Leadership and Power

How does leadership differ from management? Before anyone can answer the above question, they must define the roles of leadership and management. Both functions carry several different descriptions, diverse amounts of authority, and are interconnected at times. Some theorists have loosely said that “Leaders do the right things. Managers do things right. Other reports ambiguously labeled the two by indicating that “Leaders lead people while managers manage things” (Manager, 1997). Distinguishing either position is very complex and is limited by an assortment of personal influences from the leader or manager and the organizational structure of the hospital where they may work. A leader can be oversimplified by recognizing anyone who uses interpersonal skills to inspire others to achieve a desired goal (COOP, 2005). It is the responsibility of the leader to create an environment that promotes interest, enthusiasm, structure, and commitment to complete this common purpose.

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To e an effective leader, one must know how to control and understand the motives of his or her followers and enable them to envision a universal responsibility. By gaining the trust and respect of the followers, the leader can earn the privilege to persuade and guide them. This empowerment is achieved through personal behaviors between the leader and the followers and the prevailing need to do what is right and just. Managers are employed by hospitals to coordinate, plan, organize, supervise staff, evaluate, and operate the daily activities of a department.

A manager receives his or her power through authority, responsibility, accountability, and protocols. A manager is accountable for keeping the organization functioning and on target for weekly, monthly, and annual reviews. A manager utilizes great multitasking skills by coordinating the needs of the patients, the hospital, employees, physicians, and their self. A manager promotes stability by encouraging others through hospital protocols, enforcing disciplinary counseling, focusing on system procedures, and stabilizing the working environment.

Both positions attempt to encourage the actions of their followers using different methods. A leader utilizes a more personal approach to direction that is more concerned with what is right and less affected by hospital practice. A manager is driven to preserve the approved techniques of a hospital and less manipulated by moral obligations. A follower admires a leader and voluntarily accepts his or her direction because the follower has an appreciation for the leader’s advice. A follower complies with a manager’s guidance out of fear of punishment or corrective actions.

A leader demonstrates a sincere concern for his or her followers, their potential to learn, and their ability to achieve greatness in their profession. A manager is more engaged with the results of his or her department and less troubled with each individual employee. A leader can appreciate an employee for their person characteristics while a manager sees mostly the value in an employee’s abilities performed for the company. What is power? Power can be described as a person’s potential influence over the attitudes and behavior of one or more target persons (Yuk, 1998).

Power is the potential to influence others and it is exercised through the use of influence tactics. By cultivating a foundation of power, a leader is able to maximize the potential for improved control. Just like leadership and management, power is developed through interpersonal dynamics with education, learned experiences, and observed behaviors. Power can be subdivided into seven separate divisions that identify how it can be utilized to influence others (POP, 2005). Reward power refers to the capacity to provide others with things they desire or appreciate.

Punishment (coercive) power refers to the ability to take away rewards and privileges or administer sanctions and punishments. Legitimate power refers to the capacity to impose a sense of obligation or responsibility on another. Expert power is the ability to provide another with needed information, knowledge, or professional advice. Referent power refers to the skill of providing others with feelings of personal acceptance, approval, value, or worth. Information power refers to the ability to access and distribute (or withhold) important information.

Connection power offers to those individuals who recruit the support of a third party to persuade the target to do something, or uses the support of others as a reason for the target to agree. Generally, the third party is someone who is highly regarded and influential within or outside the organization. How may the different bases of power be used during an interaction with a non-nursing department? A manager could incorporate the use reward power to give employees recognition for displaying excellence in patient care. This could be viewed as a favorable incentive to continue this type of activity.

A manager could use enmeshment power if someone failed to comply within the organizations protocols and should receive retribution for misdirection. The manager could use this power to correct any future and harmful mistakes. A leader could exercise legitimate power by requesting the cleaning services to assistance with the cleansing of a patients dirty room. A team leader could employ expert power over a rehab service that was attempting to assist a patient in ambulating. The leader would have professional knowledge of the patient’s capabilities after a particular surgery and inform the rehab of possible injury or unable to ambulate.

A doctor could use referent power to a nurse regarding the use of a particular operation and its usefulness. The nurse could respect the doctor’s advice because of his or her reputation as a great surgeon. A nursing director could apply information power over someone from security regarding the hospital’s financial status. The director would have access to such information where as security personnel may not. A manager could have connection power with sales representatives outside the hospital. Some representatives historically have large expenditure accounts hat involve extravagant entertainment and cuisine accommodations.

Regardless of the use of power, it should be utilized with caution and extreme care. Using power effectively is a learned skill that is not perfectly balanced as a science. When power is improperly manipulated, it can damage and discredit a manager’s ability to influence its followers. Incorporating the correct power base for the appropriate situation takes time and energy to fully understand its repercussions.