Thought Leaders Share the Advice That Has Made Them Successful

Kimberly Forsythe

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Stop letting yourself hold yourself back!Pixabay

They are authors, speakers, entrepreneurs. Some are a part of prestigious, well-known organizations. Others have built their own businesses from scratch. They come from all walks of life, but they share one remarkable talent: innovative thinking. They've all asked themselves the same questions you've asked yourself at some point or another.

  • Where do I go next?
  • How do I become who I want to be?
  • What does it take for me to succeed?

And, while each of their paths has diverged in different directions, they all have one piece of advice to share. Whether you seek to level up in your current career or branch out into a new one, a necessary skill to develop is thought leadership. As you continue along your journey to becoming a thought leader, it helps to get insights from those who have already been there, done that. They've followed this advice, made it their own, and used it to achieve success. Their lessons are hard-won. So, I asked them two simple (but not easy) questions:

  1. What advice would you give to people who are looking to become thought leaders in their industry?
  2. What do you wish you had known when you started your journey?

Here's a collection of advice from 61 emerging and established thought leaders on their best advice for those who strive to be thought leaders in their field:

1.) Alex Shute - Editor-in-Chief of FaithGiant

Practice participative leadership. Participative leadership is also known as democratic leadership, in which all members of the organization work together to make decisions. It is a style of leadership where everyone works together for the decision-making process and addresses company issues, sometimes employing an internal vote to address problems or challenges. Participative leadership works best in environments that have lower pressure and are not usually prone to quick turnarounds and need-it-yesterday projects.

Additionally, creative environments can benefit from a participative leader, where a group approach to brainstorming can create unique opportunities for problem-solving. Since I'm managing remote workers, I include my employees in my business by giving them key responsibilities and autonomy to make decisions. Another important leadership skill I’ve learned going into 2022 is to steer clear from micromanaging. When a leader micromanages their team, it can be seen in productivity levels. Team members tend to be more efficient when they can work in the manner that best suits their particular skills.

Rather than micro-managing individual tasks, I have found that it works much better to give remote workers measurable responsibilities and allow them to accomplish those tasks in a timely manner. It is important to give remote employees the resources they need to successfully carry out their work. And while micromanaging can wreak havoc on employee engagement and overall happiness, it can also keep leaders from realizing their full potential as well. Rather than focusing on tasks that make the best use of their expert skill levels, they are focusing on things that they've already decided to delegate.

2.) Kevin Kelly - Kevin Kelly Unlimited

Very simple - you aren't communicating a message ....you are the message. That is the bar you must reach.

3.) Jeremy Hulls - Senior Editor of Family Destinations Guide

The advice I often hear among leadership gurus often revolves around the leader, and less about the follower. You always hear about being confident or being positive. All of these are good, but I believe they neglect the leader's followers. You need people to follow you in order to be a captain. And if the advice only revolves around projecting an image of a strong leader, without actually examining why people want to follow leaders in the first place. No one would want to follow you.With that said, I know a skill that focuses on the feelings and values of the followers. And that is storytelling.

In other words, you need to be able to narrate captivating stories for you to charm your followers.Together with our current information age, I think leaders who have a knack for storytelling have a crucial edge over those who don't. I say this because people who are good at crafting captivating narratives are effective at sparking motivation from someone. They are effective at seducing clients or customers, or enticing inspiration from their subordinates. And in the digital world, it is so easy to share our stories with the world. It is in our nature to be captivated by stories. Our brains simplify the complicated world to a simple, easy-to-understand story. And those who understand the mechanism of our brain, have a marketable edge over those who don't.

4.) Scott McKinney - Head of Marketing at Debt Bombshell

Be at the cutting edge of your expertise. If you want to build a reputation in your industry, be confident that you are skilled and have learned a lot from all your experiences. When you know your niche, and your skills are of quality, you can build a crowd that follows you and create a balance between your niche and passion. Stick with one niche. Going beyond without even mastering or being certain with your industry, will bring you nowhere. Be the best and train yourself to become better at it every day.

5.) Morshed Alam - Founder & Editor at Savvy Programmer

1. Identify the problems your target audience faces and find a way to help them solve those problems 2. Create content around these topics that are both informative and engaging

3. Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., to share this information with others within your industry or outside of it

4. Be responsive when contacted by people who have questions about what you're doing - not only are they potential customers but also influencers who can promote your product/service on their blog/social media pages for free! The more connections you make through networking events, conferences, etc., the wider reach will be yours one day!

I wish I had known that it's okay if my journey takes longer than expected. I think this is the most important piece of advice anyone starting on this lifestyle can offer themselves or their loved ones. We often get so wrapped up in our plans, and what we want to achieve in such a short amount of time, that we forget about everything else: living one day at a time; appreciating every moment; being happy with who we are today no matter how small or big those moments might be... And before you know it years have passed by and life has moved on without any intention on your part! It doesn't mean that dream was wrong or even unattainable--it just means you're human.

6.) Eduarda de Paula - CEO of Coupon Hunt

Establishing yourself as a thought leader who pushes innovation and discusses new ideas within an industry is a worthwhile and ultimately profitable goal for any businessperson. It can raise credibility and make your brand more visible on multiple platforms. Thought leaders are well-respected, popular, and can create more connections. They are admired by customers and industry experts alike. But becoming a thought leader cannot happen overnight.

