6 Steps To Becoming A Successful Thought Leader

Dr. Steve
[note background=”#F0F0F0″]This is a guest post by Dr. Steve McSwain, an author,speaker and an incredible leadership coach. Please feel free to connect with Dr. Steve on Facebook, Twitter or Google+[/note] When you think “hamburger: what comes to your mind?
McDonalds? Perhaps.
What about “computers?”
Apple? Microsoft?

What about mobile phone providers?
…or, pizza? Lingerie? Airlines? Rental cars?

When I think of rental cars the first thing that comes to my mind is Hertz.

In marketing, this is called “positioning.” Basically, it means a company, corporation, or brand holds the primary “position” in the minds of consumers when it comes to a product, service or brand.

What more could a company desire than to possess the primary position in the minds of its potential customers?

The World’s Most Successful Thought Leaders

It is no so different when it comes to the world’s most successful thought leaders.

“What is a thought leader?” you ask?

“Who are the most successful thought leaders today?”

“How does one become a successful thought leader?

I’ll briefly answer each of these questions.

  1. What is a Thought Leader? A “thought leader” who holds the primary position in the minds of others regarding a particular field of expertise.  

    In other words, this person is the “go-to” person others look to for inspiration, motivation, advice or guidance, as well as creativity. These persons are generally regarded as game changers.

  1. Who is a Successful Thought Leader? The most successful thought leader is that person(s) who comes to your mind when you think of a particular service, expertise, product, program, or brand?

Try a little experiment. I’ll mention a product, service, or area of expertise. As I do, someone will likely pop into your mind. Even if you cannot immediately recall his or her name, the fact that their face appears on the screen of your mind means they hold the primary place of importance, or recognition, in your mind.

At the end of this article, I’ll return to the quiz and give you the names of those persons who appeared first in my mind when I thought about each of the categories below. Check your mental responses with mine. I suspect we will discover many of our responses are similar.

Ready? Here goes:

  • Wall Street? ___________
  • Rock N Roll? ____________
  • Spiritual Leader? ___________
  • Civil Rights? ___________
  • Global Warming? _________
  • The Internet? __________
  • Outer Space? Astronomy? _________
  1. How Might I Become one of the World’s Successful Thought Leaders? Of course, not everyone can hold the same position equally, precisely because opportunities do not come to each of us equally.

However, it is possible to raise your level of recognition as a successful thought leader…so that you become at least one of the primary “go-to” persons others turn to for inspiration, guidance, and/or service.

Below, I have outlined six steps to becoming a successful thought leader. Follow these steps and see what happens:

1. The world’s successful thought leaders make thought leadership a conscious, daily choice.

That is to say, if you wish to be a thought leader, you must consciously, as well as strategically, make this your conscious, daily intention. Which means, practically speaking, you must let go of anything that does not contribute to this objective.

2. Thought leaders are notoriously skeptic, but not in a negative way.

Their default position is to doubt most things and to question everything. Which is why they are where they are. You don’t get anywhere without questioning where you are at any time. 

Questioning things comes easy for me.

For example, I was driving down the interstate recently when an ad came on the radio. A psychic was advertising her services and asking those with problems to call her. She had answers to their life questions.

My first thought was, “If you’re so psychic, wouldn’t you know who had a life problem and call them?”

3. Thought leaders never confuse who they are with who they aren’t.

You cannot be an expert in everything. So become one in one thing. My leadership mentor, for example, is John Maxwell.

I’m a founding member of his world wide organizational training institute for Professional Leaders, Speakers, and Coaches.

While I know John personally and know he’s knowledgeable and wise about many things, he is known around the world as one of the top ten leadership gurus in the world.

How did he acquire that position? By not trying to be all things to all fields of inquiry. He is a thought leader in leadership. That’s all you’ll see or hear him speak or write about.

4. Thought leaders promote their specialized expertise across multiple platforms.

Virtually all of John Maxwell’s books, many of which are New York Times Bestsellers, are all about leadership development.

But Maxwell also regularly blogs, tweets, and uses any and all platforms upon which to maintain his position as a thought leader. His tweets are tweets for scores of others.

That may be one of the ways of knowing you’ve become a thought leader in an area of expertise – when others are tweeting the things you say.  Utilize any and all platforms available to you.

