When considering a thought leader, we must think about the people that we see in the world who are making a great impact in their communities, whether that’s expanding a school of thought, dedicating their life to research, improving their field, or influencing a generation of thinkers.
Not everyone can hold that position in the world, so what does it take to be a good thought leader? Below are some essential qualities of a thought leader that make them influential in their field.
They Must Be Personable
A thought leader who cannot connect to his followers on a personal level will not be able to keep his following. A personable leader is much more influential than one who seems distant and doesn’t want to have meaningful conversations.
If you want to be a thought leader, the first thing you must do is bridge the gap between you and those who want to learn from you. A person who is an expert in their field can be very intimidating for people who are just starting out. Make yourself as approachable as possible. That is how you will begin to be seen as a thought leader.
Expertise In Their Field
A thought leader cannot emerge in any field without first being an expert in that field. This kind of expertise takes years to accomplish. For example, in fields like religious schools of thought or any religious institution, it’s the people who have studied scripture and other holy texts for years who are looked to for advice. In the Jewish school of thought, Kabbalah, Rabbi Laitman is a man who is recognized in his community for dedicating years to studying and practicing Kabbalah. He is an expert in his field and as such, is seen as a thought leader in his field.
Another example of a worthy thought leader in their field is Jane Goodall. Jane is now in her late eighties but has been studying in the field of primatology since her twenties. She has fully immersed herself in the study of primates in Africa and knows more about them than probably anyone else in the world. Because of this, she is considered the top thought leader in her field.
Good Listening Skills
A great leader can only maintain their leadership if they are willing to listen to new voices and take up criticism. Although a thought leader is a trusted source in any given field, it does not mean that someone out there might have ideas that they have never thought of.
If a thought leader only listened to themself and no one else, they would become an echo chamber of their own thoughts. By listening to those younger than them and having meaningful conversations, a thought leader is seen as a leader who can connect with all ages and groups.
Good Public Speaker
If a thought leader wants to read a broad audience with their knowledge, they have to be able to speak to large crowds. Someone who can influence masses of people and bring knowledge to new groups is someone who represents the qualities of a good thought leader.
Encouraging Of Others
As a person in a position of leadership, a thought leader is admired for being someone who is willing to bring others up to their level. If a thought leader dedicates time to speak to their pupils and encouraging them, their legacy will never die.
Taking the time to encourage the younger generation to learn and grow in their field makes for a great thought leader.
This is one of the most important qualities of a good thought leader because a good leader does not presume to know everything in the world. They should always be open and ready to learn new things in their own field and in others.
No one person will learn everything there is to learn about a certain topic, and consistently being a student of life encourages others to also never stop learning, no matter how knowledgeable they are.
If a thought leader is one of the most knowledgeable people in their field of thought, it is of value to leave behind some published works. This shows a good quality of a thought leader because it means they have worked hard to maintain and carry on their knowledge to the next generation.
Most thought leaders rise to that position because of their contributions to their field. Whether it’s published books, documentaries, essays, or other written material, these documents solidify a person’s position of knowledge in society.
The qualities of a thought leader may include but are not limited to just the list above. A person who displays these qualities and is a leader in their field of thought or study is sure to be remembered long past their time on Earth. The true meaning of a leader is someone who can influence many while also staying relatable and approachable.