It takes a bunch of work and detailed planning to put yourself in a position to earn distinction as a go-to authority on industry developments. Gaining the loyalty and respect of others takes time and dedication. It goes beyond simply comprehending; you have to put yourself out there and attract an audience to your expertise. Once you reach the summit, you have to present new ideas consistently to keep your status within the industry.

7.) Aseem Kishore - Founder of Help Desk Geek

To be an effective thought leader, my advice would be to actively seek out learning activities. As a leader, your work is never done - which is why you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn and enhance your knowledge. Being complacent is the biggest enemy of your leadership skills! Therefore, be proactive!

8.) Sam Browne - Founder & Creative Director of Findaband

Get Published

Getting published frequently goes a long way in maintaining visibility for both yourself and your business. You should also develop a strong social media presence where you can share your insights and educate others. To be able to enlighten and influence others, you need to be well-learned in your field and understand the working principles that'll help others grow and succeed in the field. When I started my journey as a CEO, I cared very little about my online presence and establishing a brand image for my business. But I'd definitely say that they're the first things any entrepreneur should consider before launching their business.

9.) Kristin Marquet Chester - Founder + Creative Director of Marquet Media, LLC and Writer for Forbes and Entrepreneur

Determine what makes you and your small business or startup newsworthy to secure publicity. Before you pitch any story, you will need to determine what makes your business newsworthy. A newsworthy story can be anything from a prestigious new hire, opening a new office in a new city, releasing a book, taking a controversial stand, or hosting an event. Announcing the launch or the release of something can be considered newsworthy. Just keep in mind why the media should care about this launch and how this angle will be of interest to whatever outlet you’re pitching. My best piece of PR advice is to consider how your story will help the media or be of interest to the media’s audience/viewership.

10.) Shannon Peel - Founder of MarketAPeel

There is a five-step storytelling funnel I use to help my clients build an audience.

  1. Awareness: Define the story to tell on social media.
  2. Credibility: Find PR opportunities to build trust.
  3. Discover: Create a broadcast platform for people to discover what you know.
  4. Action: A place where your story is concise, clear, and links together
  5. Engage: Your website needs an opt-in for email or better yet, community-building features so you can engage with followers to make them fans. There needs to be a flow plan in place to ensure people can move from one part to the next of your brand story.

11.) Matt Brown - CEO at Bonsai

Thought leaders are the people we know and trust to lead us through the storm of information at least for the particular field or topic, we trust them for. Here are some tips to become an effective thought leader in your industry:

  • Define and refine your area of expertise - Being a thought leader requires a narrowed focus on a specific area.
  • Build your background and continuing education - You must invest time and money into your education by going to seminars and conferences.
  • Find the best platform to share your message - The trick is you only need to be good at one. Instead of trying to be average at all, dive deep and select the best platform for your message and skills.
  • Become an author and a guest poster - Adding continual content in your area of expertise gets your name out there and begins to establish your authority
  • Produce high-quality content that helps your audience - Finding worthy content will be addressed with the diligence you put into your education on the topic. However, be aware that your information always needs to be valuable and helpful for your audience.

12.) Ted Mosby - Founder of CamperAdvise

Thought leadership isn't something you can learn in a day or two. So here is some of my advice. To establish yourself as a trusted person in any profession, it takes more than one blog, social media post, or networking event. Learn as much as you possibly can about your field.

You must remain on top of what's going on in every area – some more quickly than others – in order to discuss and remark on trends as a thought leader. Another one that you should never forget is to listen to others. Because they never stop learning, thought leaders don't have all of the solutions. The ability to learn from others in your profession is an excellent method to stay connected and enhance your knowledge of a subject.

13.) Melanie Marten - Founder of PRontheGo and Forbes Council Member

Establishing yourself as an authority in your field takes time and effort. Although everyone seems to be looking for the next viral hit that will catapult them into success, brand equity can't be achieved on the fly, and thought leadership is about building your personal brand. To begin your thought leadership journey, you should take every possible opportunity to publish or speak. This could be on LinkedIn with posts, in trade media with guest articles, on podcasts as a guest, or even as a host if you decide to start your own podcast. Consistency is key, and the more publications you achieve on different channels, the greater your visibility will be.

14.) Denise Dorman - WriteBrain Media

1) Identify what you do or think differently (your USP, or unique selling proposition) from everyone else in your genre.

2) Find a good ghostwriter and write a book exploiting that USP/difference. It no longer matters to morning show producers and journalists if you self-publish, hybrid-publish, or get published by a major publishing house.

3) Find a good publicist to work with you on booking radio, TV, podcasts and public speaking engagements before and after your book is published.

4) Be blogging the entire time on your topic of expertise on a site like Medium.com, which is read by journalists looking for people to cover. Be sure you're hashtagging your topic the right way to drive the right traffic to your blog.

5) Use email marketing to grow your audience - start small with a service like Mail Chimp, which is free for a few thousand users.

6) Write Op-Eds to major trade journals or respected magazines or newspapers.

7) Petition your state legislature to name an honorary state day after you or your business.

8) Ensure your LinkedIn profile is complete and maximized to align with a thought leader.

9) Establish yourself on Quora.com and answer questions thoughtfully and include your links to grow your exposure.

9) Start posting short, organic videos just shot on your mobile phone on TikTok about your industry. Trust me, your peers ARE on there.

