Coach Knight vs Coach Krzyszewski

Topics: Leadership, Basketball, Management Pages: 5 (1609 words) Published: January 28, 2011
In the contemporary business world, there are many different styles of leaderships. All of them are approaches used by individuals, which are based on their values, preferences and beliefs but also on organizational culture and norms which encourage some styles and discourage others. Leadership styles work most efficiently if they are adapted to the demands of the situation, the requirements of the involved people and the challenges facing the organization. There is a difference in ways leaders approach their employees. In the analysis of Coach Knight and of Coach Krzyszewski’s leadership types, the authors sketch two successful leaders who were great achievers despite huge differences in their leadership styles. Couch Knight led through intimidation and tough discipline while Coach K. through positive reinforcement, trust and confidence.

a) Describe Coach Krzyszewski’s leadership style. What are his basic assumptions about motivation, leading and human nature?

Coach Krzyszewski had one rule, he and his basketball team followed: “Don’t do anything that’s detrimental to yourself. Because if it’s detrimental to you, it‘ll be detrimental to our program and to Duke University.” He believed that having too many rules keep leaders from making decisions, and instead of allowing them to be flexible and dynamic, they limit them. He is truly a leader with few simple rules which help him to build a successful team and become one of the famous trainers in the basketball history. As the West Point graduate he breathed the three main virtues: honesty, honor and discipline. And discipline was one of the basic traits every one of his team players had to learn. Being one of the best Coach Knight’s students, he never underestimated the importance of preparation. He also expected the same from each of his boys “(…) to do what they are supposed to do in the best possible manner at the time they are suppose to do”. Coach Krzyszewski assisted his team at each exercise and game; he studied and practiced with them any possible strategy. But he was more than just trainer of his team. He managed to establish an instant trust and common respect within the whole team. He invested time in “getting inside player’s head, understanding, where (the player) comes from and helping him get to where all need to be as a team”. His taught and practiced an open and close communication with and within his team; he didn’t use whistle and always looked straight into ones eyes when one was talking to him. This principle was lived by everyone in the team, including the Coach. This way he encouraged and enforced the honest communication. Yes - Coach K. was imprinted by honesty, another West Point virtue. His primary motivator was not fear but values, and the biggest among them were: friendship, family and love. Father to three daughters and a whole basketball team, as he used to joke, he didn’t shy away from showing his feelings for his players and the game. And as fathers are, although caring and advising, also just and punishing in the situations which required such actions. This Coach truly believed that people are good, self-motivated and they deserve being treated with respect, love and care – these were the values he learnt at home where “sharing with one another and caring for one another was all about it”.

b) Describe Coach Knight’s leadership style. What are his basic assumptions about motivation, leading and human nature?

Comparing to his student, the master Coach Knight was a so called: “tough guy”. He motto was: “ follow the rules, do exactly what I tell you and you will not loose.” He did not accept any opposition and told his players often: “Boys, you have to listen to me!”. Coach Knight did not accept from his players anything but the best, and this - all the time. He was intense and passionate about all he did. He was never satisfied with their results, and he pushed them always more to the edge of their physical and mental...
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