In today’s world, the phrase thought leadership has been overtly used within the business, private, and nonprofit sector. While the title itself has fallen into the dark hole of private sector jargon, we cannot stand by and overlook the impact that these key drivers have for tomorrow’s innovation. For many future businesses, thought leaders are innovators that play a strong and integral role in creating growth and motivation within a thriving economy. Much of their mentality and drive comes from their inventive ideas and unrelenting energy and ambition to spark and inspire growing ideas and individuals for the future of any businesses. While we can continue to throw the phrase around, I believe it is important t to analyze this trait and its overall impact on businesses and professionals alike.
At its core, thought leadership can be a very difficult concept to grasp. With so many great leaders, how can we differ an effective manager of an office from a thought leader in an entire industry? The answer is actually quite simple if you think about it. Thought leaders are not just managers. They are pioneers who look to go beyond their goals and exploits in order to share their wisdom and knowledge with the rest of their peers. These informed opinionated leaders are those that we commonly refer to as the ‘go-to’ people within any field of expertise. They are the trusted source that not just executes at the job, but also shows and shares how to replicate success in every which way. In its truest form, thought leaders tend to be the most successful individuals. Furthermore, they are the ‘rainmakers’ if you will that can significantly change the face of any business in a positive and lucrative manner. So, with that, one question comes to mind: What characteristics make up a thought leader?
While it may seem obvious, I feel like it is imperative to stress their expertise within their field. For thought leaders, they are not simply noticed or recognized because of their name. Instead, they are highly acclaimed because of what they bring to the table. To put it simply, these people are an incredible asset to whatever company or organization they are affiliated with. From their resumes, work experience, and overall work ethics, these leaders provide a high level of exceptional knowledge and natural ability into their work. They understand the ins-and-outs and the best approaches and practices within the day-to-day operations. Without that level of success, they would not be seen as highly as they are.
Leadership can be a hard skill to develop. But for thought leaders, managing, sharing, and connecting with a group of individuals is something that is second nature. For these individuals, they are not simply looking to retain the number one spot. Instead, they look to create a vision that will inspire and motivate others to work and grow each and every day. That style of collective and communal thinking is something that is rare, especially in competitive businesses. But, for the sake of the greater good, that philosophy and rational of a thought leader are what truly distinguishes them from the other individuals who are looking to just make a name for themselves.
As a thought leader, you will need to know how to communicate with a variety of different people. While it does not require you to be an extroverted individual, it will involve a strong line of communication and personality. In many cases, these individuals will be looked to as the examples and mentors of the business. Because of that, you will have a variety of individuals, from all different departments approaching you on specific ideas and topics. This is an opportunity where friendliness and approachability matters. Whether you are networking, blogging, or writing an email, all of your lines of communication as a thought leader should foster a sense of approachability. Even if it is for the simplest advice, that amicable personality is what truly personifies the leadership and vision that makes a person a thought leader.
Thought leaders are seen to have a consistent habit of being pretty transparent about their history and backgrounds. In many cases, their story of self is what fosters their perspective and their success. By understanding a thought leader’s story, you will be able to internalize the goals and reasons for what makes them go above and beyond each and every day.
Persistent and Well-Driven
This goes without saying, but for anyone who is at the top of his or her game, they have to have a willingness to be persistent. They want to make sure the world will move forward and that it will move there even faster with them by their side. For what drives them, that is a different story. The only thing that matters is their determination and belief to stay focus.
When it comes to thought leadership, the title comes with action. It is about creating and making a change. This is not to say that it will not take time or effort to succeed. In fact, a culmination of their success is tangent with their overall sacrifice to said task. What we really need to understand is the grand scheme of things where the most effective thought leaders are those who are out in front of their cause and are continuing to show and grow other individuals to their collective goals.