Updated: Dec 16, 2021
There is a growing concept within leadership called ‘Thought Leadership'. What exactly is a thought leader? Why do people seek to become one?
In a nutshell, it is someone who is recognized as having the ability to articulate concepts well through spoken and written word.
These people are sought out for their perspective, are at the forefront of their field, and seem to always have the answers on what the future holds (at least in the short term).
That sounds like something many leaders desire to become, myself included.
So, how does one become a thought leader?
Here are five things people should so when desiring to become a thought leader:
1. Become a submarine: A thought leader is one who is in the mix of “their” concept all the time. They surround themselves with people who think on the same topics. They marinate on old angles, and look for new lenses through which they can find a different perspective.
2. Look off the farm: Thought leaders are well grounded in “their” topics, and this cannot happen without venturing outside of people who think like they do. They gain perspective from people who think differently, and actively seek out dissenting voices.
3. Pay attention to current thought leaders: There is nothing new under the sun, and yet there are people who immediately come to mind when looking for a fresh take on old ideas. Find these people and follow them.
4. Become a worm: A book worm, that is. Thought leaders actively read. All the time. On different topics. They create a growing web of knowledge that informs “their” topic and further solidifies their thought leader status.
5. Know thyself: Thought leaders don’t only continually learn about their topic, but they also set aside protected time to learn about themselves. And they never stop. One cannot feel confident about anything if they are (1) not confident about who they are and (2) feel safe challenging cherished values.