Many individuals have become interested in influencing culture, government and business by becoming a certified thought leader, but what makes a thought leader? These are some things you should know before pursuing a certification program.

Definition

Thought leaders serve as opinion leaders. They are informed about their fields of expertise. They are trusted because they are able to analyze the past and present while addressing the needs of the future. Thought leaders may serve in specific companies or industries, but over time, they develop a following of people who seek their input and results. They also hope to inspire others to do the same.

Motivations

Successful thought leaders are typically motivated by more than just being gaining a following. They have a passion for their work. Their goal is to advance their field as they change the world in a meaningful way. They have compelling messages that encourage others to join in their fights. Thought leaders have excellent communication skills, which they use to lead others. They are motivated to ensure their leadership is high quality because their organizations may be openly criticized since they are out in front of the pack.

Some examples of thought leader motivations include the company’s mission, the desire to see specific results come to pass, eliminating vulnerabilities within an organization and improving companies’ products and services. These individuals explore all the possible solutions to problems within their companies and industries.

Measurement

It is challenging to measure the impact thought leaders have on their companies and industries, which may result in a lack of recognition for their work. For example, sales, cost and web traffic can all be measured, but identifying how thought leadership impacts the bottom line or corporate change can be difficult because the cause-effect relationship may not be clear.

Traits

Thought leaders have a specific area of expertise. They also produce regular content, whether that content is for a company or society is determined on their expertise and passions. These individuals are high-quality researchers because they need to keep up to date on their topics. They also avoid speaking about themselves, focusing on the industry, company or other change they desire. These individuals can also be seen as valuable sources of information. They should be consistent and authentic to have a real impact.

Thought leaders have a target audience, and they cater to this audience by being accessible. They may allow their information and name to be used by others when it is appropriate. They may also pursue other media outlets, such as interviews and blog posts. Their job is to develop relationships and boost their visibility.

If you have a passion and expertise in an area, consider pursuing thought leadership certification.