How to Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry: 3 Attributes of a Thought Leader

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Do you want to become a thought leader in your industry?

Thought leaders are the people who know how to get things done. They are the best versions of ourselves. They have a deep understanding in their field, and others often respect them because they're seen as an authority on what needs to be done next for progress- especially if that's something related with business or creativity. They're experts in their field, with a lot of experience and knowledge under your belt- probably because they've been doing this for years.

In this episode, we'll define what a thought leader is. We'll explain the definition of a thought leader and why becoming one can be so valuable in you business industry.

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Atiba de Souza: Hey guys, welcome to Thoughts on Thought Leadership with Atiba. 

Today, we're diving into really what is a thought leader? So much has been said over the year. So much has been written over the years. And a lot of it at this point probably has you scratching your head as to, okay, I'm confused. What really is a thought leader? And is a thought leader in 2022 the same thing as this article that I'm reading here from 2013? Like, is that even the case anymore?

Well, rest assured I'm going to share with you today the three qualities, three qualities that you need in order to become a thought leader for your business and in your industry. All right. So here we go. Number one, you gotta be an expert, my friend, in your niche. An expert in your niche. Now I know that even that, that's almost as cliche as saying thought leader, right?

What the heck is an expert in your niche? What is that, what is that even mean? Like, when people say that, what are they really, really talking about? Well, first let's start at the end and move backwards. Let's start with the word 'niche' or 'niche', depending on where you're from and how you want to say it, right. A niche or niche in terms of defining it, because you need to define it as tightly as possible, of an area of expertise where you have a specialty.

So, you may be a realtor and you are fantastic at beach front properties where they, I don't know, don't get a lot of sun. I don't know why you'd want a beach front property and didn't get a lot of sun, but maybe that's what someone wants and you're the realtor that can help them get that, because that is your niche, right?

The point here is a niche is an area of service where you have a particular specialty. Now let's talk about specialty because that gets into that other term that started this one. I said, expert in your area. So, what does it mean to be an expert? What does it mean to be an expert? So if we narrow down to a really tight or as tight as we can, right. Specialty or a niche, then what does it mean to be an expert? Well, to be an expert, my friend, I'm going to submit to you, it means having a proprietary and definable process that brings proven results for your customer. A definable and proven proprietary process that brings results for your customer.

All right. So again, a bunch of words there, let's start to break that down. Proprietary. Proprietary meanings that it's yours. This is something that's uniquely you. This is what you bring to the table better than any one else. Because you are uniquely qualified. Maybe you're great at being that realtor because you grew up in beach homes that didn't have sun. Who knows? Whatever it is, you are uniquely qualified.

And I guarantee you, if you really look at yourself, you'll realize that there are things about you that make you uniquely qualified to be an expert in your niche. So that's the first part it's proprietary to you. They can't go find this somewhere else. Right? So you can't say, well, I have the MLS system, if you're a realtor or, you know, I use Quickbooks, if I'm, an accountant. Yeah. That's not proprietary to you, everybody else does it. Not maybe the way you use them, what you do with them that might be proprietary to you. And the next thing is definable.  

I've met with over the years, tons of business owners who tell me, you know, when it comes to sales, when it comes to marketing, no one on my team can do it like me. I'm the one. I'm the one who has to do it because my customers, they buy me and I don't know what it is, but it's something about the way I work with them. There's your proprietary thing again and they buy me. It's great that they buy you, but buying you also isn't scalable than buying you also means you're not being a leader. 

Okay. Cause it's just all about you. So, when we talk about a definable process. So now we are going to take your proprietary thing that you do and actually define it so that it can be duplicated by other people within your organization. And of course, it's got to bring your customers some level of success.

There have to be results for the customer. Otherwise, who cares if it's proprietary and who cares if it's definable, if the customer won't buy it because it doesn't work, it doesn't matter. Okay. So as you're looking at being an expert, that's what we're talking about. We're looking at what are those areas, the niche that you can, that you work in that you fill in a way that nobody else fills it, that you can define and we can duplicate. 

That's what it means to be an expert in your niche. That's what it means to be an expert in your niche. So that is the first quality of a thought leader. You've got to be an expert in your niche. The second quality, you have to have a willingness to share and make a difference.

You know, leadership is one of those things that if you look at any true leader in the history of the world. Any true leader who had sustaining power. Okay. And sustaining influence over time that we look back in history and we say, wow! They were a great leader. It's because they had a willingness to share of themselves and make the world a better place. Even if it's just within their little niche and say, this is the thing, this is where so many of us get confused in thought leadership because we look at the big guys, we look at the people who have megaphones. We look at the people who, who are, who can reach the entire world.

Well, of course they're a thought leader. I can never be them. You might be right. However, within your niche, within your niche, You have the megaphone. You can make a difference inside of your niche. You are that big guy, that big gal inside of your niche. But you have to be willing to make a difference.

