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Case Study - a Tale of Two Coaches

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Case Study Analysis 2: A Tale of Two Coaches

August 5, 2015


Introduction

                It has been said that Coach Bobby Knight and Coach Mike Krzyzewski are two of the most widely known and successful coaches in college basketball. It is no secret that there are differences within their leadership styles. Coach K is known for his encouraging, nurturing, and caring style of leadership. On the other side of the coin is Coach Knight; strategic, controlling, and determined to win no matter what it takes. This analysis will discuss the leadership skills they both possess, and how that has contributed to their success. In addition it will compare and contrast both leadership styles; how they are different and how they are similar.

Bobby Knight

        According to Robert Katz’s Three Skill Approach to leadership, Coach Knight, in my opinion demonstrates two out of the three. First, is technical skill. Technical Skill is having knowledge about a specific area of work, and the products designed to produce. It is having the expertise in a specialized area, analytical ability, and knowing the correct tools to use to achieve success (Katz, 1955). The second skill Coach Knight possess is Conceptual Skills. This is the ability to work with ideas (Northhouse, 2013). A leader who possess strong conceptual skills have good ideas, vision, and how to strategize a plan to achieve those goals. I believe Coach Knight lacks within the Human Skill approach; more concerned with winning than the well-being of his players. In regards to Blake and Mouton's leadership grid Coach Knight falls under the Authority–Compliance style of management. This is when emphasis is placed more on the particular task at hand, and less on the people completing the job (Blake & Mouton, 1964). This style of leadership is purely driven by results and subordinates are merely means to get the job done.

Mike Krzyzewski

        According to Robert Katz’s Three Skill Approach to leadership, Coach K, in my opinion demonstrates all three leadership skills. He has Technical Skill by having the knowledge about a specific area of work, basketball, and how to produce success on the court. He is an expert in his specialized area, uses analytical abilities, and knows the correct tools to use to achieve success (Katz, 1955).  Coach K definitely has Human Skill or the ability to work well with other people. In leadership, human skills enable effective relationships with subordinates, as well as other leaders (Northhouse, 2013). It seems as if Coach K is genuinely concerned about the well-being and needs of his players, and those who work for him. Finally, I believe he possess the ability to work with ideas, as suggested with Conceptual Skills.  He has proven to have vision and goals for his teams. As well as strategic plans to achieve his goals. A leader who possess strong conceptual skills have good ideas, vision, and how to strategize a plan to achieve those goals. In regards to Blake and Mouton's leadership grid Coach K falls under the Team-Management style of management. This is when emphasis is placed both on the task at hand, and the relationships within (Blake & Mouton, 1964). This style of leadership is driven by participation and teamwork. This type of leader is open minded, dependable, and overall pleasant to be around.

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