Inner leaders prioritize traditional American values (Terry, 1995) that foster a return to community—like respect for life, freedom of action, unity, justice, and happiness, along with a few other operationally useful values. These values are espoused by most Americans and anchor a unifying value system acceptable to most leaders and their work-community colleagues. In this way they create moral meanings for work-community members. They carry a burden of ethical responsibility, the center of which is service to their stakeholders. They create values systems that prioritize both work community productivity and worker satisfaction.
The values they set are statements of the oughts, formulations of the desirable each person sets for him or her self. They represent settled ideas about the way one measures experience and relationships. They are also the prime cause of individuals’ behavior. The leader’s values characterize much workaday experience and give meaning to that experience. Inner leaders see their work as articulating meaningful values systems that define their own leadership and the work ethic of their community of coworkers. These tasks are not as daunting as it might first appear. Most adults have internalized value systems that serve them throughout their lives—including their work lives.
Inner leaders serve followers’ values needs as together they work to serve the common good. This kind of leadership is the reverse of much of past leadership literature. Rather than attempt to dominate followers, inner leaders work to provide all things necessary for followers to transform themselves and successfully complete their work tasks. They enhance their followers’ moral selves as they also help confirm followers’ beliefs in their own inherent self-worth.
The values-oriented techniques discussed in this Part separate inner leadership from other workplace functions. Basing their leadership, as they do, on values, inner leaders are able to achieve successes unlikely if they used more values-sterile approaches. These values techniques reflect vital elements of the specialized knowledge, skills, and techniques that define the leader in the middle and not at the top. They circumscribe inner leadership and establish its context—a context full of values connotations (Klenke, 1996). These techniques include orchestrating meaning within the group, emphasizing values, creating a higher moral standard, servant leadership, and celebrating success.