power, politics, and leadership in the workplace

Having a high-status position in an organization immediately provides stature, but power depends on the ability to accomplish goals from that position. Some nurses, including both new graduates and seasoned veterans, have too often viewed power as if it were something immoral, corrupting, and totally contradictory to the caring nature of nursing. Empowered clinicians are essential for effective nursing management, just as empowered managers set the stage for excellence in clinical practice. Schools of nursing too often fail to socialize students to be activists. Politics can be defined in many ways. Nurses must use their collective power and flex their political muscles to create a preferred future for the healthcare system, healthcare consumers, and the profession of nursing. Resource: Kelly, K. (2007). Viewed with a feminist perspective, empowerment is supported through collaboration, not competition and power plays (Sullivan, 2004). If nurses think they are powerful, others will view them as powerful (perceived power); if they view themselves as powerless, so will others. Power and Politics in Organizations Power and politics in organizations are a reality that no organization can ignore. Members of a state nurses’ association who lobby members of the state legislature use expert, perceived, personal, and position power when trying to gain legislators’ support for healthcare legislation. Serving as the chief nursing officer of a hospital, managing a multimillion-dollar budget, demonstrates another exercise of power. Members of a state nurses’ association who lobby members of the state legislature use expert, perceived, personal, and position power when trying to gain legislators’ support for healthcare legislation. That is an exercise of power in nursing practice. This is an era of rapid and often unplanned change with a dramatic nursing shortage like none before. Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, FAAN, serves as the administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under President Barack Obama. This chapter describes how power and politics influence the roles of leaders and managers and how leaders and managers use power and politics to be influential. Sharing knowledge expands one’s power and, in turn, empowers others, including colleagues and patients, by giving them information or skills that they need to take action in a situation. Women were viewed as neither powerful nor political; in the late nineteenth century, Sadly, the media, politicians, organized medicine, some healthcare executives, and some nurses have traditionally viewed nurses and nursing as powerless. Women were viewed as neither powerful nor political; in the late nineteenth century, feminine and powerful were practically contradictory terms. This is in sharp contrast to traditional conceptualizations of power, a patriarchal model of power that relies on coercion, hierarchy. Nurses can use personal, expert, and perceived power while working on the campaigns of legislators who support nursing and healthcare issues. Historically, politics has been viewed with some disdain. In some cases, in efforts to provide good customer service, the ED staff provided phone numbers (e.g., the Butterball turkey hotline; the phone number for a 24-hour animal hospital). They have analyzed and categorized the sources and applications of power in human experience. For example, Congresswoman Lois Capps, MA, BSN, RN, represents a California congressional district; she assumed the office held by her husband upon his death. Think about that nurse’s interactions with patients, family members, nursing colleagues, and other professionals. Students need to be exposed to the concepts of political action and public policy. Matheson and Bobay (2007) conducted a review of the literature to validate oppressed group behavior in nursing. Exercise 10-1 Although some may think that “knowledge is power,” acting on that knowledge is where the real power lies. These leadership skills are also essential to effective followers. The leader of a state nurses’ association (SNA) may have access to the leaders of the state legislature based on the leader’s personal power, which is based on years of work with members of the legislature.The SNA president has always delivered on promises of support and provided useful information to legislators on matters of health policy. A sense of self-confidence is essential for successful political efforts in the workplace, within the profession, and within the public policy arena. Nurses who teach patients use expert and information power by virtue of the information they share with patients; they also exercise position power because they are registered nurses and therefore are accorded a certain status by society. Influence can range from the punitive power of coercion to the interactive power of collaboration. Think about a powerful public figure whom you admire. Strategies for Developing a Powerful Image, Self-image: thinking of oneself as powerful and effective, Grooming and dress: ensuring that clothing, hair, and general appearance are neat, clean, and appropriate to the situation, Good manners: treating people with courtesy and respect, Body language: maintaining good posture, using gestures that avoid too much drama, maintaining good eye contact, and being confident in movement. Think about a powerful nurse you have met. Too often, nurses view politics as irrelevant to their daily practice. Power, Influence & Politics in the Workplace. I gave her the name and phone number of the 24-hour animal clinic. I began to write an incident report on the event before my director was paged to go to the office of the vice president (VP) of nursing. This is an unwritten political rule in many families. power APPLICATION TO PRACTICE Karen Kelly. That view began to change dramatically in the 1990s as nurses began to appear more often on local and national news and on talk shows as experts on health care, the changes occurring in the healthcare system, and the effect of these changes on the public. Sullivan (2004, p. 33) offers a revised view of types of power that readily apply to the efforts of nurses in the workplace, in professional organizations, and in politics (see the Theory Box on p. 180). Sheila Burke, MPA, RN, FAAN, served as Chief of Staff for Senator Robert Dole while he was Senate Majority Leader in the United States Congress, making her one of the most powerful congressional staff people in Washington. However, the definition on p. 176 (the ability to influence others in an effort to achieve goals) demonstrates the essential nature of power to nursing. Identify this person’s key image factors. Sharing power and facilitating the empowerment of colleagues so that they exercise their power are strong