When was the last time you had an original thought? When did you last think something that broke out of the box of religious, cultural, social and economic boxes you live within?
In business and leadership circles there is much talk about “thought leaders”. Many students seem pretty passive when it comes to much of their thinking, yet it is not because they don’t have genuine and interesting thoughts, more that thinking is hard work”. In teaching I try to encourage people to think more and be prepared to go against the flow that is often innate within them – not for the sake of arguing but for the potential that is often unleashed as we think, and therefore act, differently.
Below is an interesting list of characteristics possessed by a thought leader.
Thought leaders are not so by virtue of a title or a job; they are so because of who they are and how they think and behave.
Thought leaders think deeply about issues; they think them through from beginning to end and understand issues profoundly.
Thought leaders “walk the talk”, not pontificate on a point.
Thought leaders communicate their thoughts; they don’t just keep them inside.
Thought leaders are eloquent, clear communicators. No rambling. No disjointed thoughts. They know how to get the point across.
Thought leaders shares their ideas and knowledge generously.
Thought leaders are courageous enough to share their thoughts despite criticism.
Thought leaders are wise enough to allow themselves to be challenged by others, and to challenge their own assumptions, too.
Thought leaders influence how others think and what they believe.
Thought leaders inspire trust; they don’t demand it.
Thought leaders are trend-setters and idea-shapers.
Thought leaders have excellent reputations, or they build an excellent reputation as they go along.
Thought leaders are passionate, but not pushy.
Thought leaders are forward-thinking.
Thought leaders are innovative.
Thought leaders are confident, but not cocky.
Thought leaders are sincere.
Thought leaders are authentic.
Thought leaders take a stand.
Thought leaders are consistent with their message.
Thought leaders challenge others to think in new ways and try new things.
Thought leaders can share the same message in a variety of ways. They don’t sound like a broken record.
Thought leaders have longevity. They are not “here today and gone tomorrow”.
Thought leaders are compassionate. They understand the human situation and feel it deep in their soul.
Thought leaders are driven to make a difference.
Thought leaders believe in the possibility of transformation.
Thought leaders believe in others’ potential.
Thought leaders are lifelong learners; they learn constantly and enjoy doing so.
Thought leaders have charisma not because of a great smile or chiseled features, but because they offer something fresh and new.
Thought leaders are forward-focussed, allowing the past to inform, but not impede their thoughts.
Thought leaders have an innate sense of hope about the future.