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Coach K A Matter of the Heart Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
1217 1075 Words (3 Pages) Scott A. Snook, Leslie A. Perlow, Brian J. Delacey Harvard Business School : 406044
This solution includes: A Word File A Word File

This case is based on the different leadership styles of two Basketball Coaches. Although these Coaches had teams performing the same way, which means that the outcome of both leadership styles was the same. However, leadership styles were significantly different. These Coaches had different concepts about motivation, human nature, and leading which shaped their styles. Coach K was more soft and flexible in his leadership style. His main focal point was the development of relationships; whereas, Coach Knight’s basis of leadership was the enforceability of rules on the players to bring out their best which is why he was hard on rules and discipline.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. Compare and contrast coach K and coach Knight, how are they different? How are they similar?

  2. Describe coach K's communication and leadership styles. What are his basic assumptions about motivation, leading and human nature?

  3. Describe coach Knight's communication and leadership styles. What are his basic assumptions about motivation, leading and human nature?

Case Analysis for Coach K A Matter of the Heart Case Solution

1. Compare and contrast Coach K and Coach Knight, how are they different? How are they similar?

Both the Coaches were best known for their leadership styles. However, some aspects of their leadership styles were similar to each other, and some were different. Leadership has the aim of goal achievement. The leader leads the followers towards the achievement of the set goal. Coach K was known to be encouraging the development of relationships between the team members to help in the achievement of the goals. According to Coach K, the development of relationships within the team helped add value to the team. On the other hand, Coach Knight adopted an extreme program in which relationships between the members were not the priority. Coach Knight wanted to instill discipline in the team players. His concern lies in the skills of the players. He was highly disciplined and wanted to be in control of situations. This can be illustrated by the example that he was angry in the case in which he felt that the players did not give in their best effort.

This difference was because of the differences in the definitive goals that each Coach developed for the teams that they coached. Their different leadership styles emerged from the difference in the definitive goal.

Furthermore, if the leadership styles of the two Coaches are analyzed, it can be seen that in some situations Coach K’s leadership style seemed to be appropriate while in certain other situations, Coach Knight’s leadership style was more applicable. The similarities lie in their motivations to Coach. Both of the Coaches were disciplined, passionate, and competent in their area of expertise. Both of them had the ability to bring out the best in the team players. Their outcomes were similar, but leadership styles were different. The difference in their leadership styles was the major difference between them that stemmed from their different personalities.

2. Describe Coach K's communication and leadership styles. What are his basic assumptions about motivation, leading and human nature?

Coach K’s leadership style is flexible and soft. His leadership style might be termed as positive because the main component of his leadership style is empathy. He tends to motivate people by developing relationships with them. He also encourages team members to develop positive relationships with each other. He regarded it as an important part of team development. Furthermore, he adopted the principles of reinforcement rather than implementing a punishing system for the players. He also included supportive encouragement in his leadership style. His basic assumption about motivation, human nature, and leading is that the players need to be self-motivated. He believed that self-motivated players perform better and are not the subjects to negative energy in the team. These self-motivated individuals are willing to perform, as a result of which they perform better than players who are enforced with rules. His communication style is warm and sincere, and he inculcates a perception of a family in the team. This inclusion of the perception of a family in the team members shows his style of leadership which prioritized relationship development in the team players. 

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