Authority and Leadership: Rising From the Ranks

The case study in question provides an example of a situation in which a person is promoted to a supervisory position and put in charge of a group of colleagues. Julie has been working as a nurse for eight years, and now the woman is appointed nurse manager. The woman needs to choose how to run the unit and find a balance between professional and personal relationships with her colleagues. The goal of this paper is to determine the right line of action for a person who is assigned leader of a team she or he has previously been a member of.

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There are several potential advantages that Julie will enjoy in becoming manager of a group of people she has long been a member of. Having worked with her colleagues for an extended period, the woman knows their temperaments and understands individual strengths and weaknesses. Having good personal relationships with the members of her team will help Julie to develop trust, mutual support, and a desire to cooperate. Eight years of work experience as a nurse will also likely provide the manager with good knowledge about the specifics of professional roles of her co-workers, potential problems, and challenges her team will encounter daily.

The fact that other nurses have known her for a long time as well might also play in Julie’s favor. Colleagues know that their manager started from a low position in the hierarchy and achieved a leadership job because of her competence, hard work, and experience. This fact contributes to the team members’ sense of respect towards Julie personally and, therefore, her managerial authority. The strength of leadership is based on power, influence, and formal authority (Liebler & McConnell, 2016). Personal connection with the team members will allow Julie to win influence over them and thereby increase her ability to obtain compliance.

There are also disadvantages and challenges that Julie will likely encounter while managing the group. Having worked together for a long time, the colleagues have developed a habit of treating each other as peers, and it might be difficult to change the nature of relationships. Some subordinate nurses might try to fraternize with Julie, and if she fails to stop such attempts at an early stage, it might seriously damage her authority. At the same time, if the manager decides to rapidly change her attitude towards the team and start treating them solely from her new position of power, it will have negative consequences for the environment in the group as well. Such practice might lead to growing distrust between the manager and the subordinates, which would compromise Julie’s ability to influence the nurses. Thus, it is critically important for the new manager to balance personal and professional relationships with the subordinates to reinforce her position.

Expectations that co-workers might have could also be a source of potential challenges for Julie. The manager will need to address the old problems and show the subordinates that her leadership brings about positive change. Such actions will have a positive effect on the manager’s influence and help ensure that team members have trust in their leader’s competence and are motivated to follow Julie’s instructions.

To successfully proceed in establishing herself as a legitimate possessor of the supervisory authority, Julie will have to work to strengthen her leadership. To achieve this goal, it is critical to understand the nature and different aspects of authority. There are formal and informal components to leadership, and an effective manager needs to work on both. Formal authority comes together with superior status and is attached to the position and not the person who occupies it (Liebler, & McConnell, 2016). However, a supervisor needs to be able to use this form of authority appropriately. Julie will need to emphasize to her team that she is responsible for running the unit now and enforce compliance of the members.

Informal authority is also of big importance, and the manager needs to acquire it as well. Power and influence are the two components that constitute that aspect of leadership (Liebler, & McConnell, 2016). Showing a high level of competence is a good way to win the respect of colleagues. Paying extra attention to work on old problems and fixing them will also help increase the influence of the manager. It is also critical to remember to show respect towards the subordinates and not abuse the position of power.

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Thus, a higher position in the organizational hierarchy comes with new advantages but also brings about some challenges. Understanding managerial responsibilities and showing a high level of competence is key for success in the position of authority. Julie needs to use the advantages of having substantial experience of professional and personal relationships with the members of her team in her favor. If she succeeds, it will ensure the efficient work of the unit, a positive psychological climate, and new professional opportunities for all members of the team.


Liebler, G., & McConnell, C. R. (2016) Leadership and the manager. In Management principles for health professionals (pp. 95-124). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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