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Many heads of companies strive to become “thought leaders.” In general, a thought leader is considered a trusted source in a particular field of expertise. But is that really leadership? In today’s world of collaborative co-creation being a well-known expert is not enough. For instance, you may lead a company that installs and supports unified communication systems, but what are you doing to propel the industry into the future? It takes more than technical expertise to achieve broader goals.
A true thought leader in today’s day and age is someone who inspires others to reach their highest potential. These people are coaches, advisors, mentors, and catalysts all rolled into one. They read complex business situations and structure a goal-oriented vision that others believe in as well. In this way, teams are self-motivated to think originally, collaborate and push boundaries.
Research suggests that there are certain qualities that define good leadership. Begin by developing the following essential qualities and you’ll be on your way to effective thought leadership that inspires your team to excel:
Self-awareness and stress management skills are essential for making sound decisions. Leaders that stay calm under pressure may inspire others to achieve the same state of mind and perform at their best. Meditation has been shown to enhance executive leadership skills and can be a helpful technique to develop mindfulness.
Business leaders work in complex environments. These individuals must have the bandwidth and emotional intelligence to pay attention to the needs, feelings and expectations of countless amounts of people such as clients, colleagues, journalists, etc. By nurturing relationships and asking good questions, thought leaders can inspire others to have innovative thoughts of their own which can be woven into an actionable plan.
Last but not least, strategic thinking is essential to thought leaders. These are the people that teams look to for direction. The best strategic thinkers are highly self-aware and posses the emotional intelligence to solve problems with a team.
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