Leadership a tale of two coaches

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Leadership is about influence. It is about influencing a group of people to accomplish a goal. Leaders use their own energies to help accomplish a common purpose. Leadership can be defined as a trait or as a process. Marquis and Huston (2000) would define leadership as "a point of polarization for group cooperation." It is certain that every leader gets to that point of polarization differently.


Bobbi Knight and Coach K are two famous basketball coaches that achieved great success and whose leadership styles were completely different. This paper will discuss those two coaches and their leadership styles.
Fielder's contingency theory is made up of leaders who are task oriented and those that are relationship oriented. It is based on the orientation of the leader, the elements of a particular situation and the leaders' orientation. Task oriented leaders do best in low to moderate control situations while relationship oriented leaders do best in moderately controlled situations. In the case of our two coaches, we would have to place Bobbi Knight in the task oriented leadership and Coach K in the relationship type. Furthermore each leader has a different kind of leadership power. That power is referent, expert, legitimate, reward and coercive. Power is part of the leadership influence. Coach Knight used coercive power, though many people liked him, he was able to accomplish what he did through coercion. On the other hand Coach K had referent power. His team sincerely liked him and played well because of it. He also used some coercion but his primary power was referent.
In determining which of the coaches was a leader and which a manager, it appears that ...
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