Inner leadership is a function of people in interdependent, voluntary, and trusting relationship (Crosby, 1996). Effective inner leadership can only take place within a community where both leaders and followers are free to trust the purposes, actions, and intent of others enough to risk themselves in joint relationship. This is and has always been a characteristic of leadership. Still, today many theorists, responding to a specious social and emotional appeal to inclusiveness, propound individual difference, independence, and diversity over cooperative interdependence. This is a formula for failure. Leaders can only lead volunteers who have freely chosen to share their values, vision, methods, and techniques.
Leaders in the middle of the corporation can only lead people who are in harmony with the values and purposes of their work community and its leader. Indeed, community is founded on the root word, unity, not difference, on harmony, not diversity. There is little hope that blind acceptance of coworkers with multiple and diverse internally competing value systems will produce stable, effective, and responsive, economic, governmental, or social organization. Of course, leaders should employ workers from as broad a pool of potential colleagues as possible—it is not only the law but good business and morally demanded. But the leadership challenge in the new millennium is to quickly shape these diverse workers into a work community characterized by shared vision, values, methods, and attitudes—the only venue where colleagues can trust each other enough to work collaboratively.
Either in-the-middle leaders foster freedom of choice broadly in the work community, or, over time, members will estrange themselves. The workplace created by the inner leader simply cannot sustain either human existence or individual liberty for long outside the interdependent communities to which they belong (Etzioni, 1993). The techniques of trust leadership are key inner leadership techniques. These techniques set inner leaders apart from top leaders or managers. The three techniques described in Part VI sum up a growing list of knowledge, skills, and techniques that facilitate cooperative group action. They include learning to trust others, creating community, and developing stewardship structures.