If you don’t regularly blog, you just do so. Again, there are ways of doing this, and ways it should not be done, that will maximize your presence on search engines like Google. If you do not know the “do’s and don’ts” you must find someone who does. I recommend one later who is my “go-to” person for this.

5. Thought leaders remember also to connect with others to engage and encourage

As you use the available platforms to get yourself and your expertise “out there,” so to speak, remember also to connect with others by encouraging their comments and responding when they do.

For example, when I got invited by the Huffington Post to be one of their frequent bloggers, I was amazed.
Early on, however, I did not know just how important it was to interact with those who commented on my blogs. I would frequently read their comments but I was generally too busy to respond to their responses.

Then, one day, I learned the importance of responding. One of my “go-to” persons had written a blog and I left a comment. I never expected a response from this person, as he was a huge presence in the world of spirituality and I would never have guessed he would respond to me. But he did.

Today, I not only respect him but I regard him. I’m sure it was the time he took to respond that did it for me. Today, I try much harder to diligently respond to others and not just to enhance my position. I have made many new friends by doing so.

6. Finally, thought leaders make it a practice to practice the five steps above.

There are only so many places at the top. The reality is, most of us will never occupy them either.

What is real, however, is the possibility of becoming a successful thought leader in your own area of expertise. If you’ll make it your practice to practice the steps above, you’ll soon reap the benefits. Of that much, I’m sure.

Now, are you ready to go back to the little quiz above? See how frequently you thought of the same persons as I did.  Leave a comment about who you think are some of the thought leaders that I might not have mentioned. I’d love to hear from you and get your insight in the subject of the world’s successful thought leaders.

Wall Street?  I thought of Warren Buffett. What about you? Actually, however, Gordon Gekko came to my mind, too. Remember him? He was the infamous Wall Street tycoon played by Michael Douglas in the blockbuster by the same name, Wall Street. The fictitious billionaire who made famous the statement: “Greed is good.” Maybe, however, you thought of Bernie Madoff, the stockbroker and financier who fraudulently misled thousands of investors in what is perhaps the largest Ponzi scheme in Wall Street’s history. Madoff is now serving a 150-year prison sentence.

It is even possible to hold the primary position in the minds of the public for being something less than an exemplary leader. Yet, think about this: suppose Bernie Madoff gave a talk or wrote a book on “How Not to Be Swindled by Shrewd, but Unscrupulous Stockbrokers” – would you read it? I might. If anybody would know about dishonest, but shrewd stockbrokers who manipulate the market and swindle others, wouldn’t that be Bernie Madoff?

Thought leadership is as much about the legacy you leave as it is the life you live. In fact, I have often said, although I’m probably just repeating what I’ve heard others say, “the life you live is the legacy you leave.” It’s so true, isn’t it?

I suspect Madoff is thinking this a great deal these days.

He should.

Rock n Roll?  I thought of The Beatles? They still hold the position in my mind, anyway. But then, I’m a product of the 60’s.

I also pictured and The Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger flailing about on a big stage like a drunk and awkward long-leg spider. If you are younger, maybe you thought of U2 or Cold Play. This one is a little harder for me.

Spiritual Leader? The person who came to my mind was the Dalai Lama. How about you? Maybe you thought of Jesus or the Buddha or even someone like Billy Graham. Until a few years ago, I might have, too. Not so much anymore, however.

Civil Rights? That one is easy. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Global Warming? That one is probably easy, too. Right? I thought of Al Gore.

Internet? I thought of Steve Jobs. I know he no more invented the Internet than did Al Gore. But I suspect, when many people think of the Internet, the World Wide Web, computers, or smartphones, they think of Steve Jobs.

The Cosmos? Up until just recently, I would have automatically thought of the now-deceased Carl Sagan. Since the remake of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, however, I just as quickly thought about Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sagan’s protege.

How’d you do? Did we think of some of the same thought leaders?

When it comes to thought leaders in the world of technology, business innovation, I find myself thinking of Kumar Gauraw.

He has done more to enhance my website and provide insightful guidance to the vastly complex and constantly changing Google world, as well as that mysterious thing known as the SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, than anybody I know.

I have only about a thimble’s worth of knowledge of these things. But, what I do know is that every thought leader who wishes to be so, or remain so, must either be an expert in such matters or have a “go-to” person who can assist in this.  Kumar is my “go-to” person. Who’s yours?

