Coach Case Study Essay

836 Words Sep 28th, 2012 4 Pages
Coach Knight vs. Coach K Case Study A leader’s greatest challenge is determining which leadership style is best suited to motivate their subordinates. The path-goal theory “emphasizes the relationship between the leader’s style and the characteristics of the subordinates and the work setting” (Northouse, p. 125). Another theory, the leader-member exchange theory, focuses on the relationship between members and their leaders, or their dyadic relationship.
Path-Goal Theory In the path-goal theory, leaders help subordinates determine their goals, clarify a path, remove any obstacles, and provide support along their journey to their goal. To do this, they choose the best suited leadership behavior for the given situation. The
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Figure 1. This figure shows how the Path-Goal Theory works (Northouse, p. 131).
Coach Knight vs. Coach K Both Coach Knight and Coach K set goals and created paths for their team members, however, each employed a different approach to leading their teams toward goal achievement. Coach Knight was an extremely directive leader. He set goals for his team, made his expectations clear to the players, developed a highly structured training schedule and drove them to success. Although successful, he had more of a bully-type approach to leadership where players feared his disapproval.
Coach K’s leadership, on the other hand, was a combination of supportive, participative and achievement-oriented behaviors. He was a nurturing coach who took a personal interest in the lives and abilities of his players, and challenged them to constantly improve, not only for themselves, but for their team. He was good at assessing the situation and determining which leadership approach was appropriate for the given situation.
Leader-Member Exchange Theory The Leader-Member Exchange Theory focuses on “the differences that might exist between the leader and each of the leader’s followers” (Northouse, p. 147). Leaders develop individual (dyadic) relationships with each of their subordinates. This dyadic relationship determines whether the subordinate is in the in-group or out-group. “Subordinates in the in-group receive more information,

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