There are two shades of blue that rule the basketball courts in and around Durham, North Carolina. Both are perennially the best in the ACC and are fierce rivals. The head coaches of both teams are great leaders on the basketball court and in the game of life. In addition, they are able to manage multimillion dollar budgets and maintain the ultra positive image of their players and their respective school.
People like winners. Many have the philosophy that the underdog should win occasionally. In game of basketball, everyone loves a Cinderella story. Coach Mike Krzyzewski affectionately known as Coach K usually beats all who come in his path on the basketball court. Coach K teaches about life and leadership; his motto is commitment, discipline, honesty, integrity, collective response, pride, love, and friendship.
Recently, I watched my husband, who is neither a fan of UNC or Duke, become anxious over a major upset between UNC and Duke. UNC was leading at half-time; with a 16 point lead and it had been several minutes since Duke scored a basket. However, something that Coach K said to his team in the locker room during half time changed the dynamic of the game. Finally the game ended with Duke beating UNC by a 6 point lead.
I would describe Coach K as a great motivator. According to Daft in The Leadership Experience, motivation is defined as the forces either internal or external to a person that arouse enthusiasm and persistence to pursue a certain course of action. One would note Coach K’s ability to lead others to function at a high performance level and accomplish the goal. Moreover, you will find that Coach K’s goal is to meet the needs of his players first by treating them as a family member and encouraging his players to build friendships with each other and establishing self-discipline.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs humans are motivated by multiple needs and those needs exist in a hierarchical order. Belongingness is one of those needs. People have a desire to be accepted by their peers, have friendships, be a part of a group, and be loved (Daft, pg. 230). Coach K has the ability to recognize those needs especially when he acknowledges players and recognizes them when the execution of a game plan leads to a game win. This is done in the locker room in front of their peers and on national television after a victory. As long as he continues to meet this basic need of the players he will continue to bring victories to the Duke Basketball program. For the team, this intrinsic reward was immediate when Duke achieved the victory over UNC at Cameron Indoor Stadium that night.
In Coach K’s book Leading with the Heart Grant Hill is allowed to write the forward and talk about his coach from the perspective of a new college recruit, and later he speaks as a friend and confidant. What Coach K teaches is about life and leadership. He sets the bar high so you can 1) strive to be the best you can be; 2) appreciate the value...