Everyone who wants to be one of the world’s successful thought leaders can be, even if your real “world” will never be as large as, say, Warren Buffet’s world or Bill Gates’ world. Mine sure isn’t and it won’t ever be. And, that’s OK.

When it comes to spirituality, however, interfaith and diversity activism…when it comes to congregations across all denominational lines, I have become one of the “go-to” persons, largely because I regular write, blog, counsel, and speak across the country to companies, corporations, and congregations seriously seeking change…seeking, as I am to Create a More Conscious, Compassionate and Charitable world.

You can, too.

I love the way Denise Brosseau puts it. A thought leader in her own right, Brosseau demonstrates what I’m saying with an interesting image.
A picture needs no comment, does it? There is a lion in all of us. Remember this when you look in the mirror tomorrow morning.

Your Turn Now, Share Your Thoughts

Thank you for reading and responding. If you’ve found this article interesting or helpful, share it with others. At the least, leave a comment. I’d love to know what you’re thinking about successful thought leaders and thought leadership in the 21st century.

Dr. Steve

Posts Twitter Facebook

He is a Speaker, a Maxwell-certified Leadership Coach, an Award-winning Author, a Counselor to Non-Profits, Faith-based Organizations and Congregations. Dr. Steve is also an Adjunct Professor of Communication at the University of Kentucky and a Spiritual Mentor and Interfaith Teacher.

47 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...

  1. Hello Dr. Steve,

    First of all, thank you very much for taking time from your extremely busy schedule to put together this wonderful and educational post for my readers.

    These simple steps can help anybody to raise their level of thinking and to become a successful start leader.

    I am honored to know that my name does come to your mind when you think of web development, WordPress and hosting. That is an amazing feat for me and my company. I really appreciate you for your kind mention of my name among thought leaders.

    I especially enjoyed your questioning of that psych who was asking people to call her to get a resolution for their problems. It’s amazing how many thugs are running their shop using similar methods.

    Thanks again and you have a wonderful brand you week!


    • My pleasure, Kumar. I am honored to post from your amazing site and for your many readers, followers, and colleagues. Leadership is a hot topic today. Maybe the most popular subject about which people blog. Yet, the irony is, in spite of all the talk about leadership, we may be experiencing a time in our history when the deficit of leadership is at its greatest. I hope readers will find something here they can apply to their own lives to help erase that deficit. Thanks for your comments. Have a “leader” kind of day, my friend.

  2. Your article above is both thought provoking and a call to response. Now more than ever people need “go to” people, role models, exemplars, authentic, truthful persons whose main purpose is to inspire and engage. We need people who challenge us to at least contemplate a virtuous life of commitment to excellence. Thanks to you and folks like Steve McSwain who open up hearts and minds to new possibilities

    • Thanks Jon. I wish you well in all your leadership.

  3. Thank You Dr. Steve for taking the time to be a guest on Kumar’s blog.

    I must tell you that I savored every word you have written. I like the coined term “Thought Leader” because to be a leader, one must not only have skills and knowledge, but be living and thinking as a leader. It is like a mind shift whereby you see things all around you through the eye of “leadership” As you mention in #1 a thought leader must make it a conscious daily intention. Indeed, we need to have that mindset and put our blinders on to anything that may get us distracted.

    We have to always be questioning. When I read that one, I resonated with it because it does come easy for me too. I’m always questioning things around me when I encounter them. It’s that mindset again!

    I especially resonate with #3 because “Thought Leaders” never confuse who they are and who they aren’t! Such sage advice. When we understand who we really are, our values, convictions, etc. it is the only way we can ever lend a hand to another person.

    That little quiz you gave us sure illustrates who we are and what we are known for. That is the biggest hurdle for our objective. We must know that if we were in one of those questions, our name could be the answer.

    Just like when I think of a thought leader that knows technology as well as business innovation, I too say Kumar!
    If it wasn’t for Kumar in my life, my business would be lagging.

    Thank you Kumar for having this wonderful guest!


