Leadership Lesson Two – Short Accounts

As leaders it is important to maintain regular housekeeping of conversations and relationships.

Just as a house can be in disrepair if not attended to, so too can our relationships. Proverbs 10:9

A good habit is to keep short accounts at all times. This means that any conflict that has not been worked out, any conversations uncompleted, any bad feelings, any apologies that need to be made, any difficulties that need to be addressed, we deliberately attend to these. Ephesians 4:32

We do this first and foremost with our team. Then we do this with those we are serving. And finally to anyone on the fringes that have been drawing our attention. Philippians 2:3

Keeping short accounts is not about fixing every thing per se, there are many things that cannot be resolved, rather keeping short accounts keeps us as leaders responsible to ourselves regarding the promise we made to lead well, in good integrity, and in true service to others. Mark 10:42-45

At the end of the day we want to say, despite any difficulties, that we did all we could to ensure good outcomes. Keeping short accounts is one way that we do this.

I suggest that a rhythm of short accounts be kept. That while we operate from a commitment of keeping short accounts at all times that once every three to five months we seriously and intentionally attend to anything amiss among our organizations.

Taking a week or two to engage conversations, to make phone calls, to ask relevant questions of those we work alongside; doing this we find out what can be done differently and better going forward.

We also have opportunity to take full responsibility for what has not gone well. Here we show our true strength as leaders.

QUESTIONS – To ask ourselves:

  • Who have I insulted in the last three months?
  • Have I undermined anyone’s authority?
  • Did I deceive anyone recently?
  • What are the problems at this time and have we talked these through to solutions?
  • Are there any bad feelings not resolved?
  • Have I said the hard things I am afraid to say?
  • Have I apologized for my errors?

Keeping short accounts is hard work. It is vulnerable work. It is tenacious work.

Because it is hard work, and because our emotions can derail our best efforts and intentions it is important to think through and make note of the conversations we need to have beforehand.

Asking questions of ourselves, taking the time to actually write down our answers and our plan helps to ensure that we keep short accounts in a manner worthy of our calling. Luke 6:31

APPLICATION ASSIGNMENT – Here is what I want you to do with this:

  1. Get pen and paper and sit down with yourself and the Lord –make the time.
  2. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking, “Lord I invite you to bring to mind any relationships, situations, difficulties, that I need to address.”
  3. As God brings to mind different people and situations make your notes.

Pray through and strategize about each conversation you need to have. Become clear about the purpose of each conversation. In each instance what is it exactly that you want to come away with?

Lastly, before any short account conversation bring any bitterness or anger or unforgiveness to the Lord. Going into any conversation angry and bitter will not make things better, and the goal is to make things better, not worse. 1 John 1:9

ACCOUNTABILITY – Let someone know:

Work with your leader, allowing them to help guide you as you take on these conversations and as you learn to keep short accounts.

And as you have your conversations with others keep track of what worked well and what didn’t work well. Be a learner so that you will continue to grow as a leader. Proverbs 1:5

You are in my prayers as you take on this challenge to keep short accounts.

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