2020 December

Thoughts on Accountability

by Karen Lehman, MHS President/CEO

Like many others right now, I am completely drawn in to the Netflix series, The Crown.  

The perspective on history has been really interesting, but what has given me the most pause is the duality of the character’s role, the legal side and her personal needs and feelings; the challenge of accountability that the Queen experiences. 

I’ve found myself feeling truly sorry for the difficult position that she is in as head of the Church, head of the Monarchy and yet she’s a wife, mother, sister, daughter – a person with personal and family interests and obligations. 

Of course, it’s very hard to say that I feel sorry for the Queen of England! But the challenge and personal heartache that the Queen experiences, as portrayed in this show, always prioritizing church, country and monarchy, before her own good, is daunting to consider.  There is real tension in loosening the tight reins and control in the Monarchy to allow for the changing times. 

This show has made me think a lot about accountability: the moral obligation that a leader has as an executive to a Board, to stakeholders and clients that are served, and in relationship to an associated faith or church.  Where are the boundaries of a leader’s accountability? 

When is it appropriate to share and act on personal views and values versus the faith, values and expectations of those that are served?  Is it ever appropriate that a leader acts on their personal beliefs and values if those are knowingly different than what the moral owners stand for?

The answers to these questions are not simple.  As so many things such as health care, science, and individual rights have become political issues in the United States, the need to consider our individual accountability, along with faith and values becomes even more important.  Maybe, like me, you will grapple with these questions for a little while.  I’d love to have generative conversation on this topic sometime in a Mennonite Health Assembly setting (after we are all vaccinated and safe to meet in person again!).

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