    • Wow! Such nice comments from you Donna Merrill. Thanks for your thoughtful read of my guest post with Kumar. I wish you well in your leadership training and at your website “Ready for Success” http://donnamerrilltribe.com/

  4. Wonderful post Dr. Steve and very nice to “meet” you.
    Kumar – what a gift to read this guest post on your blog!

    Thought Leadership is such an important topic in our over stimulated information flooded world. John Maxwell certainly lives what he preaches. I had the honor of listening to him live in small gathering 3 times in the past few years. He is truly who he is. Though his books are phenomenal, I must say that seeing him in person solidifies so much of his teachings in a very short time!

    The steps you list Dr. Steve are simple yet profound. They require that each person aspiring to a leadership role – or a “known brand” must step fully into all that they are and all that they offer. A true leader is so very much like that wonderful image you shared of the cat looking in the mirror and seeing the lion. We all have a lion within – often hiding behind fears, doubts, “what-ifs”.

    People are not searching for thought leaders who are perfect or infallible. They are looking for those who stand boldly within their core values and messages. Anyone can be that person when they let go of old stories that hold them back and/or block their full essence!

    Thank you for this thought provoking post Dr. Steve and nice to meet you again.

    • I completely agree Deborah. Thanks for your comments and additional thoughts. I think you summarized it well. What people want today…indeed, what people need today are “authentic leaders.” Real leaders who live from that deep, inner part of their being – where all the masks and roles and ego-stuff are all removed. This kind of leader people can relate to. This kind of leader will always have followers. Thanks Deborah. Nice to meet you too.

  5. Hi Dr. Steve and Kumar,

    I’ve always regarded in high esteem any type of thought leader, because it is so easy to just be brain washed by our society and think like the rest of the other million people in our country or continent, isn’t it? I’ve always been on the side of the rebel.

    Since I was a child I was someone who didn’t just swallow stuff. Yes, I doubted everything I was told, and dared to think different a lot. Problem is that more times and not, as a child, this didn’t always brought me the approval of adults around me, but today, I know better and I consider this as a pure blessing that I’m so grateful for. I realize that not every one is a thought leader. The world is sadly full of sheep, and one can only be thankful when they tend to get out of the herd.

    Thank you for sharing this great post at Kumar’s blog 🙂

    • Thank you Sylvia. Sometimes, I use the words “thought leader” and people respond with the proverbial “deer in the headlights” look. Lately, as a consequence, I have been thinking of devoting an article, a blog, to the subject of “What Is the ‘THOUGHT’ in Thought Leaders Today?” I need a better title. Have one you would suggest? Thanks for your comments here, too. Glad to meet you. Connect with me at my own website, if you’d like and on the social media sites. Have a blessed day, too.

  6. Hi Steve, Welcome to Kumar’s Den! 🙂

    This was a good post about thoughts leaders.

    I’d say thought leaders have a very refined and advanced thought process. And the successful thought leaders are able to bring people in line with their thoughts, align their minds to their own mind, or impress and influence them to follow.

    As you asked for some of the world’s successful thought leaders, I’d say you need to make categories in this aspect. While the spiritual leaders like the Pope and politicians like India’s Narendra Modi can be called good thought leaders, there are thought leaders who perpetuate thoughts that provoke people and make them do things that hurt others. But these thought leaders also exhibit all the qualities of a successful thought leader.

    Terrorism? What do you think of? Such thought leaders too have millions of followers. So, I guess it comes down to being helpful, meaningful, and useful to be a real successful thought leader. But then we all will have different criteria of gauging success.

    I agree that the more you present and project yourself, the more successful you are and probable to become a thought leader. I like your aim to create a more conscious and better world. That means more to me than a thought leader who has millions of followers but lacks in meaningful contribution to the world.

    I like your six step to become a successful thought leader and its true that to become a leader, you need to come out and make efforts to lead, make it your daily choice and constitution, minute by minute, and thought by thought, and keeping yourself anchored in self-belief and self-confidence.

    Thanks for making people think, I guess that’s what thought leaders do. I enjoyed your post, thanks for writing it and thanks Kumar for hosting Steve on your blog.

    • Vinay, a little more clarity on my part would be useful here. Thanks for the suggestion. It is true that leadership is influence and, because it is, that influence can be toward something not so wholesome, even evil. Although this is technically what leadership is and, as such, could be applied in many different contexts, I would not, just as you would not, condone this kind of leadership. I truly thank you for your comments and agree I, too, am grateful to Kumar for hosting my blog for his readers. Have a most blessed day.

