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Iron Sharpens Iron, A Wise Man Listens to Wise Counsel

Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

In my leadership studies over the years, I have found one of the most important aspects of successful and influential leaders is their accountability to others. Good leaders surround themselves with people who will hold them accountable.

It is human nature to surround ourselves with people who we have a lot in common with and will co-sign and agree with our thoughts and actions. However, this is not what makes us successful this is what makes us comfortable. Leaders make mistakes when they get too comfortable in their positions and their own abilities. The Bible has a lot to say about this. We see many scriptures that remind us to rebuke our brother and sister when they sin.

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him...

Luke 17:3

Why do you think the scripture talks about this so much? As they built the Acts Church and the number of believers began to grow, the influence of those in leadership grew as well. There was a lot of opportunity for the leaders like Peter, Paul, John, etc., to become prideful. The believers listened to the counsel of these apostles, and they held a lot of power with the people. So much so that the Roman Church and the Jewish religious leaders felt threatened by their influence with the people. They could have easily abused this power if they were not accountable to one another. We see in scripture where Paul rebukes Peter for being prejudiced against the gentiles after the Holy Spirit had instructed them to preach the gospel to the gentiles (everyone who was not Jewish) as well as the Jewish people.

If we desire to be successful and influential in our positions, we must submit ourselves to those around us that are mature in their relationship with God and who have proven their wisdom by their actions and lives. If you want financial counsel, you do not go to someone who is broke. By the same standard you want to submit yourselves to people that have high moral standards. If they do not have permission to hold you accountable then stop what you are doing right now and give them permission to correct you if you error, and counsel you if you begin to get prideful or egotistical.

In every situation where I have seen a leader fall, whether in the church, government, or the marketplace, it is because the people around them did not challenge them. They had people around them that enabled their bad behavior, whether from fear of retaliation or because they did not feel empowered to speak out. By the same token leaders who have been restored had people around them who corrected them when their thoughts, behaviors and actions did not align with a strict moral standard.

If you do not have anyone who will do this, then find someone and give them permission to hold you accountable and to be honest with you every situation. We all need to submit ourselves to another person or persons who can help to sharpen us in personal and professional ways. We all need people who challenge us to become better versions of ourselves.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

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