"Will you hold me accountable?" I've heard that question too many times to count and asked it a few times myself. There is value in accountability. From helping to shed a few pounds to overcoming a sinful addiction, accountability can be the little thing that makes a big difference to your success.
There is an art to accountability. I've had some great relationships for accountability and others that were a waste of time. Through the successes and failures, there are lessons I've learned to have better accountable relationships.
1. "Accountability is giving necessary information before it is required." This statement is attributed to Alton Garrison, the Assistant General Superintendent for the Assemblies of God. One of my former pastors would quote this to the leaders at our church. In an accountable relationship, it is not the job of the person holding you accountable to chase you down to find out what is going on. True accountability is giving necessary information before it is required. If someone asks me to hold them accountable, they should be open enough to tell me how things are going.
2. Transparency, Trust and Honesty are important in accountable relationships. Accountable relationships are built on trust. If one doesn't tell the truth to their accountability partner, they destroy the relationship. If someone is holding me accountable for my health and I give them a false report, I'm hurting myself and our relationship. Be truthful. It is important to note that confidentiality is imperative for trust to be maintained in the accountable relationship.
3. Agree on the parameters of the relationship at the beginning of the relationship. By agreeing on parameters beforehand, it prevents unrealistic expectations on the person holding you accountable. As a person holding someone accountable, we may base our methods on how a mentor held us accountable. That may or may not work with the person you are holding accountable. To avoid confusion and hurt feelings, set parameters for the relationship ahead of time. Parameters for accountability should include, but are not limited to how long will the relationship last, questions to be asked, frequency of the accountability, topics to be covered and things that are off limits.
What are some lessons you've learned to have better accountable relationships?