Inner leaders work in relationships built around some common interest directed by the leader.
The relationship is composed of a leader and a follower reiterated for each member of the leader’s work community.
The relationship is the primary environment within which inner leadership takes place.
Small group theory helps inner leaders understand the relationship context within which their leadership takes place.
Inner leaders build relationships to gain the support they need from their constituents to prepare them for long-term success.
Stakeholders who have evidence that affirms that the work community views its relationship with them as long term and responsive to their evolving needs develop greater loyalty and may be willing to provide support during periods of economic, social, or environmental adjustment.
Implicit in the leader–follower relationship is the idea of trust. Mutual interactive trust is vital to any work-community action. Workers must trust their leaders.
Affiliating with their coworkers in relationships engages inner leaders in more than system, structure, and strategy formation and involves them also in shaping the social, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of interpersonal work alliances.
Strong interpersonal relationships increase mutual trust, strengthen competence, enhance self-confidence, and reduce the expenditure of negative energy on protecting self.
Relationships are based on more than confidence; they follow unquestioned belief in and reliance on the inner leader based on evidence or experience.
It is only through direct interaction with the leader’s values that followers can develop the deep conviction about the leader or about his or her basic worth necessary to form an intimate relationship.
Relationships mature as experience proves the essential truth of the follower’s initial perceptions about joining in the relationship. The reverse diminishes it.
Joining in relationship with the inner leader must be voluntary, noncompulsory, a free-will choice.
Relationships come together when followers have confidence in the fact that their inner leader values them as people of worth, when they realize that they really matter as individuals.
When inner leaders assign meaning to people, ideas, words, events, or the work community itself, they can develop relationships with others who also seek that meaning.
Effective relationships require bilateral transmission of information and understanding. Free-flowing information systems permit reciprocal influence, encourage self-control, and avoid abuse of the vulnerability of members.
Joining in a relationships with followers asks leaders to accept an obligation to their followers, as well as to expect followers to obligate themselves to them.
Do I regularly take time to assess the relationships that exist in my office?
Do I recognize the natural coalitions that exist in my work community? Do I use them to my advantage?
Have I developed enough people skills to effectively relate with others?
Do I really grasp the power of trust to keep relationships and work communities together?
Do I take the time to watch the processes, interactions, and relationships in the office?
Do I encourage work community, inspire cooperation, mentor, and otherwise shape member behavior to agreed-upon goals often via one-on-one relationships?
Do relationships have a place in measuring my work community’s performance?
Am I able to diagnose relationships?