Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes the right music, a telling story and an emotional video will induce emotion in the audience. Sometimes just a wise quote will make people think.
Thought leadership, the buzz word around the world today may be becoming popular in writing circles but what does it really mean and what do you need to do to be a thought leader? What exactly is a thought leader?
What makes a good thought leader?
Is it someone who can come in from the outside and advise you on what to say to your employees, your stakeholders and your peers? Is it well written content that can deliver the messages of your brand and make you stand out? Is it an inspiring posture, a demeanour, a character? Do you have to have millions of followers on twitter, linkedin, facebook and google plus to become recognized as a thought leader? Can anyone be a thought leader?
These are all the questions that people generally ask when a dicsussion on thought leadership comes up. So what is thought leadership and how can organizations make use of the tool to inspire, motivate and empower their work force and build their brands to really make a bang?
Share insight, experience and data
Thought leadership truly happens when leaders in companies begin to share their insights, experience and expertise to differentiate their companies from others. It does not happen when everyone follows the same train of thought. It becomes leadership when different ideas, experiences and insights are offered. When new points of view come forth and people can learn something new each time they interact with a thought leader.
Empower others to follow suit
Leaders begin to inspire and empower employees, colleagues and the work culture when they share their own experiences openly, with simplicity and honesty.
Be different. Be unique
It is not about who said it better or who delivered a stronger statement. It is all about how well informed, well researched and meaningful is leadership communication at the end of the day.
An example of a strong thought leader in a company is one who will communicate with his or her employees; who will do it consistently, will have research, numbers, latest updates and his or her own stories to back the communication. To be a thought leader, one has to become accessible for communication.
Do not market your brand. Inspire by example
This is how thought leadership becomes different from traditional marketing. These are the times of online content marketing, social media and social networks. The more open your communication is towards others, more inspiration and follower ship will follow.
Step out of your brand territory
Staying posessive about your ideas, your content and your brand is no longer applicable in these times. What is really working for people in the world is stepping out of their own content zones and creating a shared sense of ownership of the brand with their consumers, employees and other businesses.
When open communication flows, everyone becomes the ambassador of the brand. Thought leaders inspire through their point of views and open communication, content sharing and discussions on online forums. All of these forms of communication are very good means to create the perception that will work for their brand and the business.
On that note, happy leading and cheers to inspiring others.
Read more about thought leadership here.
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