15.) Scott Kilmer - CEO of Car Windshields

Being a thought leader is a fundamental part of democracy. You think of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and Henry Kissinger and you realize that thinkers tend to have an enormous influence on the course of humanity. Being a thought leader does not come naturally, it stems from the ability to break down volumes of data and is very particular with how they sift through it.

My advice to anyone who wants to become a thought leader is to read about the industry you are in. Read outside your industry too and form your truths. Your creed will carry you forward once established from reading. It is not a race, it is a marathon. It might take twenty years from today to make a dent. Don't work against that fact, work with it.

16.) Jonathan Zacharias - Founder of GR0

My advice for those looking to become thought leaders is simple: continue honing your craft. Thought leadership cannot be achieved without becoming a subject matter expert in your specific field. As such, consider first being the best you can be, and only then should you consider communicating such lessons to others.

17.) David Farkas - Founder & CEO of The Upper Ranks

Create a plan for thought leadership strategy

Begin by building a long-term thought leadership strategy that will support your company goals and become part of your marketing plan in order to achieve a place at the top of the thought leader bracket. This plan will serve as the foundation for establishing thought leadership in your sector. A few articles every few months will not enough. It involves careful preparation, time, patience, and competence in a variety of marketing and communications disciplines, including strategy, branding, public relations, social media, digital marketing, and SEO, to mention a few.

Take a step back from your business plans

As a thought leader, you must grasp the issues that affect your audience and provide relevant, instructional advice based on these concerns. Although participating in charity events and source interviews may not instantly enhance your profit line, the long-term benefits can be helpful to you, your business, and your audience. Demonstrating to your audience that you are a current, well-rounded expert will help you improve your reputation and credibility as a thought leader over time.

Maintain Consistency

Consistency is essential for being a thought leader in your sector. Maintain a consistent flow of content production while you're just starting out, whether it's through blogs or a podcast. Determine which industry blogs you can contribute to on a regular basis, or start a podcast with weekly episodes. The trick is to be consistent.

18.) Chris M. Walker - Superstar SEO

PR and media outreach is an important part of thought leadership. Regardless of the value you can provide, it would be useless if it doesn’t reach your target niche audience. You have to stand out among the crowd, and practically speaking, that means you have to be visible in well-respected media outlets as a vocal spokesperson for your industry. In the day-to-day, this means constantly putting yourself out there and giving the media the information that they need about your niche. The key here is to just stay niche-focused and relevant. As long as you are being authentic and as long as you stick to your true expertise, you’re going to do just fine.

19.) Isla Sibanda - Cybersecurity Specialist at Privacy Australia

I started my career in the cybersecurity division a few years ago and since then I have developed my skills in the industry exponentially. Establishing my career included taking over a variety of roles. My experiences have allowed me to come across various unique scenarios, through which I gathered a niche insight into what it means to be working in the tech industry as a business leader.

This would be my advice for people who are looking to become thought leaders in their industry.The best thing that you can do for your career in this century is to take maximum advantage of the people who are already at the top of their game in your industry. Make conscious efforts to reach out to them, try and get in touch with them through the various avenues at your disposal today. We have platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Twitter, incubation centers, and accelerators, all designed to help you create a circle with the most skilled individuals in your area of work. Talk to them about your passions, big ideas, and what's keeping you up at night. Have informed discussions and come up with innovative solutions to problems that you feel the world is facing today.

Remember there is no substitute for the knowledge these leaders have gathered in their experiences in the industry. Combine their information with your work and you will have a superpower at your disposal to become a thought leader.

When I went down the pathway of creating my own business, there were times when I felt as if I did not deserve this opportunity. Any success that would come my way would seem like it was not meant for me, or as if I was not performing well enough to have such achievements. I wish I had known about the concept of imposter syndrome at that time. I would have learned how to appreciate the successes in my business without the guilt of justifying them.

20.) Helga Turner - Head of Marketing Department at Texas Movers

If you want to remain competitive in your industry, you need to be one of these thought leaders.Thought leadership is a critical aspect of marketing that must not be overlooked. Thought leaders are those individuals and companies that are at the top of their game in the industry. They not only have a great reputation to uphold, but they also know how to develop and maintain it.

Everyone needs to be recognized as an expert in their field. If you are not thought of as an expert, it can actually hurt your business. You will appear less reliable, less credible, and less trustworthy in the eyes of your customer. They are generally sought out by their peers and the media for insight. The thought leaders' ability to see trends before they happen, or be able to provide solutions that address issues before they arise, is highly valued by companies.

21.) Paige Arnof-Fenn - Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls and Writer for Forbes

I started a global branding and digital marketing firm 20 years ago. Today thought leadership is really about being an Influencer with more confidence in trusted content, friends, and influencers than advertising -- the world has been moving this way for years with people seeking their friends’ and influencers' opinions and advice online on what to buy, where to go, and what to do more than a paid ad or fancily packaged content.

Customers/clients are savvy today they are happy to buy what they want and need but they do not like to be sold things. Curated content and ideas from a trusted source beat paid content every time. Partnering and building relationships with the right influencers with content that is co-created helps brands scale and grow faster and amplify and boost their message. Mainstream news outlets and fact-checkers are struggling to compete with the reach of influencers, celebrities, and politicians with large social media followings who are proving to be key distributors of disinformation relating to coronavirus. The stakes are just a lot higher now because people are getting sick and dying, this is not just about Kim Kardashian West building her fan base or Kylie Jenner launching a new lip kit anymore.

