Are you leading or managing?

Are you leading or managing?

Can you, at any given moment, know whether you are leading, or managing? DAM POC is my blunt tool so I always know.

I like acronyms. My little gray cells need shorthand ways to get ahold of a topic.

I grew up in corporate America. The perennial question was, “Are leaders only born, or can they be made?” The question itself implies that leading is much better than managing. DAM POC debunks that view.


First, let’s give credit where credit is due. This idea is one of many from John Kotter, and his work A Force for Change. In it, Kotter simply declares there are leadership functions and management functions. And they’re both necessary.

Leadership is about setting Direction. Aligning everyone to that direction. Motivating people to achieve it.

Leadership activities are all about DAM.

Management is all about Planning how the work or team will function. Organizing the people and processes around that plan. Controlling activities to achieve the plan.

Management is POC.

If you buy this idea, then three points follow:

  1. We all spend parts of our day doing some Leading and some Managing.

  2. Each of us will lean in one direction more than the other.

  3. The key is to know when to DAM and when to POC!

You and I must exercise both leadership and management. Some of us are in positions where one function is required more than another.  However, we each tend more naturally toward one.

Leadership - setting Direction, Aligning, Motivating...

Management - Planning, Organizing, and Controlling...

I love things to be perfect. Early in my career I worked long hours focused on POC. The result? I failed to fully lead and develop the people I was blessed to work with. We must therefore be intentional, and strengthen our weaker muscle.

DAM and POC: our people need both.

Take this idea of DAM POC and lay it on top of the work. Imagine going to the moon. That took tremendous Leadership. But if I were an astronaut sitting on the launch pad, I would want to know that there also were some very good, well managed, controls in place.

My point? There are times when a high degree of both are needed.

DAM POC allows me to think about my organization and our work. It lets me ask questions of myself. When I look at my work week, how much time do I spend involved in DAM, and how much in POC? How much should I be spending in each? How about you?

This was originally a guest post for C12 Charlotte.

Day 3: One-Way Doors (Acts 1:1-1:11)

Day 3: One-Way Doors (Acts 1:1-1:11)

Day 2: I've got your back! (Luke 24:36–53)

Day 2: I've got your back! (Luke 24:36–53)