The article explores the impact of the 'transformational leadership' style in the role of modern matron with regards to infection control practices. Policy and guidance on the modern matron role suggest that it is distinctive in its combination of management and clinical components, and in its reliance on transformational leadership. Senior nurses are therefore expected to motivate staff by creating high expectations, modelling appropriate behaviour, and providing personal attention to followers by giving respect and responsibility. In this article, we draw on policy documents and interview data to explore the potential impact of this new management style on infection control practices. Combining the techniques of discourse analysis and corpus linguistics, we identify examples where matrons appear to disassociate themselves from the role of `an empowered manager' who has control over human and financial resources to resolve problems in infection control efficiently.