  7. Hi Steve,

    What an awesome share here on Kumar’s blog and boy did he pick a great guest to write on this topic. Shall I say I’m pleased to meet you and just from what I’ve read here about you, I’m honored too.

    I LOVE the term “thought leader” and if I can say that in our own little online world, I know several that stand out to me when I think of certain things. Gosh, I hope I stand out to some people on the topic of building online relationships. I’m hoping to spread my wings even more in the coming months and hopefully reach even more people. But with your quiz, that’s world wide and I doubt I’ll ever reach that big of an audience. One can hope though right!

    I was going through your list of the qualities that thought leaders have and I don’t necessarily doubt everything but I do question things a lot. I had to laugh though at your example of the psychic though! It doesn’t exactly work that way. I wish it did. LOL!!!

    I definitely agree with the engaging and was happy to hear that it was a lesson learned. That’s my area of expertise if I say so myself and it’s benefited me greatly.

    Your quiz was fun but I did have a few other answers in mind. The Rolling Stones definitely topped the Beatles but I loved them too. 😉

    I really appreciate what you shared here Steve and it gave me a few more things to think about. I love when that happens too!

    You guys have a great rest of your week and it was again a pleasure to meet you.


    • Thank you Adrienne. Your comments are undeserved but highly appreciated. I write much about leadership and interfaith spirituality. I’ve written an award-winning book, The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God. It was tied in 2011 with another book for the coveted award, “Most Inspirational Book of the Year” in the IndieBook awards at the Global Book Expo in NYC. Had they let me vote, it wouldn’t have been a tie. LOL! Glad to connect with you Adrienne. Friend me on FB if you’d like, too, and Twitter @DrSteveMcSwain Have a blessed evening.

  8. Hi Dr Steve,

    I was surprised by a certain paragraph… you’ll see which one soon… Do you think that the positive perception of a singular person or of a tiny group of people about X or Y makes X or Y a thought leader?

    Next step… I hope Kumar won’t hate me for it, will you, Kumar? 🙂 Here it is… Ask 1000 random people who is a thought leader in the fields of “technology, business innovation” or SEO. Will someone answer, “Kumar”? Then ask 20 experts in the fields mentioned above the same question. Will someone answer, “Kumar”?

    Let me tell you the answer to the last two questions from the previous paragraph: nope. So… what are we talking about here? In marketing, positioning refers to masses, large groups of people. Not to one person or 30 persons. Don’t you think? Isn’t the same applying to “leadership”?


    P.S. Real fact: When it comes to computer programming, my sister who knows way much more than me is a goddess to me.

    Does this simple appreciation make her a thought leader in the field of computer programming? I’m not a noob myself, and she’s good indeed. But she isn’t a thought leader – she won’t hate me for this, Kumar! There’s no reason 😉

    Or maybe I misunderstood this whole concept. Is that so?

    • Technically, you are absolutely right Adrian. There are two ways, however, to view a “thought leader.” One is, every thought leader is recognized by others as the “go to” person in a particular field – he/she holds the “position” in the minds of followers as the “go to” person. As that volume of persons advances, your “clout” as a “thought leader” does so as well. That is the approach I’ve taken with this post.

      But there is a second important thing to remember about “thought leaders.” They all must start somewhere in order to reach the finish line, so to speak, which, in the example I provide, is that coveted “position” as the one thought leader most people think about when they think of that particular field.

      Let me give you an example. My personal leadership trainer was John Maxwell. Clearly, Maxwell, more than any other author in the world, has written and spoken about leadership with more NY Times bestsellers than any other person in human history. Period. Clearly, he holds the position as the world’s most notable leadership guru. Go to any Search engine, type in the words “Leadership Guru” and Maxwell will invariably appear in virtually every top 5 list.

      Yet, and this is the irony, whenever I ask people who is the most recognizable “leadership guru” in today’s world, many do not mention or think of him at all. They’ll respond with Marshall Goldsmith or Dale Carnegie or Ken Blanchard. Interesting.

      I regard myself, and so do many others, as a “thought leader” when it comes to “spirituality” “interfaith advocacy” “the decline of American Christianity” etc. Do I hold the “position” as the “go to” person by everyone?

      NOT YET! LOL!

