Are You a Thought Leader? 6 Ways to Tell

Are You a Thought Leader? In every industry, there are people or businesses we think of as being thought leaders. These people and organizations are the ones that you check on regularly with regard to innovation, market challenges, and new initiatives.

Being considered a thought leader in your industry is certainly an advantageous position to have, as it helps with lead generation, sales, recruitment and retention, new business opportunities, and more.

6 Ways to Determine if You’re Considered a Thought Leader

Currently, there are over one million people who have the words “thought leader” somewhere in their LinkedIn profile (SurveyMonkey). While sometimes this thought leadership position will come completely organically, many times, it’s part of an overall sales strategy. Below are six ways to determine if you or your organization are currently considered thought leaders:

  1. Do others in your industry regularly come to you to seek your advice? Whether formally or informally, are you or your company the one others in your industry look to when they need ideas on the important issues?
  2. Have you been asked to speak or write on issues for your industry? Often, the thought leaders in an industry are the ones you see speaking at conferences or writing in trade magazines. 
  3. Does your opinion or view of a situation shape the conversation in your industry? Do you find that your opinion or your company’s opinion is supported by others in your industry? A thought leader’s opinion will shape the conversation on important issues.
  4. Do you find that you’re one step ahead of others in your industry? The thought leader is out on the leading edge. And, in most cases, this position allows for greater and greater success. Others in the industry see these leading edge moves and follow as they can.
  5. Do you do things that make your competitors see you as a leader? Thought leaders do things that are typically good for their industry. They think bigger than their own situation and seem to always have a different (and sometimes bigger) view of what’s going on and what needs to be done. 
  6. When there is a new idea, do others come to you to learn your opinion? Thought leaders are always the ones people turn to when a new idea is breaking. Do people seek out your opinion when someone has a new idea in your industry?

If establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry is important to you and your company, then start by building a plan to make it happen. Think about who you will be talking to in your industry and how you will communicate and distribute your thoughts and ideas. Thought leadership has many fantastic business advantages and can be accomplished when you have a plan and a commitment to working that plan day in and day out.

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*Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in December 2018 and has since been updated.