It’s Not About Making A Point

January 18, 2013 — 24 Comments
It’s Not About Making A Point | Joseph Lalonde

People often argue over the point. Trying to drive home their argument. Leaving the other party dead in the water.

Getting our point across is not the goal of leadership.

What’s Wrong With Making A Point

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with making a point. A point is what we want to get across to someone.

What’s wrong with making a point is how we often do it.

We belittle the other person’s opinion. Destroying their self-esteem. Tearing them down rather than building them up.

We value the point over the person.

If our goal is to get the point across over the value of a person, we’re not leading. We’re being forceful and coercing.

That’s not where we need to head as leaders.

Make A Difference, Not A Point

Our goal should be to make a difference. Not a point.

Making a difference requires affecting another person deeply. Showing them we care. We value their opinion. But we see a better way.

A point doesn’t change a person. It’s a fact. A lesson. An opinion.

A difference changes things. Making a difference will lift others up. It will place value upon their life. It will create a relationship.

How To Make A Difference

It’s not difficult to make a difference when you change your focus from being right to leading right.

To make a difference you have to build relationships. Begin pouring into others. Discover their passions and what drives them. Show an interest in those areas. Spend time growing close to them. Be present and be consistent. This will create the momentum needed to make a difference.

Share your story. Share your life with others. Open yourself up and let others see you as an open book. Use the experiences you’ve faced to relate principles and how they can make a difference in one’s life. People open up to change when they know your story.

Show the change in your life. If you’re not living out the point you’re trying to make, you’re being a bad example. Others will not want to follow you and change if you’re not being affected by what you’re saying and teaching. Let your life be a living example of the difference your point can make.

Let your leadership goal become making a difference over making a point. Points only go so far. Making a difference brings lasting change to someone’s life.

Be willing to step out today and make a difference.

Question: How are you making a difference today? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I like your point.  Really, I think this is important.  I’m currently reading the book “Neighbors and Wise Men” by Tony Kris that you sent me.  Tony learns to become less a superior and more of an equal.  Part of that transition includes be willing to be humble and sincere with others, no matter their position or religion.  Thanks for introducing me to this book, Joe.  I’ll be writing a review at http://www.danerickon,net in early February. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Come on Dan! I didn’t want to make a point. I wanted to make a difference with this post (-;

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying the book. Please let me know when you’ve posted the review. I’ll be sure to check it out.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        Of course, you know I was kidding, Joe.  I should offer Tony’s site it’s http://www.tonykriz.com  I’ll let you know when I get the review up.

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

           Oh, I know. Just had to get a little poke in. Thanks for sharing Tony’s site. It looks quite interesting.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    Making points tend to tick people off. Making a difference rarely does.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Spot on Larry. What are you doing to make a difference?

  • Arny

    i think making relationships is the primary way we make a difference…

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Hey Arny! Long time no see here. That’s a great thought. When we’re willing to get down and form relationships with others, that’s when differences are made. 

      We’re currently talking about that at our church. We’re trying to start Life Groups with the understanding the message does no good unless there’s relationships helping to make a difference. 

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    I think serving, caring, and adding value to the people around us makes a huge difference. I have seen many businesses focus only on results or productivity while not caring or valuing their people. No one wins when this happens.  Great post!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Excellent insights and ways to make a difference rather than a point.

    • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

      Well said!  There are times where it may be prudent to “tighten” up but those should be brief snip-its and not for the long-haul.  People value being valued.

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    Thanks for the great reminder Joseph. It’s helpful for me to remember that If I haven’t built the relationship then the chances of my point making a difference are very small.  I also find that when I share my story and show it in my life it helps me build the relationships I need. So those three points really work to mutually strengthen each other.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Spot on Caleb!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TPCZKWKBQW2BTKKXTXQ5P4N64I David

    If your point is about making a difference then we need to realize that sometimes, the point the other person is making may well be “the better way”. If we are to successfully build successful relationships, both personally and professionally, we need to be willing to cede our point in the greater interest of the goal or project – or just our plans for the evening. We make positive, helpful differences in our relationships by creating a discourse, not enforcing a dictate.

    So your point about not making a point is a good point!  :-)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      David, good point (-; We’ve got to be willing to give and take when the difference we’re making isn’t the best way.

      The great part about that? It helps grow the relationship!

  • http://dreamjobprogram.com/ Drew Tewell

    Joseph,

    This makes me think of marriage. Instead of trying to get my point across to my wife and prove that I’m right, why not listen to what my wife thinks and really try to understand where she is coming from and how she feels. These things tend to be harder with the people we are closest to and spend the most time with.

    I think the main point :) is to not be so focused on ourselves and really value and appreciate others. Thanks for the insights!

    Drew

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Yes Drew, this can apply just as well to marriage as it does to other areas of leadership. Thanks for bringing that aspect out as well!

  • http://www.mondayisgood.com/ Tom Dixon

    When you argue your point, there is really no winner – even if you are successful in making the other person realize how smart you are. Discerning when to let something go is a big part of leadership…I always ask “does the difference make a difference?”

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       Great question to ask when you’re trying to make that tough decision.

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    I really struggle with listening.  A lot of times, I’ve experienced something similar to what I’m being told, and I want to jump right in and “relate” to the individual.  However, what I’ve personally found is that when it’s me – I just want someone to listen.  That’s how I’m trying to make a difference – by listening, by being present, and by being a good example.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      It’s funny how that desire creeps in, isn’t it? I think it’s because we’ve been told that we need to “relate” to others so our tendency is to “share” our story when it’s not needed.

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  • http://www.borntwolead.com/ TJ Trent

    Joe,

    You make a difference by taking care of those you lead.  In the Army we have a saying “NCOs  (the SGTs, Staff Sergeants etc..) take care of Soldiers.”  Meaning as Sun Tzu said we treat our Soldiers as out children we raise them up.  We are with them during good times and bad times.  We hold them accountable when needed and we always help lift them up.

    I believe that how you make a difference.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Spot on TJ. When you care, you’re able to make the difference.