Influencers today have to acknowledge that now things are different so we need to communicate in a way that will give our audiences better focus, helping them to create a bridge from today to the future. We need to communicate in a way that combines information and need, synthesizing feelings and facts. I feel leaders have a tremendous responsibility because never before has communications had the power to help society in the way that it does right now. Words are part of the healing process and we can see which brands and leaders are doing the best job every day with messages that touch not only the mind but also the heart and soul.

There has never been a more important time to provide accurate, empathetic communication with transparency, truthfulness, and timeliness. Thought leaders today must be authentic, confident, empathetic, provide substance, be relevant, and have all the qualities we need right now. Whether you are a leader in B2B or B2C every business is P2P and connecting on a personal level is what matters most. Successful leaders understand their product or service is about more than the transaction, they are in the relationship business. People connect with brands they know, like, and trust, and customer loyalty can change but if they have a great experience and relationship with your brand you can keep them by staying in communication.

The most effective influencers understand their role. I think thought leadership is the new PR and leveraging it is the best foundation for a link-building strategy by using social media to build your brand. Activities like hosting webinars and podcasts, speaking at online and offline conferences, writing articles, building your following on social media all contribute to increasing your awareness with potential customers and building your credibility with a larger community. Instead of trying to start my own blog or newsletter, I have had success contributing regularly to existing well-trafficked blogs in my industry or newsletters of like-minded organizations reaching the same target audience as yours. I make sure to put my URL or contact info on it so they can find me and follow up if they are interested. When your articles or talks become available online, I also send them out via social media to all my friends, followers, and contacts.

Don’t let social media drive you crazy, you do not need to be everywhere, it does not matter which platform you choose just pick one or 2 that are authentic to you. It should look and sound like you and the brand you have built. Whether yours is polished or more informal, chatty or academic, humorous or snarky, it is a way for your personality to come through. Everyone is not going to like you or hire you but for the ones who would be a great fit for you make sure they feel and keep a connection and give them a reason to remember you so that when they need your help they think of you first. For professional service firms like mine, LinkedIn is a priority. If your customers are not looking for you on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram then find the platforms where you can stand out.

22.) Anthony King - CEO of Transport Executive

Thought leaders are experts in their fields who are sources of inspiration for the company or group. They are trusted and reliable sources which inspire people to use their creative ideas. However, they are very different from influencers since they focus on knowledge and expertise rather than followers. To become a thought leader, you need to have a clear conscience regarding the industry you want to fall under. You will also need certain qualities, including hearing people out. Such qualities are essential to succeed as a thought leader. As a thought leader, many benefits come your way. From sales boosts to your company’s growth and value rising, a thought leader largely contributes towards a company’s revenue as a whole. Personal satisfaction is also on the list of benefits provided.

23.) Tyler Wall - President & CEO of SD Bullion

Stop talking about yourself. Talk about your topic instead. When you talk about yourself too much, people think you’re pushing your products/services rather than caring about the subject matter itself. This erosion of trust can negatively impact how your content is received and may even give you a bad reputation within your industry.Your goal when creating content in your area of expertise is to provide value, contribute to the industry as a whole, and offer your insights. That’s the best way to become a thought leader.

24.) Paul Sherman - Chief Marketing Officer at Olive

The key to becoming a thought leader is to choose one, specific area of expertise to focus on. Make sure that it’s a topic that will remain relevant for years, if not decades to come so that you don’t become obsolete when the fad passes.You don't necessarily have to be an expert in the area right away. Instead, it's important to choose a topic that you truly care about and that you can build your expertise over time.

25.) Samantha Odo - Licenced Real Estate Expert at Precondo

The most important component of being a leader is to put your colleagues' well-being first. I've seen the pandemic's devastating consequences on the people around me, including an increase in people who are worried, depressed, or have low self-esteem. As a result, it's vital that employees be given the chance to share their experiences and receive assistance in doing so. Your team will help you build a terrific brand with a solid foundation. As a result, trust and communication are crucial cornerstones for any relationship.

26.) Nathan Hughes - Marketing Director at Diggity Marketing

Thought Leaders are the people who hold expertise in a specific niche or industry. You can't create thought leadership overnight. It takes time and effort. Apart from expertise, informable insights and valuable perspective are the other two elements that make a thought leader.The first step in becoming a thought leader is to clarify a specific niche and area of expertise. Individuals should clearly define and stick to their expertise. Kicking in every direction often leads to a dead end. After specifying the area of expertise, individuals should expand their networks. Individuals should promote themselves on various platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Quora, and Reddit.

27.) Olga Voronkova - Marketing Director at KeyUA

A thought leader is someone who leads the conversation and is innovative. For someone, who is planning to get into this field, it is important to be accessible. You should also be humble to the clients, this helps in building a reputation and network. Never stopping to create content consistently is another tip to be a good thought leader.

28.) Shiv Gupta, CEO of Incrementors Digital Marketing

Pitch Yourself to the Media

Nothing prevents you from submitting pitches to media sources. If there is a story about your sector in the news right now, let them know you're available to speak as an expert. Provide them with polished information so they don't have to conduct their own research. It may not always work, but at the end of the day, you may find yourself in front of cameras and a larger audience.

