When you’re CEO, you lead your organization, but there’s more to becoming a thought leader in your industry than your title.
Thought leadership and entrepreneurship often go hand-in-hand, but it’s a rare few who rise to the role of an industry-wide thought leader. They have the respect of their peers and the results to back it up.
The qualities of a thought leader shine through the best and brightest in their industries.
They Know Their Industry Better Than Anyone
It should come as no surprise that anyone claiming to be a thought leader should be an expert in their industry, but it’s a fact that’s often conveniently ignored. People love a bold headline, and there is no shortage of uninformed claims made by billionaires with no real knowledge of a new industry. Look no further than one famous innovator’s ill-fated attempts to reinvent the subway. The ability to disrupt one industry may not translate into other fields.
Real thought leaders start from a place where they know what they’re talking about. They identify real problems in an industry and use innovative technology to solve them.
They Aren’t Afraid to Disrupt the Status Quo
The bigger the industry, the more attached its top players can be to the status quo. When Regan McGee, Founder and CEO of Nobul, took on deeply-rooted practices in the real estate industry, he challenged a status quo that had been in place for over a century. He explained in Digital Connect Magazine:
“The real estate industry is awash in data, yet we as a sector have not really embraced the tools available to leverage that flood of information. But, when the real estate market really started to heat up last year, we as an industry finally started to see the light and embrace the benefits that data analytics have to offer.”
Thought leaders believe there’s always a better way of doing business, and they aren’t afraid to take on anyone to find it.
They’re Always Innovative
It’s not enough to change the industry once; thought leaders are constantly finding new ways to improve and innovate. They are constantly looking into new technologies that they can add to their organization and the services their business provides. There’s no problem they don’t want to solve and no paradigm they don’t want to challenge.
When They Speak, People Listen
Thought leaders are articulate, insightful, and great communicators. They tend to be great team leaders, managers, and delegators because they know how to bring people on board and share their vision.
They also produce valuable content that attracts followers online. People are eager to learn from what they have to say, and they’re constantly sparking conversations among people in their field.
Talking about their vision is one thing, but people become respected as thought leaders when their plans get put into action, and everyone can see the result. Only once you prove yourself, your consistency and the quality of your results can others judge the merit behind your innovative ideas.
Thought leaders may not have all of these qualities put together, but having several means that you’re well on your way to becoming a leader in your industry.