Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the chairman and managing director of Biocon, is a driving force in biotechnology. She’s considered a thought leader in her field and her knowledge and expertise are sought after by many.

Thought leaders are the go-to people for advice in their respective fields. They draw from their past experiences to assess what needs to be done in the present to improve the future. Thought leadership motivates, inspires and influences people.

Today, marketers are drawn to thought leadership to improve their content marketing strategies. Influencers and SEO experts look for ways to connect with their audience by sharing their expertise. Let’s explore some of the qualities of thought leaders and how they use their existing knowledge to positively influence others.

What Is Thought Leadership?

Thought leadership is about leading with knowledge, insight and perspective. It’s a strategy that distinguishes you as the authority in your area of expertise. Whether you’re a marketer or a motivational speaker, a thought leadership strategy will help you influence people, and provide valuable knowledge for personal and professional growth.

Let’s explore some examples of thought leadership:

In English literature, William Shakespeare is known as the greatest playwright that ever existed. Even today, scholars, writers and thinkers revisit his work to understand how society has evolved from then to now. Similarly, many voices in history continue to influence us.

Today, we have thought leaders like Simon Sinek, author and motivational speaker, who rose to fame with a powerful TED talk “Start With Why” in 2009. Now, he’s one of the most influential speakers who first highlighted the importance of ‘asking why’—a strategy that’s extremely helpful in solving complex work-related problems.

How To Become A Thought Leader

There are many ways to become a thought leader and all of them require patience and hard work. By definition, an expert is someone skilled and knowledgeable in a specific area. Let’s explore some key qualities that experts have:

  1. Never Stop Learning

Just like doctors, lawyers and teachers never stop learning, a thought leader has to work hard to stay abreast with new developments in their fields. But it’s important to remember that simply reading up on something isn’t helpful. You have to first apply that information to understand its impact before you share it with your audience.

  1. Pay Attention to People

A thought leader is open-minded and non-judgmental. So learn to pay attention to those around you, understand what they need and how best to deliver it. For a marketer, customer preference is critical. Accepting different perspectives will help you understand what you need to do to sell your product or service.

  1. Think Outside The Box

Thought leadership is as much about taking risks as it is about learning. You have to step outside of your comfort zone to come up with new and improved ideas for professional growth. To help brands or individuals, you have to think beyond what you already know to deliver creative solutions.

  1. Establish A Social Media Presence

Today, thought leadership is built on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Engage with your audience to find out what you can do for them. Interacting with your followers can help you connect with them. There are many ways to communicate virtually with podcasts, webinars and even live videos. This will also establish your credibility as an authority on a subject.

  1. Lead By Example

An effective leader leads by example. Once you’ve established your brand and built an audience, share anecdotes from your personal experiences to illustrate your point. This will help you appear more relatable and approachable to your audience. It’s easy to simply comment on a topic, but if you can provide evidence to support that information, you can become a trusted source on that subject.


Thought leadership is the way forward as it continues to integrate with content marketing and strategy. A thought leadership strategy doesn’t follow a rulebook. Everyone has a unique way of achieving their goals. What you do need is the right mindset to realize your full potential and let go of limiting beliefs.

Harappa Education’s Leading Self course will teach you how to assess your skills and understand how far you’ve come with frameworks like The Ladder of Learning. The Iceberg Model will teach you how to look beneath the surface and dig deeper to find out who you are and what you need, to become a successful thought leader.

Explore topics such as the Leadership TheoriesOpinion Leaders, the Behavioral TheoryServant LeadershipTransformational Leadership & Transactional Leadership from our Harappa Diaries section and lead on a path of self-development.

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