What Does It Mean to Be a Thought Leader: 4 Qualities Every Thought Leader Must Possess

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You're probably familiar with the term "thought leader." In today's business world, the term "thought leader" is thrown around a lot. But what does it really mean to be a thought leader? Is it simply a matter of having smart ideas? Or is there more to it than that? And more importantly, how can you become one?

It's no easy feat to be a successful thought leader, but it is possible with these four qualities. You need the ability and willingness to change your world around you in order for people understand what matters most just as much if not more than yourself! Though this task may sometimes seem impossible because of all those unique perspectives on life’s problems out there--think up-stand down from different angles which helps shape public opinion through seeing things differently so others can share them too.

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Atiba de Souza: You know, we talk a lot about what it takes to be a thought leader here on thoughts on thought leadership with Atiba. But today we're going to dive into some of the qualities because, you know, I get a lot of questions and I see a lot of questions being asked online as well about, you know, what are the qualities, because you may be developing what it takes, those tangible things that it takes to be a thought leader.

If you don't have the personality, kind of qualities that it takes to be a thought leader, then you're going to struggle. You're really, really going to struggle. And, and, you know, we, we, we're going to dive into that today on thoughts on thought leadership with Atiba.

Hey, everybody. Welcome to thoughts on thought leadership with Atiba I am your host, Atiba, and Today we're going to be diving into what are the qualities, really the personality traits, that great thought leader. Embody and possess the things that, that kind of bring them all together. That when you look at all of them, you see, yeah.

They have all of those. And then also when you look at some people who are trying really hard to build thought leadership, but they're struggling. Why are they struggling usually because they're missing one of these qualities. Now let's talk about thought leadership just on a high level for a moment.

And, you know, thought leadership requires that you are great at solving problems for your customer, that you embody a message that you, that the things that you are a thought leader on that it's really a part of the. Right. And everything that you do and that you want to communicate that value to people all the time, and you do it through every medium, every channel with lots of clarity and consistency. 

We talk a lot about that here on thoughts on thought leadership, but what are the qualities? So those are the things, but what are the qualities like the character traits and my research, and my time has shown me that the really four qualities, four qualities that you and I must possess in order to truly be an effective thought leader. Four qualities. 

We're going to run through all four of them with you today. The first one is you've got to be approachable. You must be approachable is we've developed. You developed. Expertise in our field. We have created systems and processes that help us get extraordinary results for our customers and our clients.

But if we're not approachable, if we don't have a heart to be able to, to allow people to come and talk to us and approach us and ask us questions and then be willing to give great answers back answers, I'm going to say great answers. I'm not just talking about answers that make you sound super important, but answers that really target the heart of the person that you're talking to and answer their question in a way that they can under stand. That's the key. It's not just about answering their questions, but answering their questions in a way that they can understand that meets them where they are and helps them grow a little bit.

Okay. That takes into account what they think, what they feel, what they know. About the problem that they're trying to solve the solution that you provide, meet them there and then move them forward a little bit with your answer. That's what it means to be be approachable. That is what it truly, truly means to be approachable, that willingness to add value to your customer's life, by meeting them where they are answering their question, where they are with their level of understanding and raising their level of understanding. 

Just a little bit with that answer. So you must be approachable is that's a crucial, crucial. Value and character trait that you must have to be an effective thought leader. The next one is just as important. Really all of them are super important, but the next one is just as important. And it's the, it's one that a lot of people lack because there are a lot of people who may develop and may be approachable. 

Okay. But they lack this next one. You must be vulnerable. You see, you're not perfect. I'm not perfect. And we've got to be willing to, to number one, talk about our mistakes. Number two, talk about an answer, the hard questions about our product service industry, niche, whatever you want to call it. You've got to be willing to answer the really, really hard questions. 

Those questions that you wish nobody asks. Those questions that, that, that might be controversial. Those questions that might not even make you look good. You've gotta be willing to answer. You've got to be willing to answer them because that's what consumers business to business consumers heck even business to customer, um, consumers require to that. 

They're looking for transparency. They're looking for that vulnerability. They're looking to know that, Hey, you're not perfect. And you're not trying to pretend that everything here is perfect, but you're willing to tell me what's going on. Tell me the truth and how we deal with it. You've got to be vulnerable. 

Okay. Next one. And this one kind of goes without saying that you have to be persistent, you know, some people, well, I shouldn't even say some people, you can't just say, Hey, I put out one piece of content or that makes me a thought leader. No thought leaders are constantly talking about the thing that they represent.

They're constantly talk. I talk about thought leadership all the time. You talk about your topic all the time on any channel, on any platform. Anytime someone wants to listen, I'm willing to talk about it. I'm willing to share what I know, because I know in me sharing what I know and being approachable and being vulnerable by me doing those things.

Okay. And being persistent, I am giving you the opportunity to learn about thought leadership, because I believe that your thought leadership will change the world. Now it may not change the entire world and it may not be global. You know, people may not recognize it globally, but within your sphere of influence, you're going to change the world, but you can't change the world unless you become the thought leader in your industry.

The, I believe that wholeheartedly. And so I'm going to talk about it all the time. That's why I'm persistent, because I believe you can do great things. Likewise, you believe that your product or service will do great things for your customer will allow your customer to expand and do wonderful things as well. 

And that's why you have to be a thought leader. That's why you have to be persistent. That's why you have to be persistent. And the last one, this is the one that often gets overlooked. Okay. So if vulnerable is, in my opinion, one of the most important ones, this is the one that gets the most overlooked, and that is you must be flexible. 

You must be flexible. You know, it's all about your customer. Right. And it's all about what you provide for your customers and your client, the solution that you provide for your customers and your client. And let's face it. Life changes. Life changes the same solution that you did in 2011. Doesn't work in 2022, and it won't work in 2025.

And so you must be flexible and realize that you have to always be. Yes. I said it always be learning. It's not good English. It's okay. You have to always be learning, always be learning. Always get better at your craft. Always realize that the best way to serve your customer is to be at the top of your game. 

And the best way to be at the top of your game is to continually continually learn. Learn learn, never think that you have reached that you have arrived at that. Your solution is the end all be all. And there is no better way because that makes you rigid and flexible. That makes you rigid and unflexible. 

But when you're willing to learn, I'm always studying thought leadership, reading what people have to say, really what people's thoughts on thought leadership are. I'm always learning, always growing. Sure. Do I have my opinion? Sure. Do I share my opinion with you? Absolutely. And I believe that that's what's right today, but guess what thought leadership may be different than three years from now?

And I may have to change and realize that because society, because the world changes, I've got to change with it, you must be flexible. It doesn't mean to waiver in the wind, but it does mean to be able to stop and say, Hey, am I right? Is there a better way? Is there something new that can make this easier, better, faster?

Is there a way I can incorporate that into what I do so that my customers and clients have better results because that's what it all comes back to. You know? And the key to everything that we do in thought leadership is all about our customers and clients. That's what it's all about. Okay. We are here to serve them.

We are here to help them change the world with whatever product or service we're bringing to market for them. So we must always, always, always keep our eye on that. And that's why it's so important to be flexible. So guys, these are the four qualities, approachable, vulnerable, persistent, and flexible. Those are the four qualities, the four things in your character that will separate you from being just somebody with thoughts and a truly effective thought leader in your industry.

If you possess those four qualities of a thought leader, then it's time for you to pick up the mantle and become the thought leader of your industry. We have a quiz on our website. The link is down below that you can take it's our thought leadership readiness quiz take that quiz and someone from my team will reach out to you and we can start the process of helping you become the thought leader in your industry.


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