[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]H[/mk_dropcaps]ealthy teams in sports, business or any organization have two key traits that ensure everyone involved thrives along with the team as a whole: Encouragement & Accountability Encouragement: the fuel
Strangely enough while we know the essence of what these two things are they are highly varied based of the team in which they are operating. On my swim team encouragement consisted of the obvious during practice and races cheering, but that was not what mattered the most. It was those moments of conversation where we saw another struggling off the pool deck in balancing the strains of having such a rigorous training schedule in addition to the load of being at a highly academic school.
In the business world it looks much different. Often encouragement comes by slowing down and being knowingly inconvenienced by someone to listen to the issue at hand and to provide your wisdom and council. Reminding them of why and what they are working for.
Scripture describes the benefit of partnership encouragement like this:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]
Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up. -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10[/mk_blockquote]
Accountability- the focus
This is a bit less cut and dry as this is very contingent upon what the “win” is of a team, organization or partnership. Accountability is an agreed upon chain of responses to keep everyone on the path set before them to reach the win.
In swimming our coaches set in place mutual accountability with each other to be on time for practices and to be there consistently. In the locker room we kept each other accountable as we got ready for a practice (especially in the AM)when people were dragging their feet to get in because we would have an alternative warm up if someone was late to get in the water. That meant we had to do a harder and more boring set then what was planned. I remember having my teammates more than my coaches keep after me to get in the water. We were mutually accountable to each other because being on the team our “win” was to be the very best team at the end of the season we could be. We wanted to win our NCAA meet and personally each of us wanted to do best times at least in one or more events. Our actions were the small things that when done consistently brought us closer to that end goal.
Much of a similar process works in the business world, on all different levels there has to be that “chain” of accountability so we know when someone gets off the path that we have set to reach our win.
In friendship we hold each other accountable as well. In fact that is the best environment for us to grow and improve character. The bible refers to this effect in friendships as sharpening:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. -Proverbs 27:17[/mk_blockquote]
Who we align ourselves with will shape our character, behaviors, and destiny. It is not something to take lightly or to walk into flippantly. It is also not something to just assume will happen automatically. Especially in a team environment we need to have an agreed upon method of accountability otherwise it can just be abrasive and damaging to trust within the relationship.
Together encouragement and accountability are like the gas and the gps to the vehicle of our life so we can stay on the right path and keep moving forward. Partnership is vital in life to make this journey not only more successful, but enjoyable on the way. Do not discount your impact by doing these two things in all the teams, partnerships and relationship you have. In the body of Christ after all we are advancing toward the same thing… having more of Christ in us and working through us.