If This is Thought Leadership, Then, Who is a Thought Leader?


I couldn’t believe myself when I saw the results. I ran a poll with a question, — “Which among the following options trouble you?”, in the context of product marketing.

And, ‘To establish as a Thought Leader’ was the second most challenging among the options. This persuaded me to start this 100-day challenge that will help you become a Thought Leader in 100 days.

Among those who responded, I found founders, product managers, and marketers were trying hard to set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd, in two ways. Personal Thought Leadership and Organizational Thought Leadership. This chapter will focus on Personal Thought Leadership, to begin with.

In the digital age of impulsive purchases and instant gratification, thought leadership is abused to be the sum total of the number of likes, followers, shares, comments and so on. To me, they only carry social validation but do not really speak about the authority or thoughts of the leader.

What is Thought Leadership?

To me, a thought is a culminated manifestation of cumulative experiences, beliefs, perspectives, and influences that belong to a person.

To battle contradictions, attract attention, build a voice, establish clout, and create ripples around one’s own thought is Thought Leadership. This is what distinguishes a thought leader from a mere subject-matter expert.

Evolving into a Thought Leader

Who is A Thought Leader?

Look at this list. This is a personal one and need not resonate with others.

Steve Jobs = Design
Michael Phelps = Championship
Seth Godin = Marketing
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie = Feminism
Guy Kawasaki = Evangelism

When I imagine a person listed on the left-hand side, I think of the equivalent words on the right-hand side.

Now find a word for yourself.

You = ?

Honestly, the words associated with them is not because, they told the world how good they are at it, but they showed how to get better with it. It because they found their ‘niche’.

To me, a thought leader is someone who builds a thought that is a culminated manifestation of cumulative experiences, beliefs, perspectives, and influences that belong to that person, and is willing to lead her way to realize it in action.

Step #1 to become a Thought Leader is to ‘find your niche’.

Disclaimer: This is a small chapter from the full course of Thought Leadership. Subscribe to the FREE course to access the full course at once.

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