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Developing leadership in nursing: exploring core factors

Elizabeth A. Curtis - Author Jan De Vries - Author Fintan K. Sheerin - Author First published: Last updated:

This is the first of two articles about promoting and developing leadership in nursing.

The purpose of this first article is three-fold: firstly, to reaffirm issues concerning definitions and theories underpinning leadership; secondly, to examine the factors that enhance leadership in nursing; and thirdly to convey information about the nature of leadership content taught in undergraduate programmes.

What is leadership?

leadership involves influencing the attitudes, beliefs, behaviours and feelings of other people.
Spector, 2006

Leadership theory 

  • The trait approach, which is concerned with personal
    traits that contribute to effective leadership.
  • The behaviour approach, which, like trait theory,
    explores leadership from the perspective of the leader and
    focuses on leader behaviours.
  • The contingency approach (Fielder’s contingency theory
    and path-goal theory) suggests that leadership is about the
    interaction between a person (leader), his/her behaviour
    and the situation.
  • The leader–member exchange approach (charismatic
    or transformational leadership) is concerned with the
    relationships between subordinate and supervisor.

In a

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Elizabeth A. Curtis

Jan De Vries

Fintan K. Sheerin

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