Chapter XX King David (Accountability)
Written by Ray Fairman   
Personal Accountability  is a lesson that cannot be overlooked... so in I Chronicles 11:10 - 12:40 we are going to learn something I hope about the importance of seeking and listening to wise counsel, from David who was a leader who was known to many by the company he kept. When you take time to study the life of King David it is a forgone conclusion that you will find he was an intelligent leader, though obviously not always a perfect one. (Are we perfect?) David did, however, surround himself predominantly with wise leaders and men of character and allowed them to hold him accountable for his own actions. He knew that there is no place for "lone rangers" in the world of leadership. The staff with which a leader chooses to encircle himself frequently determines whether or not he is able to reach his ultimate potential. A strong leader who chooses a weak and pandering staff comprised predominantly of "Yes Men" can never truly expect to make a lasting impact. Conversely even a mediocre leader who is willing to select a strong group of leaders for his staff and closest advisors and allow them to lead will experience an excellent chance of moving his vision for the future forward a significant distance.

It seemed obvious to me as I conducted my study of his life that David definitely possessed what can be referred to as a "Sense of Personal Accountability" to a greater extent than many leaders of whom we have spoken thus far in our study and far beyond the degree exemplified by Sampson.

David was wise enough to start building his staff of trusted and competent leaders long before he became King. You can find for example that in I Chronicles, we are informed that many strong warriors were attracted to David's side during his rise up the often treacherous slopes of leadership pyramid and he didn't attract just anyone, he attracted people who wanted to be leaders themselves. He also chose from those recruits wisely, selecting men with varying gifts. For example he selected ambidextrous archers, slingers, spearmen, mighty men of valor and hundreds of Captains. David, you see, knew how to diversify his assets, thus solidifying his command and preparing it for most emergencies.

The loyalty of David's leaders was appropriately reflected in the loyalty of his men as well. From the earliest days through the toughest times, even when it looked as if David's own son Absalom would crush his father, many of David's followers steadfastly maintained their loyalty remaining by his side. This was due in part to the style of leadership embraced by David, a leader who delegated and did not feel as though he had to do it all. This provided his leaders with a chance to grow into their own competency and reach leadership maturity. We must acknowledge that this display of confidence can never be undertaken without risk. Still, strong leaders are, and must always be, willing to take great but calculated risks, not just take risks.

It is a fact though that even good leaders can err and David the "adulterer and murderer" (see my article entitled "Co-conspirator in Ancient Homicide Indicted" for the real story on David's reputation as a murderer) exemplifies this premise. But don't forget, he was also called a man after God's own heart, for he was well aware of what it felt like to be close to God and therefore recognized when he had separated himself from God by his self-serving actions. David understood, however, what it was necessary to do in order to return to the shelter and peace of God when separated by sin. He was always willing to be held accountable for his sin when it was presented to him and to repent of it.  David is an excellent example of God using a man who saw great highs and great lows in his life but who never lost sight of God and was rewarded by being recognized as a part of the lineage of Christ.

But, what did David look for in the members of his command staff and what should we look for as we select our own subordinate leaders? Let's take a look at some of the qualities that make up a strong leaders immediate subordinates or what some of them may refer to as their INNER CIRCLE. That looks like a good acronym so let's stick with it and break it down as we look at what it takes to make up a wise council of commanders.

Making Influential people a part of your staff usually compounds your own influence. Always remember that those people over whom you have some degree of influence have others over whom they also exercise some degree of influence. As this net begins to spread, a leaders influence increases exponentially. The influence of these subordinates must always be channeled for the good of the many and should never be allowed to become competitive with the influence of the overall leadership steering the mission and its leader's vision.

Including people on your staff who are good at Networking generally expands the resources available to accomplish any mission you may be assigned or select. People who know other people have more resources to bring to bear on solving a wider variety of problems.

Placing Nurturing people close to you will help to remind you to keep your focus on others, because this sort of a person is the type who cares about others and will focus on caring for, encouraging and supporting others. This display of concern rarely adversely impacts a leader's reputation instead it often edifies that reputation.

Empowering people must be included because they have the ability, confidence and understanding to ensure the implementation of that empowerment principle at lower levels. These are the people who will find ways to help you accomplish more because they are confident competent achievers themselves and who know how to lead and empower others.

Introducing the presence of Resourceful people on to your staff is critical because these are the kind of people who can think and act on their own without selfish motives and are always a boon to any organization. These staff members can think on their feet as the saying goes and possess the ability to encounter any obstacle on the fly and then to improvise, adapt and overcome these obstacles while continuing to advance the leaders vision.

Character-driven People are people of strong character and should always be included on a command staff because they will help polish a leader's integrity keeping that leader honest allowing them to accomplish much more than those of questionable character. You see having a staff laden with individuals of weak character will inevitably distort any leader's moral compass and destroy that leader's reputation dashing any prospects of future success.

Intuitive people are people who not only can, but do use their God given instincts to anticipate what actions will be required and when they will be necessary, in order to head off potential problems. These staffers make quite competent strategic planners and therefore are very valuable contributors to any leader's staff.

Putting Responsible people on your staff means you will have included people who will never leave you in the lurch. These are men and women of their word. Men and women who don't generate excuses or look for places to stack blame. If you are going to empower staffers then you need them to be responsible people. Authority without responsibility is a ‘dog' that eventually attacks its master.

Don't forget Competent People. You don't need a staff of world-class performers, but you do need skillful people who can and do desire to inspire others. Competence by its very nature breeds competence. And that means incompetency tends to breed incompetency so when you must relieve and replace an incompetent leader, never replace him or her with a member of their own staff.

Loyal people are a mandate, as trust is always a compulsory obligation. Without it, the rest of these staff qualities are meaningless. It has been pointed out by many people familiar with good leadership that any fool can criticize and most fools do. Disloyal and thus deceitful subordinates will eventually and without doubt destroy anything they encounter, especially unit morale. A lack of loyalty in a unit generally means everyone is looking for a place to lay the blame for failure and not concentrating on reaching a successful conclusion to their mission. That type of organization can more appropriately be called a "Mob."

Energetic People must always be a part of a successful staff. Energetic people are tenacious people and the kind of people for whom failure after minor failure can usually be overcome. These are people who just won't let themselves be sidetracked. Wars would always go to the winner of the first battle if it weren't for the persistent and energetic efforts of warriors and wise commanders, who seize the opportunities provided by adversity to learn from each and every mistake. Learning from these situations to improvise, adapt and overcome. It is wise to remember that without adversity, courage never blossoms.

Look around and you will see the kind of people God can and will provide to support you in your leadership quest. You still have to put the team He gives you together and use them according to the vision He has instilled in your heart and mind. Thus, in conclusion, I remind you that if you surround yourself with eagles, you will soar to victory, but if you surround yourself with turkeys you are likely to end up on someone's Thanksgiving Table.

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