A Tale of Two Coaches Part 1

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  • Topic: Leadership, Management, Skill
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  • Published : April 11, 2011
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Running Head: A Tale of Two Coaches Part 1

Monica J. Price

Grand Canyon University

LDR 600

Professor: Randall Conley

March 2, 2011

When it comes to leadership and management, Coach K and Coach Knight are undeniably the two most respected and committed college basketball coaches in the United States. But the one thing that sets the two apart is their leadership styles. Coach Knight chooses to lead by intimidation and Coach K choice is to use positive reinforcement. Both leadership styles have produced great results with a win-win record at both colleges. Leadership is a process in which the leader has to influence their follower’s in order to achieve a set of common goals, and in these two cases it’s to win basketball games.

To become a great leader one must possess the traits needed to create the desire for the followers to take directions from the leader to meet the ultimate goal. Both coaches displayed a high level of drive, motivation, integrity, confidence, and task knowledge to which in return produced a high level of achievement. When correlating the power bases to each coach, Coach K would have to be classified as having referent power in which he was a coach that was admired by his students, expert power whereas the students perceived their coach as competent and knowledgeable and reward power. With Coach K using reward power he simply used love, kindness and positive reinforcement saying things such as, “job well done”, or you can do this. Reward power is having the capacity to provide a reward to the students and for them encouraging words were their reward. Coach Knight tends to use legitimate and coercive power using intimidation to get his students to provide results of winning. He demands discipline on his court and if and when it’s not present the coach chooses to use punishment such as benching the student. Coach Knight was also known for dismissing the students from practice or threatening to revoke scholarships if they didn’t perform at his level. Coercion reduces employees' satisfaction with their jobs, leading to lack of commitment and general employee withdrawal (www.referenceforbusiness.com). Coach Knight is more aligned to that of a managerial role being that his actions are in line with that of a person working at keeping the discipline and staying on schedule regardless of the situation. He is a planner of strategic moves, an organizer, and very controlling with his team. With his win-win personality he seems to take big unnecessary risk and communicates his feelings to the team in a negative way but he means well. Whereas, Coach K is more aligned to that of a great leader minimizing risk and control the environment such as: not tolerating any form of animosity between his students. According to some researchers, management is concerned with creating order and stability, whereas leadership is about adaptation and constructive change. (Northouse, 2010, p. 13) With comparing the two coach respective traits, Coach K exhibited traits of having openness, being agreeable, conscientiousness, and a extraverted person. His ability to see problems between team members and his nurturing personality created a positive atmosphere making him an acceptable coach with positive energy. On the other hand Coach Knight did not see the benefit of showing feelings or to be sociable with students. He spent time in the military and his role was to be organized, controlling, dependable and decisive. He did not feel the need to conform to what is perceived as normal to most, but to be organized and strict to meeting his goal. In my opinion, Coach K effectiveness with students using the leadership skills that he has chosen seemed to be effective. The students can relate to him because he communicates in a positive manner and he also posses the human skills that are needed to produce team work with positive outcomes. Coach Knight is great with getting the job...
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