Understanding Trust and Power

Learn how it can develop you as a leader

Marcus Knoph
8 min readJan 23, 2021


Illustration of powe and trust — by dooder and freepik
Illustration of powe and trust — by dooder and freepik

Some people naturally gain followers. Do you remember when you attended high school and looking at fashionable people? Wondering and thinking about, hum? How do they influence so many people around them? Later in life, you experience people with greater power, people leading nations, commanding an army, or just your regular boss at work.

What seems to be the reason that people choose to follow you or other people? Even in desperate situations? I think much of this has to do with power and trust. Confused? Me too at the start but keep with me. I will try to explain to you the bond between these two. For then to look at the connection trust and power have regarding credible leadership.

What is power?

The word power is frequently seen as something negative, in Norway we talk about politicians having the power to decide. The police have the power to enforce the law, and the teacher has the power in the classroom, the most aggressive boy on the street has power over the others in the gang. It frequently appears in the media and the press that someone is power crazy, power generates a form of fear.

Many charismatic leaders have had power as it is a necessity for them to be able to lead. “Power remains the ability to establish influence in others.” (Lunenburg, 2012). By having power, you can influence those around you. How you choose to achieve this, however, has an impact on how effective your leadership is. As a leader, you must get A to become B and influence the situation to achieve the goal you decide on as a leader. Leadership is, therefore, power since you influence.

Power does not depend on authority. Power enters many forms and having authority can be seen as possessing legitimate power. You have power as an example because of your position.

Good examples to mention are police, military, judges, and politicians. In these jobs/positions you have the power to convince others to behave the way you want. This is primarily because you have “been given” power from a system they trust and know is working. Influence is also a form of power.

The way you are, your values, and your attitudes, are reflected in those you lead. You…



Marcus Knoph

IT Consultant with extensive experience in computer security / programming, and leadership / management development of personnell.