      • Thank you for the explanation 🙂 I would add two things…

        1) That approach of searching for “leadership guru” in Google and other SE is wrong. Whether for some wordings you get “the right” answer or not, the approach is still wrong. I won’t develop this topic, but what you get from search engines isn’t always a qualitative answer, especially when you don’t ask the right question. The search engines aren’t experts in our “human” fields. They use algorithms and other people opinions. The algos include the freshness factor for example. These days people talk more frequently about Grisham than Shakespeare, but…

        Maybe you got my point. Add to the above the fact that the results are more or less manipulated (via the algos themselves, but also by SEO-ers), and you’ll get the whole picture. So I suggest that you forget about such examples. Let Kumar manage the SE part 😉

        2) Holding ‘the position as “go to” person by everyone’ is hard, I never suggested it as the only possible ‘definition’ in my previous comment 😉 One of the reasons for being so hard is that not all the ‘voters’ are educated. So don’t be surprised that some people will tell you that the leadership guru is Messi. Another reason is that many fields have more leaders than one. So, I and a large group of people think that the best basketball player is X, and you and another large group of people think that the best player is Y. That’s perfectly fine and realistic. However, if Kumar comes and says that the best player is Z while almost nobody heard of Z, well, that’s … well… you know I mean, don’t you? This is what I was referring to 😉

        It’s about large groups of people, not about everyone in the city. Well, I may be the leader of my house of 3 persons, but I think here we’re talking about another type of leadership, aren’t we? 🙂

        • Hi Adrian,

          You already have developed the topic (speaking of your intention of not developing the topic) and here are a few things I will add from a little that I have understood about this topic.

          I think you misunderstood the concept Dr. Steve has tried to explain here. Perhaps you are looking at it from only a marketing perspective and so the conflict of thought process.

          When Dr. Steve says he Googled on “Maxwell”, he didn’t mean this is the only way to establish John Maxwell’s authority as a “leadership guru”. He also mentioned that John has more NY times bestsellers than anybody else in the world. The question is not what Google shows. It is a fact that John is the most recognized and followed leadership coach walking on the planet today.

          However, it is also true that there are so many people who have never heard about him. Will they ever recognize him? Yes, his popularity is yet to catch up with them. Eventually they will.

          Now, speaking of me and your sister. The idea of the post is not about Klout. The idea is not about how many people in the world are thinking about your sister when it comes to technology. But, will somebody recognize her as a thought leader in her domain of knowledge whenever they come in contact with her?

          Let me give you another example.

          Everybody knows Mother Teresa. She died famous. However, she didn’t do marketing and SEO for her fame. She lived like a thought leader from day one when nobody knew her. Her life was an incredible example of living with compassion back when nobody knew her and it remained the same when entire world recognized her and respected her. It’s not about Klout. It’s about how you think, how you act and how you serve others around you.

          When your Klout catches up, may be, the masses will know you just like many people, sometimes within your lifetime, sometimes after you are gone. But, that is not the goal. The goal is to live a life of leadership. Lead your life and not just exist.

          Hope it helps clarify a couple of things 🙂


          • Hi Kumar,

            1) I guess you misunderstood the point of my second comment item 1. Here’s the point, related to logic (and math).

            If you start from a false assumption, by using only true & correct operations you can prove a true conclusion. That’s a wrong approach to prove a true thing. You (Dr Steve in this particular case) should start from a true hypothesis, use only true & correct operations and prove the true conclusion. If you want to argue with this, I’m the wrong person, argue with the mathematicians.

            The false assumption from Dr Steve’s comment was that if you google “leadership guru” you get a qualitative result. The reality shows that for that type of search most of the times you get junk because of the algo and SEO. So the results shouldn’t be used in order to prove one point or another. On the second hand, the user should know how and what to search for. Search for “best cars” and see what you get. You’ll never get “the result” because that’s a wrong search question.

            2) The largest part of your reply is related to Klout. No, thanks, I didn’t get your point. Klout is junk, I use it only for scheduling purposes. Have you noticed any reference to Klout in my previous comments? Wrong assumption.

            3) If you think that you’re a though leader when it comes to SEO or other things mentioned there, that’s fine with me. Just disregard this comment. It seems that I’m quite forced to add something unpleasant…

            If I’m invited in someone’s house (that’s not about me, I wasn’t invited here any way), I am polite but I’ll never tell the host that he’s the leader of the free world or similar … Do you want me to write here my list of famous names, I don’t know, Napoleon, G. Washington, and then add at the end – as if there’s nothing weird – your name? You know me, I won’t do it.