Back-Up Your Thesis With Data

No article is complete unless it has current, trustworthy data that validates the piece's argument. Relevant and fascinating facts, paired with excellent narrative (see below), will captivate the reader and bring your concepts to life. If corporate policy restricts the publication of specific statistics (such as sales, profitability, or the number of consumers), write about how the figures have risen in percentage terms. Customer surveys are another excellent technique for substantiating the results and solutions presented in your article.

29.) Bridget Chebo, Director of Customer Success at We Are Working

Find your niche. You won't become a thought leader on something that already has a wide range of successful thought leadership.Become an expert and keep learning - things change quickly around here, as Dorothy Gale once said. You can be relevant today and tone-deaf tomorrow. I wish I had started speaking up a lot sooner and a lot more frequently. Don't wait. Start building your brand now. Even if you're not ready, use what you learn and your early mistakes to your advantage.

30.) Mike Robbins - Author & Speaker

I started my business as a speaker, coach, and ultimately an author, back in 2001 when I was 26 years old. On the one hand, I think I would have wanted to know how hard it would be to create a business speaking, coaching, and writing…although in some ways, it might have been good that I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, because I may not have had the courage to really do it.

It would have been helpful for me to know that as important as it is to have valuable ideas and content to share, as well as the written and verbal communication skills to share it effectively, having sales and marketing skills, as well as technology and business skills, are equally if not more important.There is a lot of rejection in this business and a lot of feedback. It is humbling and can be hard to navigate at times…and, I love it.

The world of thought leadership back in 2001 was very different than it is in 2022. For someone to become a thought-leader in their industry, they have to have some real wisdom and experience, to begin with, of course. Once they have this, it is important to start sharing this wisdom in whatever ways and on whatever platforms they can. Some of the ways they can do this are:

  • Speaking at events – both in-person and virtually
  • Writing articles and blog posts
  • Posting on social media
  • Being interviewed on podcasts
  • Creating a podcast and/or blog
  • Doing media interviews
  • Doing a TEDx talk
  • Writing a book

Some of these things, like posting on social media or writing blog posts, can be easier than others, like speaking at events, doing media interviews, or writing a book. While thought leadership is about having real knowledge to share and sharing it…it is also about having the right platform to share it with and an audience of people who want to hear what you have to tell them.

31.) Sandeep Kashyap- Founder & CEO of ProofHub

Thought leadership is a process that takes time to develop. To establish yourself as a trusted person in any profession, it takes much more than a single blog post, social media post, or networking event. Thought leadership is achieved by a combination of expertise, insight, and a unique perspective. You must gain experience and establish a reputation through time.

Experience takes time, patience, hard effort, and a willingness to listen and learn from others. Leaders who can observe and connect information from a variety of sources are better positioned to develop ideas that are informed by market demands. Credibility is a combination of skill, humility, honesty, and an understanding of the human side of leadership.

32.) Laura Jimenez - Owner at Ishine365

Always stay calm: In my experience, the skills that the leaders need to develop in 2022 in order to be successful is to stay calm. It is one of the most difficult skills is to remain calm under moments of high stress. The best leaders experience this always, regardless of whether it is in sports, military, business, or otherwise. Stress and pressure can cause the strongest person to react with raw emotion when put in a corner and great leaders never seem to lose their cool when under challenging situations. As humans, we all exhibit emotional behavior and being able to have a degree of control over the fight or flight auto-response truly separates great leaders from others.

Take a start: I planned and planned for years until circumstances forced me to Just start. I wish I had just jumped in feet first immediately. Yes, I've learned as I have gone, but you will never be 100% ready or 100% prepared. Get as close to ready as you feel you can be, and go for it!

33.) Steve Anevski - Co-Founder of Up Shift Work

One thing I wished I knew when starting my journey was always to trust my gut. A lot of people discouraged me and never believed in what I wanted to achieve. The lack of support became difficult until I found a group of like-minded individuals. We would boost each other's morale on bad days and together strived towards success. This helped me get past my need to rely on people who never understood my dreams.Becoming a thought leader takes a lot of time and effort. But if you have already developed the art of bringing something new to the table, then you are on the right track.

This is because articulating your visions into words is a tough job. You need to always think out of the box to show that you care. Being compassionate can be difficult, especially when there are many stressors around. So, motivating yourself to rise up to the task helps churn out real success stories. It does make a difference, even if it doesn’t feel like that at a certain point. So, never be afraid to show vulnerability, it sets you apart from other thought leaders.

34.) Matthew Kutz, Ph.D., ATC - Researcher on Thought Leadership

First, thought leadership is not about how many followers you have on social media, etc. Rather, it is the contribution you make to the industry. Thought leaders are busy creating thoughts and ideas… And not overwhelmed or distracted by social media, which is so many of them do not have huge followings.

35.) Irene McConnel - Managing Director of Arielle Executive and Member of Forbes Coaches Council

When I started this journey, I wish I knew how important it was to sometimes take a step back from the business agenda. It’s okay if you don’t follow a set schedule sometimes because you are trying to understand the issues that impact your audience. After all, the latter is way more essential.You must show the people that you are a present, well-rounded professional. This will steadily build your reputation and credibility as a thought leader. A thought leader is someone who offers unique guidance to people on the basis of their expertise.

They inspire a sense of innovation and creativity in those who are around them. My advice to those who want to become a thought leader is to figure out your area of expertise and stick to it.You must understand what you’re good at and then be clear and consistent with your insights in that field. Instead of having a finger in every pie, focus on what you know best and hone in on that skill repeatedly. This way, you’ll establish some credibility within the industry. It also prevents you from being all over the place.

