Nursing leadership: Legitimate and Referent Sources of Power

Nursing Leadership

Nursing leadership is an important part of modern healthcare system management. An interview was successfully scheduled and done to try to understand the nurse leadership style and its influence on the staff in order to better grasp this critical function. For the past five years, the nurse leader questioned has served as a nurse management in charge of a Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) clinic. The chat began by enquiring about the nurse's leadership style, how she encourages her colleagues, and some of the accomplishments she has made in the last twelve months. It is without a doubt that leadership in the running of the heath care institutions has become one of the core functions contributing to improved quality of care and positive outcomes for the patients. To achieve this milestone, the nursing leadership must ensure that it puts in place the initiatives to match the modern needs of provision of quality health care. The biggest challenge facing leaders in the nursing sector is the unpreparedness to take up management roles, micromanaging the employees and failure to maintain clinical competency. The following subsections will help underpin the findings of the interview and how they relate to the literature regarding nursing leadership.

Style of Leadership

The nurse manager contended that leadership is primarily a communication-based activity as leaders continuously spend their time creating tailored messages that are transferred to stakeholders and followers. Hackman and Johnson (2013) argue that with more leadership duties and responsibilities bestowed upon an individual, the more communication is required of them. They further argue that it is, therefore, sufficient to use the communications style employed by a leader to determine their leadership style. The CHF nurse manager argued that her entire nursing profession has been, and it will be, based on effective communication among the various concerned parties. She exercises flexibility, ability to choose the type of audience, and exercise categorization in the determination of the communication technique and style to be employed. It was evident from the interview that her approach was more focused on the 'we' rather than on the 'me'. Understanding these factors, she says, "has helped me to choose the most appropriate communication style to suit a given audience and function." As noted by Huber (2013), grasping the audience and function enables an effective communicator to choose between functional, analytical, personal and intuitive communication techniques to ensemble the setting, she has been able to demonstrate that ability in my nursing profession.

What she believes has set her up to this role

is the ability to focus on the bigger picture and delegate some of the smaller tasks to heads of groups. She argues that "in achieving this goal, I have relied heavily on effective communication to meet both my goals and those of a partnership." She has developed the ability to create a vision and motivate herself and her professional colleagues to meet the set goals while also meeting personal satisfaction and gratification which she argues puts her into the category of transformational leaders (Giltinane, 2013).

The nurse manager further contended that she is more of a leader than a manager.

Scholars and practitioners have attempted in the recent past to draw differences between leadership and management. The explanations of a manager and a leader have profound similarities, but it is evident that while some managers can be leaders, not all have the attributes associated with leadership (Hackman, & Johnson, 2013). The fundamental difference between the two concepts lies in the manner in which they encourage and offer motivation to their subordinates and followers. It has been established that most people are both because, while they have management duties and responsibilities, they are also aware that they cannot buy or borrow the people's hearts and force them to follow especially during times of difficulty. The managers, therefore, understand that they have to play the role of leaders (Huber, 2013).

A manager in an organization has distinct roles and responsibilities.

Specifically, managers are tasked with performing the four duties of management that include planning, controlling, leading and organizing. It should not be escaped that leading is one function of management (Hackman, & Johnson, 2013). It could, therefore, theoretically speaking, be expected that all managers should be leaders. However, this can only be realized if all managers were able to carry out all the roles of leadership that include communicating, inspiring, motivating and encouraging employees to achieve efficiency and productivity. Unlike a leader, a manager is considered a manager by virtue of holding a position where the subordinates adhere and follow his/her instructions because they are required and demanded so. The primary concern of a manager is to achieve the set goals of an institution and does so by focusing on effectiveness through laid down systems, structures, and controls.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a style that relies on the ability of an individual to inspire others to achieve both personal and organizational growth (Antonakis, 2017). The leader supports the followers to enhance positive change, inspiration, assurance through the use of different instruments. These leaders invoke the fortitude of both an individual and the team within the followers while developing optimism and interests towards achieving the organizational goals (Giltinane, 2013).

