Nursing Leadership 6: Leadership Power

Nursing Leadership 6: Leadership Power

In the contemporary world, different types of leadership power exist. According to Marquis and Huston, (2015) they include referent, legitimate, expert, coercive, reward and informational power. The sources of these types of power for leaders differ significantly and are not dependent on a single factor. That is the case given that leaders may have power drawn from his/her skills (expert power) while another person’s source may be his/her ability to gift others (reward power) (Dahlkemper, & Anderson, 2013). As such, the power that an individual possess is unique to the one that another person may exert in his/her leadership position.

Primarily, in real life situation, a nurse leader that attracts my admiration is the one that I worked with in the medical-surgical unit. Her prowess in handling medical-surgical issues is one that I find fascinating when discussing matters about leadership power. In the clinical practice, this nurse leader had a great following among the qualified and student nurses as well because of her demonstration of high level of expertise in medical-surgical issues. Her colleagues and the students working in this unit frequently consult her whenever they find difficulties in their nursing practice. Such type of power that she has managed to exert is what Feldman and Alexander (2012) describe as expert power.

Concerning, my perception of this nurse leader in consideration of my view as a nurse leader and the image of nursing, it is clear that I have to change my ideology about leadership in nursing. That is the case because, before this interaction, I only thought that the ultimate source of power is only from bearing a high position. However, this perspective has changed since I have noted that I do not have to hold a high position to be a leader. As such, going forward, I choose to influence proceedings like this nurse through exploring various strategies. For instance, the collection of information to update existing knowledge is an effective way of developing this power (Fry, 2013).

In closure, indeed, the concept of power in leadership is worth analysis given it has the potential of amassing a following to a leader. As such, personal understanding of the type of power and strategies that can develop it is of the essence if nurses are to contribute substantially to the health care system.


Dahlkemper, T. R., & Anderson, M. A. (2013). Anderson’s nursing leadership, management, and professional practice for the LPN/LVN: In nursing school and beyond. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

Feldman, H. R., & Alexander, G. R. (2012). Nursing leadership: A concise encyclopedia. New York: Springer.

Fry, B. (2013). Power up your leadership: Straight talk for nurse managers. Canadian Nurse109(5), 32–33.

Marquis, B. & Huston, C. (2015). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.