Tale of Two Coaches

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Date Submitted: 09/13/2011 11:14 AM

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This paper will discuss the leadership styles of two successful basketball coaches: Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) and Bobby Knight. The leadership styles of the two coaches are very different; however, they are both successful coaches with similar win-loss records. This paper will further discuss the characteristics that both men possess that contribute to their success, and which traits may have been a hindrance.

Mike Krzyzewski, the basketball coach at Duke University, was mentored by Bobby Knight. Both Krzyzewski and Knight are two of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time. The coaching style of Coach K is a combination of his past experiences playing in the Army and under the leadership of Coach Knight. Coach K has great admiration for his mentor and shares Knight’s fixation and dedication to winning. Coach K does share some his mentor’s views of leading his players to success; however he has adopted his own style of leadership to reflect his own personality.

Coach K and Coach Knight are both emergent leaders. Both men possess inner characteristics that others admire and highly regard. The followers of both view them as being positive role models and knowledgeable about the sport and how to effectively transfer that knowledge to others.

Both leaders have legitimate power; this is because both men had formal job authority over the basketball team at their organization. The position of head coach gave Coach K and Coach Knight the power to implement policies and procedures for the basketball team to follow. However, position alone is not a strong power bases without a solid foundation. Coach K and Coach Knight built also possess expert power. Expert power is based on the followers’ perception of the leader’s competence. Both of these coaches are viewed as being knowledgeable about basketball and knowledgeable about how to build a winning team.

The actions of Coach Knight would align him closely with the managerial role....