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The three most important power sources for a nurse leader, in my opinion, are referent power, expert and reward power. Referent power is important for a nurse leader because if a nurse leader is hardworking, responsible and sets an example for the team, the team will follow their example which will benefit the organization. Expert power can be a needed benefit in leadership role, this gives employee’s and team members confidence in their leader and they will feel as the leader can mentor them as the leader has a high level of knowledge and skills. Expert power and leadership can be a great asset to an organization with new employees and new nurses. Finally reward power can be used as a tool to motivate staff to reach their full potential by using rewards as an incentive.

Leaders create a culture of ownership and investment in the collective action of work, helping to build a community around the purposes of work and deepening the understanding of the relationship among individual work activities, the collective convergence of that effort, and its power to make a difference (Porter-O’Grady, 2016). Using referent power leaders must first gain the trust of the followers or team members by leading by example. After the leader’s trust, honesty and respect are gained by the team members, they will model the leader’s behavior. Expert power is best used by teaching staff new techniques new evidence-based practice, and new policies and procedures. If staff know their leader as an expert, they will be more likely to absorb the new information.  Reward power can be used to increase performance, and rewards can incentivize the benefits of doing a good job.

Expert power is a frequently used source of power in my work. On our unit we have a manager, assistant manager and a clinical nurse leader. With these three leaders available it allows the nurse of the floor to feel confident that they can go to one of the three managers/ leaders to obtain information if they are unsure of a policy, procedure and or if they just need some advice. I know personally having this type of support empowers me to be a better nurse because I know we have a support system to back us up.


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