Power and Assertiveness

4210- Power and Assertiveness
Presented by
Teri Pierce, MSN, RN
Nursing 401
Rev F10
Learning Objectives
The learner will:
differentiate among different types of power.
understand the authority-power gap.
identify ways to empower employees.
understand the politics of power
identify and use appropriate strategies to
increase his or her personal power base
• learn assertiveness tips and techniques
• Power – that which enables one to accomplish
• Authority – right to command, comes with
formal position in an organization
• Politics – art of using legitimate power wisely
• Empowerment –to enable, develop or allow
Types of Power
• Coercive – punishment – opposite of reward
• Reward – ability to grant favors or rewards
– Managers who do this tend to have loyal employees
• Expert – having knowledge, expertise or experience
– Because you know what to do, you get to make the
• Legitimate – power of the position
Types of Power
• Referent – power by association
– Other’s perception, people identify with what you symbolize.
Physicians are thought of to have power, just because they’re
doctors… We give our mentors power because we respect
them. Also includes charisma
• Informational – have information others need
• Credibility – objectively determined truthfulness, follow
– You’re reliable, one of the biggest ways leaders can influence
others. If you lose your credibility, you lose your power
• Self – power gained over one’s own life
– Gained thru reflection and maturity and thinking about what
you mean and who you are blah blah blah
Authority-Power Gap
• The more power the subordinate believes the
manager to have, the smaller the gap
• Small gap – effective, efficient unit
• Wide gap – organizational chaos
• Bridging the gap
– Employees need ot think you are doing a good job
as a manager and that you have their best interest
in line, they’re not being controlled by you.
– You’d rather under promise than over promise.
Empowering Employees
• Must have responsible employees
• Organization must be committed (to the
• Manager willing to help employees grow
• Eliminate barriers
– Queen bee syndrome
• Manager must role model
• Develop employee power bases
Building a Power Base
Maintain life-work balance
Develop power attributes
Strive to make a contribution
Learn from others
Understand the organization
Increase knowledge and skills
Be visionary
Be flexible
Politics of Power
• Power, once gained, is not indefinite
• Read the environment- new employees
• Beware of the facts
– “Political Suicide” – lying to someone
• Be proactive
• Expand personal resources
– Keep options open
Politics of Power
• Develop political alliances
– Networking
• Be sensitive to timing
• Don’t forget the ‘little guy’
• Align your goals with the organization’s goals
– Present solutions, not just problems
Assertive Communication
• The ability to express positive and negative feelings in an
open and honest way that doesn’t infringe on other people’s
rights. Allows for constructive confrontation and mutual
problem resolution
• Advantages
– increases self esteem, can lead to mutual respect, reduces anxiety,
keeps us from being taken advantage of by other people
• Disadvantages
– Can have negative consequences (others don’t like what you’re
saying), causes conflict that has to be dealt with. Also, just
because you’re assertive doesn’t mean you always get what you
• Characteristics of assertive communication
– ‘I’ statements
• Keeps focus on the problem, not on the person. Not a personal attack
Assertiveness Myths
• It is uncaring to be assertive
• If someone says ‘no’ to my request, they don’t
like or love me
• I shouldn’t have to say what I need – people
close to me should know
Assertive Statements
• 3 Parts
– Empathy-validation
• Try to say something that shows your understanding of the
other person’s feelings
– State the problem
• This piece describes your difficulty or dissatisfaction
– State what you want
• Specific request for a specific change in the other person’s
Assertiveness Tips
Use assertive body language
Use “I” statements
Use facts, not judgments
Make clear, direct requests
Techniques for Difficult Situations
• Broken record
– Keep repeating what you said in a low, pleasant voice
• Fogging
– Way to deflect negative criticism and avoid a fight, agree with part of
the statement but retain your right to chose your behavior and continue
to support your argument
• Defusing
– If someone is very angry, you let them cool down before you talk about
the issue
• Content to Process Shift
– Stop talking about the problem, and bring up what the person is acting
like right now
• Assertive inquiry/stop action
– Similar to above, say wait a minute (stop the action) and then ask, Dr.
Jones, what is the real problem here?
• Summarization
– Summarizing what has been said
"The Power of ONE"
Video from You Tube
• Marquis, B.L., & Huston, C.J. (2009). Leadership roles
and management functions in nursing: Theory and
application (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott,
Williams, & Wilkins.
• Google Images
• You Tube