Inner leaders use psychological and ideological symbols to inspire others. To inspire is to stop questions or doubt and to impel people to change without thinking. There is an extrarational quality about inspiration. It goes beyond facts by putting into words people’s dreams and hopes and giving them a sense of purpose (Bilchik, 2001). It is not motivation but another distinctive set of skills and attributes that goes beyond motivation’s market-exchange theory—getting something for giving something—and engages the heart and mind as well.
Motivation theory is based on material rewards. It involves tangible benefits received in trade for designated performance. Sometimes the rewards dispensed are associated with the psychological well-being desires of followers such as recognition, affiliation, or status. Generally speaking, motivation can be described as an external exchange transaction between leader and follower where each gives something the other wants and receives something of value in return. However, the fact is that leaders are in the middle of the organization and do not normally control the range of resources under the CEO’s control with which they can structure these material motivational exchanges. They have to rely more on the intangible technique of inspiration to secure follower compliance.
Inner leaders do not rely solely on authoritarian forms of leader–follower interaction, favoring indirection and subtlety and inspiration and logical argument. These leaders find they must use exposition and persuasion to convince others of the utility of their values, ideas, and goals and win them over to their point of view. Skill in persuasive communication is an important technique inner leaders use (Gareau,1999). They also use humor to help their followers bond into a cohesive work community, one that values each member and that differentiates those included in the work community from all others (Santovec, 2001). Inner leaders use humor to direct follower attention to what they want them to think about and divert their attention from what they don’t want. Humor is a powerful tool and is part of effective leadership (Avolio, Howell, and Sosik, 1999).
The three techniques highlighted in Part IV define tasks associated with animating, enlivening, invigorating, and infecting coworkers—in a word, inspiring them. Part IV techniques are not often included in discussions about leadership theory and practice. The three techniques in this part include being inspiring, learning to persuade others, and using humor.