Friday, September 24, 2010

Accountable leaders!

"They [dogs] never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation." Jerome K Jerome

I talk to my dog, is that weird? He doesn't understand a word of it. Why do we do that? It's not like I'm lonely or mad but I do on occasions find myself talking to him. Basically it's wittering on, I don't go deep with him. We don't have a mutually accountable relationship.

"Accountability" now there's a word.... Often used, seldom practiced. Leaders use it a lot when someone starts up a new initiative that they don't understand. You may as well interpret "Who are they accountable to" as "I need to control this situation"

Older leaders use it about younger leaders "I think he lacks accountability" can I just say older leaders and senior leaders are some of the most un-accountable people I know. Hiding behind a cloak of spirituality and fatherly wisdom they could literally get away with murder!!!! The other problem is they forget what they were like when they were young. Some of the best leaders I know started out as young arrogant loose cannons, actually I was one... we just forget and look back at ourselves through saintly rose tinted spectacles.

If someone ever tells you in christian speak that they have an "Accountability partner" and that partner does not live nearby or see them functioning as a leader or in a community on a daily basis they are not accountable. No matter how honest someone tries to be they will leave stuff out, stuff that can only be seen in shared life. Accountability does not function properly over long distances, its a myth to think otherwise.

Accountability can only ever be mutual! Is that true? How can a young single guy really hold an older married guy accountable?

Ken Macreavy said this once "When loyalty replaces honesty teams will stagnate and die" accountability, openess and honesty is a must for leadership and community to thrive. How often do we see this? A senior leader who has picked up loads of little habits and ways of being, that his team just put up with because they are loyal. No one is ever honest with him and he never grows. He becomes the subject of private jokes and corridor conversations and is never challenged. The team is either to busy and wants the quiet life or the leader demands false loyalty, where by honesty is seen as criticism!! The team acts like the dogs that Jerome quotes!!!

I love my Dog, he's accountable to me.... but is there true accountability within the community of Christ?


Anonymous said...

what you said about the difference between loyalty and honesty. That's really good. I like it.

Anonymous said...

Great post...

Just a thought - what on earth does 'accountability' mean in a voluntary organisation? Or even friendship?

I understand in a job you can be held accountable by being disciplined (i.e. told off), warned, fined or sacked... but if you're not paying someone what can you actually do? Delete them from your facebook friend list??

Perhaps if we have more confidence that Jesus will eventually judge one day, we'd be less inclined to obsess over keeping people accountable who we can't actually do anything to anyway?

Doesn't the NT seem to depict church discipline as essentially shunning the offender and leaving it at that? Otherwise, let people get on with it and let them deal with the consequences of their own actions?

Or am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Accountability... heard some amazing teaching a while back that said that accountability is not about keeping tabs on who we are and checking we are doing right as a christian but should be a relationship that encourages a person to become who God sees them as ie who God is calling them to be by the end of the journey, not supervising where they are at now. This could be with one person or within a community.

Interesting thoughts Brian as always.... community and people.... is there really any other way?