Legitimate and Referent Sources of Power

From the interview, it is evident that the nurse manager uses both legitimate and referent power to run the CHF clinic. Legitimate power stems from the ability of the manager to affect how the followers behave as a result of the position held. However, given the respect and the approval attributed to the nurse manager, it is easy to argue that she applies referent power to influence the behaviour of the followers. These leaders easily appeal to the emotions of the subordinates because of their reputable character, charisma and attractive traits which can invigorate the entire workforce to improve productivity (Antonakis, 2017).

Important Characteristics for Effective Leadership

It was evident from the interview that the nurse manager believes that effective leadership is one that nurtures collaborations and partnerships in running health-care institutions. Indeed, collaborations and partnerships among the diverse professionals across the healthcare system are critical factors that contribute greatly to positive outcomes in the health care continuum. A strong relationship among the various groups ensures the development of positive team spirit which is essential in mitigating the challenges of providing health care in the current society (Kallas, 2014). This goal can only be achieved if the participants in the collaborations are able to exhibit emotional maturity and express proactive engagements where mutual respect for the expertise of each member is called upon and appreciated. Emotional maturity is achieved if the parties to the partnership can identify the latest best practices through being vigilant and thereby, improving their skill sets from time to time (Holtschneider, & Park, 2015).

The nurse manager further argued that collaborations that constitute members from different disciplines

achieve their targets by staying humble, being confident and taking responsibility for achievements and any failures. Adopting a mindset that is open to continuous improvement as opposed to a perfectionist mind should be adopted. She argued, "In my opinion, leadership is more of a character and the capacity to keep up and adapt to the ever-changing healthcare environment, rather than ruthlessly aiming to accomplish a set of tasks." This then differentiates leaders from managers. A robust communication strategy is crucial in exercising the function of leading, especially when that role is carried out in a group with diverse professional backgrounds. Professional socializations resulting from the education and experience obtained from the teachers during the school days have proven to be a huge challenge to successfully achieving positive results. However, with proper communication and practicing emotional maturity, the barriers can be dealt with easily (Hackman, & Johnson, 2013).

Motivating Employees

The nurse manager revealed that in motivating employees, she uses various methods depending on the situation and the laid down policies. She however, uses intangible methods of rewarding like appreciating, recognizing to increase productivity of the employees. However, in certain situations, tangible rewards like par rises, promotions and bonuses have also been used to motivate the workers to increase their commitment to the organization and increase their productivity (Hauser, 2014). She also directly or indirectly communicates with the staff on their importance to the clinic and that without their effort, it would be impossible for the clinic to grow and meet its targets. It is with the motivation and her leadership style that the clinic successfully managed to develop a new staffing plan to replace one that has been in use for the last 6 years response to the changing health care provision and regulations.

Conclusion and Personal Reflection

This assignment has been an eye-opener of what will be expected of me in the future as I am interested in ascending to leadership position in the nursing profession. I have realized how challenging it can be to in a leadership position as one is required to make vital decisions that run health care institutions not only on a long term, but also on a daily basis. I was able to learn that as a nurse leader, there are styles available to be utilized to help in driving the institution or department. Transformational leadership techniques comes out as one of the most prominent and admirable styles as they allow the leader to inspire the followers by staying charismatic, motivating and employing effective communication skills in leading the institution or department. The success of the CHF clinic, as was narrated by the nurse manager was down to the effective collaboration and creation of professional partnerships. It is without a doubt that I experienced the most significant 1 hour during the interview which will forever guide my nursing career.


Antonakis, J. (2017). The nature of leadership. Sage publications.

Dickerson, P. S. (2014). Grounding our practice in nursing professional development. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 45(7), 288-289.

Giltinane, C. L. (2013). Leadership styles and theories. Nursing Standard, 27(41), 35-39.

Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2013). Leadership: A communication perspective. Waveland Press.

Hauser, L. (2014). Work motivation in organizational behavior. Economics, Management and Financial Markets, 9(4), 239.

Holtschneider, M. E., & Park, C. W. (2015). Interprofessional Education: Implications for Nursing Professional Development Practice. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 31(4), 242-243.

Huber, D. (2013). Leadership and nursing care management. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Kallas, K. D. (2014). Profile of an excellent nurse manager: identifying and developing health care team leaders. Nursing administration quarterly, 38(3), 261-268.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price