You have to have a heart to educate your customers. You have to be willing to share with them because you have that ultimate desire to make the world a better place with whatever it is that you're bringing to market. Your proprietary process, the results that you get, it's all wrapped around making the world a better place.

Now, while you're making that little corner of the world, your niche a better place. Yeah. You're going to make some money too. So don't get me wrong. I'm not saying this is all about being altruistic and let's just give away the farm. No, no, no, no. We're not giving away the farm. Risk, this is still business. But understand in order to be a true thought leader, your heart has to be in it as well.

It just can't just be about the bottom line. Okay. Can't just be about the bottom line. Then the third quality, the third quality. And this is the one because you know, the first two. The first two, you could probably look at yourself right now and say, I've got those. I've got those two. Even if you're in a place where you'd say, well, am I an expert in..?

And for most of us, you know, we're going to look at ourselves and be really harsh on ourselves and say, oh, I'm not an expert. You're probably more of an expert than you realize. Okay. You're probably more of an expert than you realize, and that's okay. That's great, actually. And you probably already know that you have a willingness to make the world a better place.

That's why you got into business. Yes, it was to make money, but you also wanted to make this small population of the world, this small little corner of the world, better with your product or service. But this third one, this third one is the one that most people, especially right now, in this post pandemic, post digital age are really, really stumbling over.

Social influence with the right people. That's number three. You got to have social influence with the right people. Now, so many of us are stumbling over that because, you know, we get on social media and we see those posts and we see those people and they've got millions of followers and they get thousands of likes and comments. Heck, I was watching with my wife, a Tony Robbins thing earlier today, and Tony Robbins is jumping up and down and looking like a fool doing exercises in front of 43,000 people. Yeah, and guess what? If I have 43,000 people watching me, I'd jump up and down too. Yeah, sure. They're all paying me to be here. Yeah, sure. 

I'll jump up and down for them. Right? And we see that. And what we do is we compare ourselves to that and we say, oh my gosh. Yes, they have such great influence. I don't have any influence, how can I be a thought leader? How can I be a thought leader? And the key here guys is when Tony Robbins defines the niche that he's an expert in and he does whatever it was that he was doing today.

There were 43,000 people he was supposed to reach. When you define your niche and the areas where you have expertise, there's going to be a population of people that you need to reach. And it isn't about the number of people, it's about reaching the correct people with your message. And who are the correct people? Your potential customers. Your potential customers. Not everybody on the planet is your potential customer.

But you want to have social influence with that group of people, your potential customers. Now, those are my three. Those are the three. Thought leadership hangs on these three, guys. And if you're sitting there and you're thinking to yourself, okay. I hear you. Maybe I have some expertise in my field, maybe it is, you know, I am, I do have a willingness to, to help people.

I do, I do. I want to make the world a better place, but this whole social influence thing, like I don't get it. I don't, I don't get it. I don't get how it works. I don't get what, what do you mean by, what am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to get influence over people? How does that work? How does that work?

Well, it's very simple. That actually is very, very simple. And that's actually, what we help you with is understanding that your prospective customers are looking for a thought leader in your industry to follow so that they can buy their product. The one good thing about, well, there are many good things, but one of the good things about social media is the rise of these mega famous influencers.

And you say, but why? I mean, I don't want to be one of those types of people. Yeah. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is the rise of those mega influencers who get on and get all those likes and whatever else, is it's conditioned all of the rest of us. You, me and your potential customers. It's conditioned all of the rest of us to want to follow influencers.

Come on. You probably remember I want to be like Mike. Yeah. Now you want to be like, whatever the Instagram handle is, right? That's what, what's going on right now with a lot of these mega influencers, but what it's done in the psychology of the mind, which is what Nike cornered with I want to be like Mike way back in the day is very, very simple.

We as humans want to follow someone, we want someone who says, Hey, I know the way come follow me. And in your industry, in your niche, you're that expert that they want to follow. That's you. That's you. So how do you get there? The roadmap to getting there is understanding that your customers have questions.

Your customers have questions before they ever call you. They've got questions and whoever answers those questions, that's who they're going to trust. That's who they're going to follow. That's who they'll open their wallets for. So, why not you? Why not you? We. We can help you get there. That's what we do. We help you figure out what those questions that your customer has before they become your customer. When they're still your potential customer, when you don't even know that they exist yet. When they're online searching for stuff.

We will help you figure out what those questions are and help you answer those questions and get in front of, of your customer as they're asking those questions online. So that you, my friend, can be that thought leader. That's it. Those are the three qualities. That's what it takes to get there. You've already got two.

We can help you get to number three. We can help you get to number three. There is a link down below where you can learn more and actually take our thought leadership readiness quiz. Feel free to click on that down in the description. Be glad to chat with you and show you that you are further along the path of being the thought leader your industry needs than you even recognize.

All right, everybody talk to you soon. Bye-bye. Don't forget to click that link. Click the link.

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