36.) Stephen Curry - Chief Executive Officer of CocoSign

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, just find simpler ways to provide the valuable knowledge out there. An explanation of the most basic strategies - how they work, how to implement them, related to your niche with just graphs, diagrams, and infographics works just fine as long as you are providing authenticated knowledge. Before putting your knowledge out there you have to believe in that too which demonstrates that you really care about what you do.

37.) Jordon Scrinko - Founder & Marketing Director of Precondo

To achieve a place at the top of the thought leader rankings, I believe you should first build a long-term thought leadership strategy that will support your company goals and become a component of your marketing strategy. This method will serve as the foundation for establishing thought leadership in your field.It won't be enough to publish a few articles every few months. Strategy, branding, public relations, social media, digital marketing, and SEO, to mention a few, all require careful preparation, time, patience, and experience in the many areas of marketing and communications.

38.) Benjamin Talin - Founder of MoreThanDigital

Actually, there aren't many ways how to become a thought leader. In fact, it is all about expressing your expertise but also helping others. By communicating a lot, publishing articles, contributing to books, and also sharing your knowledge, you build your audience. With the audience and the content you then gradually build your credibility and with this credibility, you become a thought leader.

39.) Kimberly Friedmutter - Hypnotherapist

As thought leaders, we are at the best time in history, right now. Thought leaders are heard, sought out, and given space to share, emit and transform. This wasn't always the case and we are enjoying an all-time high, so enjoy the attention to thought leadership.

1) Create a niche - Know your brand and your specialty.

2) Cater to your reader/viewer - Understand what is transformative about your message and who you are transforming.

3) Flex with the times - If you are an effective thought leader, you are in front of the curve, creating the curve, rather than following the curve. Flexing out of the norm is pertinent to serve your followers, the best.

4) Document your thoughts - I wrote a bestseller using this bit of advice. As a thought leader, you are continually coming up with amazing epiphanies and ah-ha moments. It's unrealistic to believe (and you will) that your memory can keep up with your creativity . . . it can't and it won't. So while you're channeling greatness, you're flushing opportunity if you don't document your thoughts for use later.

5) Exercise compassion - We are looked up to differently than most and therefore must be mindful of the importance of kindness. I was disappointed many times when I encountered other thought leaders (won't name names) that were rude and disconnected from the material they emitted into the common marketplace. It's disheartening when I hear others speak of the disappointment they felt and how damaging the encounter was to their self-esteem.

6) Remember your humanity - being revered and adored by those you have served is only as good as you are human. No one listens to a tyrant.

40.) Fred Stuvek, Jr. - Consultant, Speaker, Author

Being a thought leader is not a position or a job. It is not your place to call yourself a thought leader, which is a pretentious, arrogant, and empty term. Parenthetically, being a thought leader is something that other people may view you as, based on your accomplishments. It is not something one should call themself. For example, Socrates, who saw himself as a teacher did not designate himself as a thought leader, but over time, people admired the way he conveyed his thoughts and saw him as a leader.

So, in that sense, Socrates was one of the first and widely known thought leaders.However, today the term thought leader is bandied about and used quite a bit, especially on social media. It is very easy to do and can be pulled off in a few minutes. You simply put it on your profile, click once, and with little to no vetting involved you are suddenly a thought leader. The overwhelming majority of people who coin the phrase and declare themselves thought leaders are actually in sales. They initially put up a good front by using buzz words and jargon and likely will not have a range and depth of experience or success in the area they are touting. This shortfall in accomplishments and attributes is usually disguised through a plethora of blogs, articles, media, and even a high follower account on a social platform that is meant to verify and authenticate.

In due time, the self-appointed thought leader will ultimately pivot towards the ask or the sale. This could be in several forms such as coaching, consulting, speaking, books, courses, etc., with the common denominator being that there is always an accompanying price. My recommendation to anyone who has visions of becoming a “thought leader” is to not even go there. Labeling yourself a thought leader is seen as self-aggrandizing and egotistical. It means little to nothing to most people. Instead, try to be the best at what you do, and become an accomplished and respected expert in your field with a solid track record. Continue to improve, setting the bar a bit higher each time, and after a while, you achieve the recognition you deserve. However, earn it through doing something, let it come from others, and do not bestow it upon yourself.

41.) Harriet Chan - Co-Founder & Marketing Director at CocoFinder

My advice for anyone looking to become a thought leader or advance their thought leadership efforts in a niche industry is to get in the conversation. While the previous belief was that thought leaders only start a conversation, the dynamism of the internet now requires thought leaders to be part of a convo. Choose topics and relevant questions in your industry to reply to each day. Moreover, ensure that you target the trending topics that can get the most traction to your profile when you respond.

42.) Tom Ross - Author & Visionary Advocate for AI Rights

One cannot authentically set out to be a Thought Leader. To earn that title requires enough courage to speak up against the crowd and/or conventional wisdom. And that desire to speak up must be driven by empathy. That's how you know you're listening to an authentic Thought Leader.

43.) Yazan Sehwail - CEO and Co-Founder of Userpilot

If you want to be a thought leader in 2022, I hope you are using TikTok. It is the most effective platform for attempting to position yourself as the centerpiece in any niche and allows you to instantly speak with your audience face-to-face. Even further, TikTok is the hottest platform going right now and there’s so much engagement happening each minute. If you create consistent, quality content and target it toward the niche you want to specialize in, then you’ll have a good chance of being noticed, having others engage with your posts, and (eventually) becoming a thought leader in your space.

