Everyone occasionally gets assigned to be the Point Person: the one people turn to for making plans, coordinating, and figuring everything out. The people around you may have the impression you are the most knowledgeable, capable, or willing to do the work. They may look up to you or see you as an authority. For whatever reason, you become the Point Person, the hub of responsibility in a situation or group.
Sometimes it can be preferable to be the “Point Person,” and there will be times that you just do not want the responsibility. You may have been told to “just say yes” or “step up to the plate” when you have been put in this position. People may try to cheer you on, thinking you just need encouragement and that leading or organizing will be good for you, or that it’s your duty. Still, you do not want to do it. So, what now?
Consider whether it is healthy for you to take on unwanted tasks. The associated stress increase can cause you harm. We all know excessive stress is harmful, but the chronicity of stress that comes from being a “Point Person” can be especially injurious, because there is no apparent time for your body to realize that the situation is over, signaling that it is time to relax.
“Over time, continued strain on your body from routine stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety” – National Institute of Mental Health website
Allowing others to decide that you are in charge can be detrimental to your relationships. It is best to talk about what you are comfortable with early before you grow resentful for having endured a situation you felt forced into. This can also prevent tensions that would inevitably arise in the course of you trying to fill that “Point Person” role.
Feeling pushed into a default role of responsibility most likely does not help you put your best foot forward and shine. Your performance as an unwilling “Point Person” may disappoint people that matter to you, or matter to your success at work or other areas of your life.
How to Handle Being Elected Point Person
Once you decide how you feel about being the responsible party, you can then set limits that protect you from absorbing more responsibility than you want. Be clear with yourself about what bothers you, what feels right in your wisdom, and how you would like to interact with the project or situation ahead of you. Then you can set parameters with the people looking to you for guidance.
Setting limits promotes better health and well-being. Some of the benefits of being clear about your boundaries include that you learn more about yourself, you become a more transparent and effective communicator, and you have more time for the things you value.
It can take practice setting boundaries with others. Here are some tips to help you set your boundaries:
- Do your homework: Ask what others expect of you without assuming.
- Know yourself and be truthful: Before starting a conversation about your limits, know what you are willing to accept and be honest about it.
- Negotiate: Be willing to try to find a solution that works for everyone if it exists, don’t accept “solutions” that truly do not work for you.
- Self-care: Stick with your commitment to take care of yourself.
- Be assertive: Don’t try to disguise your limits or make them seem like something they aren’t. Be direct and clear.
If you want to learn more about limit setting or other ways to take your health from surviving to thriving, contact Dr. Bando today.