Influence is a vital ingredient in all forms of leadership, whether this is to influence progress, or decision-making. Influence through trust is necessary to steer other leaders, employees, partners, clients or the general public through a difficult change, as a result of either positive opportunity or crisis.  If we explore incentives in sales and marketing, incentives are helpful, but without trust in a brand, incentives will not have the desired impact, and customers are more likely to buy from a brand or person they trust, regardless of whether there is a small price difference.  

The power of trust can be applied to all forms of influence and is essential in governance. Governance often involves difficult decision-making, and change management forms part of any leader’s strategy to engage an audience in what they believe is in the collective interests of an organisation, nation or even the world. 

Trust is about honesty, integrity and transparency, as well as competence, wisdom and ability. Once any form of organisation loses trust, leadership is lost and no amount of incentives entices an audience to collaborate.  Education and communication are absolutely critical in effective trust building and influence, particularly during crisis or unsettling change. Informing and educating with honesty, integrity and helpful factual information, empowers an audience to make informed and comfortable decisions. When trust is gone, leadership has ultimately failed, and authoritarianism becomes the unwelcome ambassador. Compliance with objection or ultimate rejection ensues and while a crisis may or may not be averted, trust, audience and members are gone and may never return.

About the Author

Deborah Collier is a Strategic and Futurist Leader in Business, Education, Digital and Media. A group CEO, global Keynote Speaker, Non-Executive Director and leader of a global publisher and awarding body, she was listed 2016 in a publication’s ‘Top 100 Most Influential Chief Marketing Officers in the World’ as a joint CEO / CMO. Deborah is passionate about positive leadership, strategy and good governance.