America is a nation of doers, not thinkers. Americans value theories and systems that work, not those that are merely intellectually elegant. The techniques of inner leadership flow out of this ideology and define discrete behavior sets that guide leaders in their day-to-day relationships with followers. While the techniques and skills delineating this leadership theory are applied uniquely by each leader, they constitute a generic body of practice any inner leader can productively use. Two kinds of leadership techniques stand out. The first deals with the personal preparation of the leader. The second concerns leader actions to prepare followers to function in a shared values trust culture. Part II focuses the reader on the techniques of leader preparation. Subsequent parts deal with the techniques of inner leader action to induce follower compliance.
Of course, inner leaders use many of the common leadership techniques discussed in the traditional literature. Like all leaders, they allocate scarce resources, recognize and reward outstanding performance (Badaracco, 1989), set corporate goals, and otherwise establish policy and procedural performance and service expectations. They also plan, issue orders, evaluate performance, and encourage workers to behave in terms of set standards and practices. These are essentially management techniques, whether or not they are practiced by a leader, and are not discussed here. Rather, the focus is on the those techniques peculiar to inner leaders functioning in work communities and seeking essentially personal goals.
Preparing for inner leadership is a change process for both leader and led. The key to success is in intimate relationships leaders create with their followers in the work community. These relationships rely on authentic caring for all followers, helping them to become the best persons they can become, learning to be both leaders and followers in what becomes an intimate relationship with other members of the work community and seeing their joint work from the perspective of a future they all help create. Inner leadership is a social activity that takes place in relationships between people, between people and the work, and between leaders and the several communities with which they interact. These relationships become the primary environment within which inner leadership takes place.
Inner leaders have evolved several techniques that set them apart from other leaders or managers. These techniques summarize a growing list of specialized knowledge, skills, and tasks that represent common patterns (Slywotzky and Morrison, 2000) of behavior that differ in significant degree from behavior of top leaders or managers. As they reference leader preparation to lead, six of these attitudinal and behavioral paradigms—techniques—are unique to inner leader success: learning to authentically respect all stakeholders, learning to help followers, fostering change and transformation, learning followership, maintaining a relationship focus, and taking a horizon perspective.