Becoming a newly qualified nurse can be a daunting prospect and leadership may appear to be a quality that only experienced nurses and managers should be concerned with. However, leadership is a requirement for all registered nurses and inquiries into cases of suboptimal care have often identified inadequate leadership as a major contributor. In the past, leadership was defined as an innate characteristic or trait, but over time concepts of leadership have evolved and it is now recognised as a set of skills and behaviours. There are many different leadership styles, qualities and behaviours, but these should not be confused with the role of management. It is important for newly qualified nurses to develop their leadership skills using tools such as preceptorship, reflection and continuous professional development.