Thought leaders aren’t just people who throw out idea after idea, hoping one stick around. They’re the people who give well-rounded answers to complicated questions.
They earn their reputation by providing solutions that can both connect with and inspire those around them. They may be recognized leaders in their company, but they don’t have to be.
Anyone with enough insight and experience can be a thought leader if they have the right characteristics, but different thought leaders have different characteristics.
Some work better on their own while others prefer to collaborate. Some want to challenge conventional views for the sake of progress while others want to use their competitive streak to bring out the best in themselves and their company.
It’s worth taking time to dissect and analyze these qualities to answer the all-important question: what type of thought leader are you?
Before you look at the infographic below, so you can slap a label on yourself, it may be a good idea to ask yourself how you approach difficult problems.
- Do you rely on your instincts or do you have to examine the nuance of each possible option?
- Do you love to talk to people about what you think, or would you rather wait until you have all your ducks in a row? Do you want to be singled out as a leader?
- Do you crave recognition amongst your peers?
There’s no shame in the answers to any of these questions! Once you understand your role, you can start tweaking your leadership style to meet the needs of the company!
There are pros and cons to each type of thought leader. Once you know the advantages and the pitfalls of your style, you can decide how to maximize the former and minimize the latter.
For example, an intellectual thought leader is going to be prone to giving lectures rather than engaging people in dialogue.
If you fall into this category, you can learn to catch your instincts, so you can open yourself up to a discussion as opposed to a lengthy monologue.
Someone who wants to stand up for what they believe in can do so in such a way that doesn’t entirely devalue the possibility of change.
To figure out where you stand, use the infographic below to see different characteristics of each type of thought leader and the challenges they face.