“I am a product manager. I took this role in the recent past. Now, I see myself as a brand. I need to establish authority over the topics and industries that I deal with everyday. But, it does not seem as easy as it looks. I need to position myself among my peers as a specialist in what I do. What describes me? What makes my peers feel comfortable talking to me about it.”
You could replace the designation with yours in the above story. And, this is probably how you feel when you are trying to build your own thought leadership.
There are two types of Thought Leadership. An individual’s and an organization’s thought leadership. Let’s first focus on the Individual or Personal Thought Leadership.
An Individual’s Thought Leadership helps a person establish authority over a topic that she frequently associates with. This could be in personal capacity, or tied to a brand, a large organization, a community, or an ecosystem.
So, here is a list of activities that you can take up in order to emerge as an individual thought leader. You need to choose what best suits you. The combination of activities you choose is as unique as you are.
Firstly, choose a context. Find out if you are able to the solve the problem of your audience, by doing any of the following. I have mentioned a few categories of people who meet each context.
- Teach a skill that the audience seek.
- Update information that your audience would not find anywhere else
- Develop a taste for Creative work, an eye for analogies
- Help them find resources: people or anything else.
- Help them build connections
- Raise money
- Opinions, reviews, interviews provide information that will save time for audience
- Some Fresh Thinking: I created this because I could find a better word to bucket the titles mentioned here.
The list indicates that building Thought Leadership largely depends on the type of content and information that you are able to provide to your audience. Choose one of them for yourself.
If you need some inspiration, here are a few lists that you could explore further based on your interest and strength.