How do you demonstrate thought leadership?
To help you best develop and demonstrate thought leadership, we asked established thought and business leaders this question for their best insights. From being the one to start discussions to taking up active speaking engagements, there are several insights offered about the things you should focus on to develop yourself and start demonstrating expertise as a thought leader in your industry.
Here are 10 ways these leaders have developed and show their thought leadership:
- Be the One to Start Discussions
- Start by Challenging the Status Quo
- Encourage Work Delegation
- Be Genuine and Develop Knowledge About Your Industry
- Make It About Providing Insight and a Business
- Show Yourself as a Listener
- Establish Your Online Presence On Social Media
- Cultivate Curiosity and Ask Questions
- Get Experts Involved in Your Content Creation
- Take Up Active Speaking Engagements and Learn From Others
Be the One to Start Discussions
Be the one to start the discussion, not just participate in it. Whether you’re online or speaking to peers in real life, a thought leader is the person who can put a topic on the table and take part in the discourse. While thought leaders are often the ones to guide conversation about their industry or expertise, being the one who starts up a topic will allow you to give voice to and acknowledge other experts and members of your community or organization. You can share your thoughts and opinions while giving a platform to peers that can help elevate your status as a thought leader. Be proactive, start the discussions and reap the benefits of your sharing your expertise.
Boye Fajinmi, TheFutureParty
Start by Challenging the Status Quo
One way to demonstrate thought leadership is to start being open to new ideas, challenging assumptions, and thinking outside the box. It also means sharing your insights and perspectives with others.
A thought leader is not afraid to challenge the status quo and is always looking for new ways to improve processes. If you want to be a thought leader, start by actively participating in the dialogue around important subjects.
Then, share your own insights and perspectives with others. Finally, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Thought leadership is about having the courage to speak your mind and challenge the status quo. So go out there and make your voice heard!
Natalia Brzezinska, PhotoAiD
Encourage Work Delegation
One important way to demonstrate thought leadership is by encouraging work delegation. This means giving others the opportunity to take on responsibility for tasks and projects, and trusting that they will be able to complete them successfully. It can be difficult to let go of control, but it is important to remember that delegating work does not mean giving up all responsibility. Instead, it is a way of showing faith in others and acknowledging their ability to contribute to the success of the organization. Thought leaders are not afraid to step back and let others take the lead, knowing that this is often the best way to achieve success.
Lorien Strydom, Financer.com
Be Genuine and Develop Knowledge About Your Industry
Be genuine. Learn as much as you can about your industry, work smart and hard and you’ll likely gain traction and notoriety. From there simply present your success narrative and let the accolades speak for themselves. There’s no need to put up pretenses or to be anything other than who you are because once you put your talents to good use, you’ll likely emerge as a natural leader. In the end, nobody likes fake news. Just be you.
Erin Banta, Pepper
Make It About Providing Insight and Not a Business
Make it about actually providing some insight, not making business. Contribute to the relevant conversations happening in your field, and shield light over the ones that need to be happening. It takes time and patience, a lot of experience, and the will to keep learning about your field. It is important for people that a thought leader is authentic and leaves the business agenda in the background. Make your niche clear – that’s how you start building a community.
Soji James, 1AND1 Life
Show Yourself as a Listener
Listening to others is a powerful tool for a successful thought leader. Listening to others shows empathy and your ability to lead and care for others. Effective leadership only takes place with understanding different perspectives. Besides understanding others, you become patient with hearing others’ ideas. A fantastic listener helps with productivity, and employees feel inclined to connect more professionally with a leader who listens thoroughly.
Anamika Goyal, Cottage
Establish Your Online Presence on Social Media
First, every thought leader needs to be present on social media in order to demonstrate their thought leadership. If you’re difficult to find, you can’t exhibit thought leadership. Even the best information is useless if you keep it to yourself. Thought leaders are open to imparting their knowledge in approachable ways, such as through social media. Your customer notices when you are active on social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. You can communicate with other industry professionals, but you can also broadcast your own material to a global audience.
However, it’s important to curate your social media platform with your thought leadership in mind. Most people want to follow reputable companies and pages. This is a crucial strategy for maintaining client engagement because 57% of consumers follow brands to learn about new goods or services. You can start from fresh when creating your social media profile, if you’re looking to increase your following as a thought leader.
Maneesh Sharma, Donorbox
Cultivate Curiosity and Ask Questions
As a thought leader, your purpose is to inspire others to act. You are the catalyst that causes a customer to take the next step in their journey, the person that inspires colleagues to take a more innovative approach. It’s a lot of pressure, and can cause you to get strained, stressed, and stuck. The antidote? Curiosity. A thought leader needs a deep knowledge of their audience, industry, and area of expertise. Keep asking questions, and seek to clarify, comprehend, and co-ordinate your research. This will help you to remain confident, resilient, and strong, developing a profound understanding of your purpose. Curiosity turns mistakes into opportunities to learn, inspiring others to take creative risks. Questions also facilitate connections, enabling you to stay present and engaged with colleagues, customers, and content. Curiosity allows you to gain further insights into all aspects of your industry, and to maintain a growth mindset. It’s an essential quality to cultivate.
Mario Cacciottolo, SBO
Get Experts Involved in Your Content Creation
Involve experts in your content creation. Subject matter experts are leaders known within your industry, who can establish credibility with your audience. In order to build trust with your brand, it’s important to involve these experts in the materials you put out. They can provide insights about your product or industry and often can suggest topics that your audience may be interested in. Leveraging experts can help you create authoritative content for blog articles, social media posts and bylines.
Vimla Black Gupta, Ourself
Take Up Active Speaking Engagements and Learn From Others
The best way to demonstrate your thought leadership is to be actively involved in your industry. How do you do that? By speaking regularly at webinars, guest podcasts, conferences etc. (you get the idea). It not only helps you build an audience for yourself, but it also showcases your skill as an industry leader.
If you are new to this and just starting out and don’t know where to start, just look for other thought leaders in your industry. Watch their webinar, podcast, and videos where they have been featured. You can learn a lot from them.
But keep in mind, before you go all out, you have to hone your skills as a thought leader, which means honing your craft. At first, you might face difficulty in finding opportunities. Don’t worry, you can look out for media Outlets like HARO and Terkel to find these kinds of gigs, as many media outlets constantly look for industry experts to speak on their podcasts, webinars etc.
Sangeeta Kumar, Healthcare DMS
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