How to Know if You Have What It Takes to be a Thought Leader
There are people who have amazing, innovative ideas, but take a back seat to stepping into the limelight. Then, there are those leaders who get all of their ideas from the people who work with them and their only greatness is the ability to lead. Meshing the two together – the creative ideas and the ability to lead – can possibly give one the ability to be a thought leader. But, how do you know if you are cut out for thought leadership?
Do you have expert industry knowledge?
Your audience is coming to you for information and the information you have needs to be current and exclusive. If you want them to follow you and not your competition, you need to have a leg up by knowing more than the competition knows. What value can you provide your audience with what you already know and are willing to learn? Your expert industry knowledge is going to be the first step to creating innovation and making great content.
Do you push boundaries?
Having great ideas and being a great leader are two pieces of the pie when it comes to thought leadership, but lots of leaders have great ideas. As a thought leader, you really need to push boundaries and do things others aren’t doing. Your ideas should be radical and not radical in a way where people will think you’re nuts, radical in a way that people will realize you’re right. You have to be willing to do what others just won’t do, do it well and make it good.
Do you have a willing audience?
Thoughts are just thoughts if people can’t hear them. Great thought leaders don’t just spout off their ideas, they make them go viral. Having an audience who is willing to listen and love your ideas is an important part of thought leadership. You want an audience who is going to like, share and convince their colleagues to like and share all of your content. Without the fans, you can’t have the celebrity.
Are you ready to get yourself out there?
Being a thought leader takes a whole lot of work. First, you’ve got to create great thought leadership content. Then, you’ve got to get it out to the world. And you’ve got to do this consistently and frequently. You’ve also got to be willing to do speaking appearances, answer questions and be willing to take flack for what you’ve said. It takes a thick skin to put yourself into the limelight and you need to ensure you are ready to get yourself out there.
Can you be authentic?
Sure, you might believe that thought leadership is just another form of marketing, but it is marketing in its truest form. The best thought leaders stay true to themselves and espouse authentic content that is relatable and furthers them as a brand. When thought leaders are inauthentic, audiences notice because ideas change and go back and forth in a way that creates distrust. As a thought leader, you need to be honest, open and willing to let your audience see what you really stand for.
Do you have what it takes to be a thought leader?
If you found this article interesting, you may also enjoy reading the other articles I’ve recently posted on Executive Outlook about Thought Leadership. Please feel free to share these articles with your network.
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