What is thought leadership and why is it important? You hear the words so often these days – it is sort of the new buzz word in leadership circles. Thought leaders are outstanding in their fields. Much discussion of thought leadership is geared towards companies and their ability to market because of being thought leaders but attention is also being given to individuals as thought leaders. What does it take to be an individual thought leader? What does it mean to you in your career? How can you become a thought leader and be respected for it by your peers and superiors?
Become an authority in your field. Spend whatever time is necessary to learn everything you can about it. Volunteer for experiences that will give you opportunities to learn and get hands-on familiarity with every aspect of it.
Give presentations and talks about your field. Update other people on the newest trends and thinking associated with it. Create powerpoints and write articles so that you have ready access to information to share.
Be visible. Take on roles where you can share your knowledge with other people. Be actively involved as well as talking about it.
Join your professional organization and take leadership roles. Offer to give programs and to be a mentor on the topic.
Provide programs for local service groups like Rotary, Optimists and Lions clubs. Work to spread your name linked to your thought leadership.
Be visionary. Don’t just know about your topic, put it into action. Be proactive about it. Try to figure out how the latest information can be used in your company.
Create a SIG (special interest group) to share your information and gather information and knowledge from other people.
Write a blog and ezine articles. Show that you know what you are talking about and get as many people as possible involved and enthusiastic about your ideas too.
These eight steps will help you increase your visibility as a thought leader and will position you in your company as someone who is innovative and creative as well as being an expert in your field. They will help set you up for attention and possible promotion. So go ahead, make yourself known as an thought leader in your field.
By Nathan Dean