Weekly Spotlight: Thought Leadership

In the world of business, the expression thought leadership is bandied about. The expression means different things to different people, and there can be some confusion about its true nature. There are many misconceptions about thought leadership, both in and outside the workplace. To get to the bottom of what makes a thought leader, and how thought leadership can benefit business, it is important to understand the attributes behind those leaders.

What is a Thought Leader?

In very simple terms, a thought leader is a person or an organization that changes the entrenched behaviors and attitudes of a particular sector. Take, for example, a corporate executive who rewrites the playbook, creating a new way of doing business.
Thought leadership is not a style of leadership, nor is it a part of something else like market research or advertising. Doing something radical or disruptive in a given marketplace does not make one a thought leader; rather, it is the comprehensive approach of a true thought leader to transform all aspects of management, benefiting the company’s products and services.

What Are the Traits of a Thought Leader?

Traditional leadership abilities are traits that a thought leader must possess to be successful. However, there are unique traits that let thought leaders stand out from others. What are some of these traits?

First, a thought leader defines him- or herself, rather than allowing critics to define them. This makes them more appealing to stakeholders and can use their reputations to leverage emerging markets while enhancing performance in existing markets.

Secondly, thought leaders are opinion molders; in other words, their actions and beliefs influence policymakers and media contacts alike. Their actions make changes happen, creating opportunity for the company or organization they work with.

Third, a thought leader is both approachable and discoverable. Thought leaders are masters of networking, leveraging professional and personal relationships for the greater good of the company. They must also be able to share their work; if a leader’s hard work and vision isn’t known by others, it cannot have the proper impact. A thought leader’s credibility and trust is influenced by how many people are aware of the work being done.

Finally, persistence is the key to success, both for thought leaders and others in leadership roles. Not every idea will pan out. Giving up before transformative actions change the way business is done can lead to failure. Thought leaders are known for their intense personal willingness to never give up, even in the face of adversity. Leaders need to have a strong drive to perform and to motivate others to do the same.

With these traits, thought leaders bring innovation and transformation to the companies or organizations they work with. Their actions build brand trust, and their leadership influences others in a positive way. Organizations with known thought leaders can have significant market advantages over competitors, building value for the stakeholders involved in the company.
Watch a great thought leader speech here:

Article shared by Internetzone I, Inc.


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