44.) David Attard - Digital Consultant and Web Designer at CollectiveRay

As a thought leader myself, I believe that no matter where you are and who you are, it is essential that you stay consistent in anything you do. When you are beginning your journey towards becoming a thought leader, consistency sets you apart from other people. Staying consistent helps people understand that you are passionate about perfection and it would bring them to trust you.Apart from this, realize that using your ears and your heart above anything else helps. Listen to people, take in their criticisms and corrections, work on expert advice, pull out the old leaves, and never give up. When I started as a thought leader, I regret not staying consistent enough. I always slacked off, thinking I had a lot of time before me. But growing up the ladder, I realized that no time is ever enough if you want to be “the thought leader” the young generation looks up to.

45.) Carol Gardner - Content Editor at Defending Digital

You must be passionate about what you're doing in order to become a thought leader in your profession. Everything will flow effortlessly if you enjoy what you're doing and you'll be on your way to the leadership position you desire.Concentrate on my job and never let anyone's opinion come to me, which is something I wish I had known when I first started my path. Preceded by being extremely sensitive to negative comments about myself, I was always on the receiving end. They did not help me at all, so I stayed focused and ignored whatever they said or did to keep myself from becoming distracted. I have goals that I must meet. Now that I am the leader, everyone complimented me and I believe that's my biggest accomplishment so far.

46.) Petra Zink - Author & Consultant at ImpaCCCt

This is a topic that I’ve specialized in as I struggled with it for so long.However, nowadays the only way to stand out in this more competitive knowledge economy we live in is by being seen as the Trusted Authority which means being seen as a thought leader in the industry.The biggest takeaway would be to become the translator of 2 worlds, meaning:

  • Learning how you can make your area of expertise relevant to your decision-makers.
  • Thought leaders simplify what they know and communicate it through visuals, stories, case studies, metaphors, etc. rather than technical jargon.

47.) Sergey Nikonenko - Chief Operating Officer at Purrweb

1. Never stop learning- It’s never too much to learn something, so continue to learn about your industry and area of expertise, set a goal to become an expert of experts. It’s consistently evolving and to the extent you can stay one step ahead of trends, you’ll be able to better position yourself.

2. Be humble- You should remember this, it’s not always about you, so do what you can do to shine a light on others, interact, help your employee with their issues, and don’t forget to upgrade their skills.

3. Listen and don’t concentrate on yourself- It’s important sometimes to remain humble enough to listen to others, true thought leaders understand and listen to each other’s stories, learning from others in your field is a great way to expand your knowledge. Self-promotion does not bring you to the spotlight as a thought leader, center your focus on bringing value to your audience, sharing your ideas, and showing them how helpful the information is.

48.) Mo Mulla - Founder of Parental Questions

When I started my journey, I wish I had known that it would take a lot of hard work and dedication. It's not going to be easy, but it's worth it in the end. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort to achieve your goals. And don't forget to enjoy the journey along the way, there's no point in working hard if you're not going to have any fun!If you want to become a thought leader in your industry, start building a personal brand.

Be vocal on social media and share your expert insights with your audience. Write blog posts, articles, and white papers that demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. And always be willing to help others, offer advice and share your wisdom whenever you can. By becoming a thought leader in your field, you'll position yourself as an authority figure and build the trust of your audience.

49.) Robert Welch - CEO of Projector1

If you're an aspiring thought leader in your industry, read on for some helpful advice! Choose a meaningful subject matter to write. Make sure to find a preferred niche, and write specifically about that topic. If you want to become a thought leader in your industry, make sure to contribute something worthy of discussion. Curate the content that's relevant to your subject matter. Do not be afraid of arguments - no one can change their minds unless exposed to different opinions!

50.) Justin Berg - CEO of CV Maker

I wish I had known the importance of in-person networking when I started my own journey. This is an often-neglected activity that is actually critical for you as a budding thought leader.In-person networking helps you collect new ideas and build your confidence. By interviewing others and getting others to interview you, you can considerably enhance your understanding of various topics and industries.

My advice for people looking to become thought leaders in their industry is to become a social butterfly. Pick your best social media platforms and be social every day. Don’t just use social media in your free time - instead, inculcate it into your lifestyle. Post engaging content for your audience, and encourage discussions on them.Also, make sure you regularly engage with your audience. Don’t make being a thought leader just about yourself. Drop likes and comments on other people’s posts on social media as well. Your audience will love you for being an active member of their community.

51.) Julian Goldie - CEO of Goldie Agency

1. Engage on social media:Social media can help you amplify your thought leadership efforts and grow your following. So, build a good image through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Apart from sharing post relevant and insightful commentaries, you can also broadcast live videos to reach your audience instantaneously.

2. Foster a culture of trust. A culture of trust relies on the belief that no one will be humiliated for speaking up with ideas, concerns, or mistakes. So that my team members will feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other. To me, our success depends on how supported and safe my employees feel. Besides, employees would feel appreciated when you take time to listen, gather feedback and let them know they are heard. You can consider conference calls with large groups, but I recommend a one-on-one meeting, just make it as comfortable as possible. It is a meeting, but do not make it a meeting, make it like a normal conversation.