forces in creating vibrant workplace cultures. Indeed, Henry Mintzberg (1989) posits that organizational politics is not an upshot of structure but power, and therefore communication and transparency cannot deracinate politics. politics In fact, it balloons to a greater scale, and metamorphoses into what is known as office politics. That view began to change dramatically in the 1990s as nurses began to appear more often on local and national news and on talk shows as experts on health care, the changes occurring in the healthcare system, and the effect of these changes on the public. The dean of a college of nursing is viewed on campus as powerful because this dean leads the fastest growing academic unit on campus. Too often, nurses view politics as irrelevant to their daily practice. Shortly after the in-service, late on a Friday morning, I took a call from a woman who wanted to know how to treat an infected wound on her cat’s back. One simple definition of politics that this author uses when teaching health policy and politics in nursing is “a process of human interaction within organizations.” Politics permeates all organizations, including workplaces, legislatures, professions, and even families. The most basic power strategy is the development of a powerful image. Social scientists have studied the use and abuse of power in human organizations. During the twentieth century, as the status and role of women changed, so did the status and role of nurses. People of high status (e.g., vice presidents, directors, deans) within an organization may be sought out for conversation by those who want to move up the organizational hierarchy. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” You don’t have to wear a sign around your neck to show that you are powerful! Politics in the organization New graduates, employed on probationary status until they demonstrate the initial clinical competencies of a position, may view the nurse manager as exercising both position and expert power related to their evaluation for continued employment. Nurses began to exercise their collective power with the rise of early nursing leaders such as Lillian Wald, Isabel Stewart, Annie Goodrich, Lavinia Dock, M. Adelaide Nutting, Mary Eliza Mahoney, and Isabel Hampton Robb and the development of organizations that evolved into the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National League for Nursing (NLN). All nurses need to continue to expand their understanding of the concept of power and to develop their skills in exercising power. Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, FAAN, serves as the administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under President Barack Obama. Oppressed group behavior is apparent when a population is dominated by another group. Among nurses, oppressed group behavior is manifested in low self-esteem (e.g., “I’m just a nurse”), passive aggressiveness (e.g., nurse-on-nurse bullying), distancing oneself from other nurses (e.g., the failure of nurses to join professional organizations), and engaging in intragroup conflicts (e.g., “infighting” or horizontal violence) (Matheson & Bobay, 2007; Roberts, 1983). A nursing student seeks a certain nurse manager as a preceptor during a senior clinical practicum because of the manager’s reputation as an effective manager within the organization. The others who overheard the call gave her the same account of the call. Nurses sometimes view power as a finite quantity: “If I give you some of my power, I will have less.” Empowerment emphasizes the notion that power grows when shared. Although some may think that “knowledge is power,” acting on that knowledge is where the real power lies. It has been used extensively in the nursing literature related to administration and management; it is also highly relevant to the domain of clinical practice. Somewhere along the line I heard the adage that politics is all about the allocation of scarce resources. Some nurses, including both new graduates and seasoned veterans, have too often viewed power as if it were something immoral, corrupting, and totally contradictory to the caring nature of nursing. Professional politics focuses on the workplace and professional nursing organizations. Nursing’s early history in the United States was marked by powerlessness (Ashley, 1976). empowerment Feeling empowered, I used my new skills to assertively end the conversation. Having a high-status position in an organization immediately provides stature, but power depends on the ability to accomplish goals from that position. Workplace politics are the manifestation of power dynamics among co-workers. Powerful nurses support their patients and families so they can participate actively in their own care. • Use different types of power in the exercise of nursing leadership. Exercise 10-3 3. Young children often learn that one parent is more likely to readily give permission for special activities or more likely to buy toys and other desired items. Expert power: Results from the knowledge and skills one possesses that are needed by others. She emphasized that the caller was the one using obscenities, not me. Nurses have become increasingly visible in political campaigns on the local, state, and national levels, both as candidates and as political influentials. The director told my VP what I had told her. Students need to recognize that, The model of political activism, noted below, is based on elements from models of political activism (Leavitt, Chaffee, & Vance, 2007). This subordinate or oppressed group begins to take on the characteristics of the dominant group and reject the characteristics of their own group, although this behavior fails to create a balance of power with the dominant group (Roberts 1983). Envision the exercise of shared power along a spectrum from low to high levels of sharing. What kind of power image message do they send? The VP directed her to suspend me immediately to placate the CEO; my director insisted that I had done nothing wrong and refused to suspend me, based on the information the others had given her. • Develop a power image for effective nursing leadership. How did you feel about your own actions in this situation? We learned to deal with verbal hostility with assertive communication. A leader’s capacity to handle and manipulate the different forms of power will directly have Empowerment is the process by which power is shared with colleagues and patients as part of the nurse’s exercise of power. Connection power is evident at any social gathering in the workplace. Chief nursing officer of a college of nursing practice to this person’s powerful image competition... To consider whether organizational politics and the profession, and perceived power as relates... 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