Saturday, November 15, 2008

You Make Me Want to be a Better Person!

We hear too much about being accountable, which seems always to address the letter of the law. A variety of covenant groups meet to report on the presence or absence of specifically Christian practices of the members. Church hierarchies ask clergy to self report an inventory of bodies and bucks that will be used in assessing the effectiveness of the self-same clergy. Sort of a built-in conflict of interest there, don't ya think?

Whereas the behaviors, practices, fruits, or numbers can be used as a measure, accountability's style of relationship is more transactional, and it runs on power over to define what success is. Everything depends on who decides what constitutes accountability. The bare minimum is neatly laid out. Those always touting accountability are what Charles Dickens would call the "grad grinds;" they inhabit a place in the food chain and status quo of institutions.

Loyalty, or being counted on, is much different. It deals with the relational aspects of motivation and why I would want to change in the first place. Being counted on addresses the whole person and not just a slot on an organizational ladder. The core of loyalty is transformational.

The best leaders are transformational, and free others- a separate universe from those whose only real authority is title or organizational control. When we are loyal, we want to do our best, not just because of institutional goals, but because we have the backs of those with whom we're serving. We become more than servants- we become friends! We want to do our best. We become our own best person, not because we have to, but because we will it.

"You make me want to be a better person," Jack Nicholson told Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets. And that, I believe, IS as good as it gets!

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