their leader will work hard and effectively for them, they will work hard and effectively for their leader, thus accomplishing organizational goals.
This semester, I was afforded the opportunity to be the Operations Manager of a company in a business simulation. From this experience, I was able to learn that people generally show up to work with the intention of doing well. As the leader of my company, I found that I was able to get effective results from my team by simply giving them ample notification of when tasks were to be completed, describing what my expectations were of these tasks, and empowering them to complete these tasks without micro-managing their work. My team respected the fact that I did not “power-trip” in my role as leader, thus resulting in a cooperative and effective work environment.
Serving the role of Operations Managers has afforded me a level of confidence and self-assurance that I did not possess before the business simulation. The combination of this experience and my new-found confidence will serve as a vital tool in my process of becoming an effective and successful leader.
– – James D. Morgan, Traverse City, Michigan
Believe in Leadership
I believe that leadership is not something that I naturally have. I believe that leadership is something that has taken me a lifetime to learn and something that I will continue to learn throughout my life. The skill of leadership is something that can always be improved. Throughout my life I have had many excellent leaders and it is my responsibility to continue to lead and show what I have learned. Examples of leaders that have made an impact on me are my parents, family, teachers, friends, coaches, co-workers and bosses. Leaders are people who I respect and look up to. They have shown me the way and made me the person I am today. Because of these leaders in my life, I can also be a leader and show people in my life what I have learned as life progresses.
My vision of leadership is having a goal in mind and keeping that goal clear until the goal is accomplished. It is important to work well with others and be on the same level so they can understand your way of thinking. It is important to handle complications and failure well and work through every situation with everyone involved to accomplish the goal that everyone wants. It takes courage, motivation and dedication to stay committed to being a leader and leading others.
I will take what I have learned to become a good leader by understanding my role as a leader and working in a group to accomplish the goal at hand. When others are relying on me to do my part, I take full responsibility and stay focused and involved with the group by asking the questions needed to fully understand what I am liable for. I will help others as they need it and take advice in order to continue moving forward and stay moving in the right direction. I understand that I need to listen to others in order for me to stay involved in the group and progress with them. I need to handle the pressure of others relying on me to accomplishing the task in a timely manner and meet deadlines.
I am becoming myself in the process of becoming a leader because I am using what I have learned throughout my whole life and applying it as I learn about the important skills of being a leader. I am using my mistakes and failures to my advantage by learning from them to handle situations better in the future. I am applying my leadership skills to every aspect in life and becoming a leader of my own life as well.
I have changed my mind about what my leadership style is as a result of my learning because I have learned from the leaders in my life and they have shown me the importance of leadership and what it takes to be a leader. I am more confident and understand that leadership can be difficult at times and the hard work it takes to be a leader in different situations working with people of all skill levels. I will never stop learning about leadership and will continue to grow as a leader and individual as I progress in life.
– – Keaton Smith, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe Good Leaders need to be Good People
True leadership is earned, not simply given from a company or person to another. Leadership is earned by respecting and understanding your peers, and trusting their decisions as much as they would yours. It is earned through an ethical and moral compass that does not land you in infamy, but a position of admiration and guidance. The relationships formed in being a leader need to be more important than the power that comes with the title.
I have had many jobs in my life and can honestly say the jobs I enjoyed the most also had the best bosses and leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with. One of my first jobs was cutting grass on a golf course at 5am every day, and for some reason as a 19 year old right out of high school I ended up loving it. Being older and wiser I know exactly why, and it was because of our crew chief. He went out of his way to do the same work we did as his employees, and got to know us better while doing it. He earned our respect and dedication because he also became our friend. We worked hard because we wanted success for our friend and leader. Now this may seem like an oversimplified example, but the importance of what I learned then is still with me almost two decades later, and something I try to replicate when I am in a leadership role.
With an extensive career as a college student, I have been able to explore leadership beyond just my real life experiences. Courses have taught me how to avoid groupthink, or when the decisions coming out of a team are irrational because no one in group wants to break the harmony. Good leaders need to weigh all the options, and make the best choices with the information they have. Sometimes this means making a decision like a dictator, and other times much more democratically.
It is a combination of both experience and education that I use when I am put in a position of power. So far I have had a lot of success and made quite a few great friends in the process. Being a friend and peer while still being the boss is what I value most personally when leading. There will always be new challenges awaiting me, and I look forward to applying what I have learned to achieve success.
– – Ryan Courturier, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe in A Vision
There is a lot to be said about leadership and those who seek to become leaders. Usually those who take on this role, no matter which field it is, such as a team leader for a project, head of a department, boss or manager are respected by their peers and work hard to build trust amongst their team. The reasons these people choose this role if they do, certainly varies from person to person. Some will do it for the challenge, others for the status. But there’s more to leadership than just accepting the title of the leader. Of course there are varying levels of commitment necessary but even then, one must go further to define just what becoming a leader means.
Becoming a leader is not necessarily about learning some new skill or refining organization techniques (although, either do certainly help, given the task.) Becoming a leader can be seen as extension of one’s own self and most importantly, the culmination of acquired and intrinsic skills and personality traits. Leadership implies that there is a specific vision or system of beliefs that an individual will bestow upon their team in order to achieve a broader objective. This vision is unique to the leader and in many ways, a reflection of what they believe is the right course of action.
To become a leader is also about “enjoying the process of becoming” as stated by Warren Bennis. To truly make the leadership role one’s own, one must be able to enjoy themselves in the process. If a leader dreads the responsibility that their role entails, these feelings are often reflected in their work and additionally, the expectations set forth for the team. If the team feels that the leader isn’t faithfully executing their duties or isn’t enthusiastic about their vision, there’s little incentive to do more than what’s required which even then, that may be questionable.
There certainly are many, many aspect to leadership and the process of becoming leader. However at its core, the idea of leadership is quite simple; enjoy yourself and the role you take, set forth a vision you would like to pursue and finally, instill the confidence in your team necessary to carry out your vision.
– – James Dwyer, Traverse City, Michigan
I Believe in Servant Leadership
What is servant leadership? “Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership) In short terms working side by side with your co-workers no matter what the status. Allowing your subordinates to come up with resolution and acknowledge how they help you and the team. Servant Leadership is to be willing to change, adapt and be flexible.
To stay a servant leader you must continue to educate yourself and make changes to your style of leadership depending on the situation or the person that you are trying to lead. Remembering that we are not irreplaceable there is always someone we should be training to take our position. Being a servant leader you can’t be afraid of being replaced and hide information from your subordinates. You should be training your replacement daily.
There is nothing that I will ask my workers to do that I won’t do. My leadership style over the last 5 years has changed tremendously, through trainings, education and learning from others I have found to be more of a servant leader rather than a dictatorship leader. I have seen the “swoop and poop” leadership style, the leader who comes in just to tell you what to do then walk away. I have worked for leaders like that and have seen the direct response from the workers. I have worked to not be this leader but to be the leader who works side by side with my employees and leading by example. “Whether you like it or not, your people follow your example. They look to you for signals, and you have enormous influence over them. If they see you fail to implement a policy you disagree with, they may think they have a green light to do the same.” (Abrashoff, Captain D. Michael. It’s Your Ship. New York. Business Plus. 2002. pg 32) Being a servant leader we must show the way and lead our team.
Although I work to be a servant leader my style and beliefs won’t always be the answer for all work environments or people. Part of being a servant leader we must adapt and be flexible and that might mean to each individual person we lead. I am a leader of 135 people and not one of them are the same; one understands one way and another, another way. Being a leader is a constant development and ever changing philosophy.
– – Amanda Zehner-Carlson, Traverse City, Michigan