Leadership is a role that nurses are expected to fulfil, regardless of their job title and experience. Nurses are required to lead and manage care as soon as they have completed their training. However, the development of leadership skills and the associated learning can be challenging, especially for less experienced nurses and those at the beginning of their careers. This article examines the importance of effective leadership for nurses, patients and healthcare organisations, and outlines some of the theories of leadership such as transformational leadership. It also details how nurses can develop their leadership skills, for example through self-awareness, critical reflection and role modelling.