It’s Time we Change our Views about Gurus

I was flabbergasted when someone, at a meeting, derided me for not having heard the concept of a T-shaped Leader.

“It’s the latest thing,” he insisted, looking outraged.

There we go again.

Some used-car salesman adept at marketing himself and masquerading as a management guru and “thought leader” – and most likely to be from the US – must have poured old wine into new bottles and written yet another book to gain prominence.

What in the world is a T-shaped Leader?

More importantly, do I really care?

Name-droppers with mouths bigger than their brains like to give the impression that they are know-it-alls and are in tune with the latest but often they are just victims of the latest trends.

We’ve had The Androgynous Manager, The One Minute Manager, The Evidence-Based Manager, The Level Five Leader, The Possibility Thinker, The Influencer, The Strategist, The Outlier, The Giant Within, The Alchemist, and what have you. Gosh, is anybody out there actually doing real work?

We’ve been hit with Japanese management – which didn’t turn out to be what it has been touted to be, I mean just look at the Japanese economy – then Lean Management, The Jonah Program, The Korean Way in Business (corruption and more corruption plus bad behavior in family-controlled chaebols?) and now that the mainland Chinese are all over the place, of course, The Chinese Tao of Management, ad nauseam.

Management is not rocket science nor brain surgery.

Buzzwords and trends may make you regurgitate all the latest, fashionable words and appear knowledgeable and impressive to the impressionable but they often mean nothing to those who spout them.

Call me a simpleton, but to me, management is nothing more than doing the right things right and righting the wrong things. And being nice to people.

Didn’t Peter Drucker once said something to the effect that many people call themselves gurus because “charlatan” is a harder word to spell?

In your heart of hearts, you’ll know when you are just a pretender.