52.) Peter Xing - Digital & Data Solutions Lead at KPMG, Faculty at SingularityGroup, Management at TranshumanCoin

The convergence of emerging technologies is accelerating every day, whether it’s AI, robotics, IoT, blockchain, or biotech, the combination of these will have an extraordinary impact on every industry. For thought leaders, it is important to look beyond your own deep expertise in one particular field and connect with technology verticals that will evolve new ideas and innovations for your industries.

53.) Lincoln Cannon - CEO at Thrivous

It will probably take longer and be harder than you expected. You’ll probably be tempted to give up many times when it seems as if everything is conspiring to destroy you. But remember what the world looks like every sunny morning. And trust in the next one.

54.) Rafal Mlodzki - CEO & Co-founder at Passport-Photo Online

Don't limit yourselfI feel like it's easy to get stuck in just one mindset while being a thought leader. Try to look for new ways to improve yourself not only in terms of publishing and reaching a new audience but within yourself. Just because you are concerned about something in the moment doesn't mean it will always be this way. People change, and so do mindsets and tactics. You have the right to grow and expand. Keep your mind open! Don't limit yourself to one type of content, either. Try articles, videos, podcasts, infographics - whatever works for your message and audience.

55.) Adit Jain - Co-founder & CEO of Leena AI

The advice that I would give to people looking to become a thought leader in any industry is to know their niche. Be clear about the domain in which you want to be a thought leader. Once you are clear about this, start talking about the topic in a way that your target audiences can relate to.

Be consistent with posting information. Try to get your thought leadership articles published in various reputed media channels. This will help you with your visibility as a thought leader as well. Another thing is being experimental with your writing styles and exploring the various channels or platforms where you can put your content. This will help with a widespread audience across multiple platforms. Also, participate in discussions with other thought leaders in your field.

Engage with them in conversation and listen to their thoughts and ideas as well. This will not only increase your knowledge but also help in interacting and collaborating with other thought leaders as well.One thing I wish I had known is that if someone else is speaking on a topic, don't hesitate to speak on that. You too can have insights that others might have never heard of. So don't be afraid to speak up about those common topics.

56.) Emma Pyke - Founder & Chief Editor of Fit Shape43

Any person who wants to be regarded as a leader has to be honest, mindful, and trustworthy. The leader should always have his eyes and ears open for people and suggestions around them. He/ She should be dedicated, supportive, motivating, and the one who can take risks. A leader should have a clear goal and should be available for feedback. The person should be focused and should have a positive mindset for working and life.

57.) Jamie Gruman, Ph.D. - Professor & Senior Research Fellow at Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, University of Guelph

There are two tactics that are useful for becoming a thought leader on a certain topic. The first is to get on board a developing area early and distribute your thoughts widely through writing, speaking, interviews, etc, to help structure the discussion and be known as a leading figure on the topic. The second is to offer important, novel insights about a topic using similar means. Either of these can make you a thought leader. However, the best strategy is to implement both tactics simultaneously so you become known as a leading, seminal thinker who offers valuable insights.

58.) Lynda Fairly - Co-founder of Numlooker

Using my expertise in the tech industry, my advice would be to make connections with people in your industry. Speaking at conferences and writing opinion blogs are great ways to do this. The more connections you make, the more reputable you can become with your industry. Once people within the industry know who you are, they will listen to what you have to say. As a result, being a thought leader becomes easier for this reason alone. Also, once you become a thought leader within your industry, your target market will begin to see you as an expert in your field. So, if people are looking for answers about the technology your target market uses, they will turn to someone like you.

59.) Lisa Richards - CEO and Creator of the Candida Diet

Keep learning to boost and sustain your credibility, relevancy, and influence in your chosen field. If you want to be a true authority in your niche, you need to consistently keep yourself abreast with major developments in this field. This involves constantly schooling yourself on emerging trends, and developing highly articulate and accurate insights into the trajectory your industry is heading towards. Constant learning also entails engaging with your audience, and other thought leaders in your field so that you gain a better understanding of their perspectives.

60.) Chris Lee - Level Up Consultant

If I could write.a letter to my past self I would recommend this tried and true recipe for being a thought leader:

1. First and foremost, find and nurture your tribe. Leadership starts by attracting and rallying like-minded people around a common mindset and set of beliefs.

2. Start conversations with your tribe to find out what they want and need. Enter into the dialog without pre-conceptions or pushing your own agenda. But you can also bring your experience, as well as trending concerns, into the conversation to act as a friendly guide.

3. Solidify your leadership by honing your empathy to understand what your tribe is not saying or asking. Dig deeper to understand and unpack their underlying fears, hopes and motivations.

61.) Zoltan Istvan - Transhumanist Writer & Former US Presidential Candidate

1) To become a thought leader, you must always be as original as possible, but not so weird as to freak people out.

2) Luck plays an integral factor in one's life; embrace it thoroughly when it comes.

Wrapping Up

Wow. My mind is blown. The level of insight and advice from these thought leaders is incredible. I hope that you got as much out of this article as I did and walk away not only with some amazing quotes, but an incredible amount of knowledge and ideas to implement into your life for becoming a better leader.So, what are you waiting for? Now's your chance to put your newfound knowledge into use! Don't waste any time - go out there and become a thought leader in your niche!

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If you're curious about my political leanings: I lean so far to the left that I circle back to the right & vice versa. Professional Collector of Experiences. Motto: “Keep your mind hungry, else you will be devoured.”

Champaign, IL
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