            Sure, the leadership concept is hard to be understood by some people. So, don’t worry, I misunderstood everything. I was just trolling and trying to get some attention. Marketing stuff, right? Sorry, I’m out of here and I’ll try to never repeat it.


            P.S. As for my sister… Sorry, but I had a good laugh reading that part of your comment. If someone succeeds to make another person believe that the first one is a leader in his field, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. That’s why I kept talking about larger groups. One or two persons can be fooled (by themselves not necessary by the false leader) and they may think one false thing or another. But it’s harder when it comes to a larger group. It’s harder for a whole large group to be wrong. That’s not marketing. Still math, logic and things alike.

            Finally, if the second person from my PS example isn’t fooled, but it’s the only one who thinks that the first one is a leader in a certain area… Is that first person a leader? Even if only 1, 2 or 10 people acknowledge it (but the rest don’t do it)? So is this article about that type of leadership that refers to me as being the leader of my house?

            Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Carl Sagan and… myself. Right? Wrong. It’s Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Carl Sagan and … YOU. That’s correct. Search on Google and you’ll see.

  9. Hello steve for an awesome share and for an inspirational post

    • Thank you Nitin. I am glad to meet you and appreciate you reading and responding to my guest post. Connect with me wherever you’d like.

  10. Hello Kumar and Dr. Steve,

    This is glad to meet you Dr. Steve here. You have shared here some great and unique topic. I really enjoyed reading here.

    The all 6 steps, you mentioned about thought leadership are really mindful. I have learned some great points here. Thanks for sharing with us. I would also look forward to read John Maxwell’s books.

    Thanks Kumar for introducing Dr. Steve here. I really liked the way he writes.
    Have an amazing day both of you.

    • Thanks Nisha. Your comments are certainly appreciated. It has been a pleasure to guest post on Kumar’s site and with his amazing community. I wish you well and hope to connect with you on all media fronts. Have an enlightened day, my new friend.

  11. Hello,

    I’m really happy to read this awesome post from Dr. Steve and I guess you’ve shared some inoperative tips for becoming successful leader.


    • Samir, thank you so much. Feel free to connect with me on FB and social media wherever you’d like. Glad to make your acquaintance. Have a successful life.

  12. Great post! It’s another learning method about these 6 steps to becoming a successful thought leader. This article is very helpful and useful to become a Leader. I learned and many great ideas here and its very practical and easy. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thank you Sarah. Glad you enjoyed the article. Connect with me, if you’d like, via the varied social platforms. Have a great day.

  13. It is also important to decide whether you will be posting once per day or per week, and commenting in between. Find a routine and stick to it and you will find out who your main followers are, because they will be on the look out for you when you post.

  14. Just want to Say after reading this i Am feeling So excited and Focused. Motivated.
    Thankyou For Sharing Sir.

    • Thank you Ajay. Glad you enjoyed the post. And, thanks to Kumar for inviting me to post on his amazing site and for his equally amazing colleagues and friends.

  15. Hello Dr. Steve,
    Second time i got an interesting post on this site. 🙂
    What a well written post indeed.
    I like and enjoy a lot while i use to read this article…
    Thanks …………..

  16. Hi Steve,

    Utterly interesting article here.

    Positioning is what makes for being a successful thought leader. All the classical examples you did mention have one thing in common: they positioned themselves well…extremely too well (for the ‘competition’s liking).

    However, Steve, it is my belief that being a successful thought leader also has to do with being on the scene earlier and utilizing this advantage to your benefit. What do you think?

    Make the day great!


    • Thank you Terungwa. Well, getting there soon can help you. I agree. My mother used to tell me, “The early bird gets the worm!” She was right. So are you. Have a blessed day and thanks for your comments.

      • That was certainly genius advice and I cannot but completely agree with it…such time tested wisdom!

        Be certain to make the day great!


  17. Hi Dr. Steve,

    I have studied leadership for nearly 20 years now and like most, I just can’t get enough… lol.

    I have always loved the concept of thought leadership. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that people don’t buy stuff… they buy ideas. Especially for those of us who are consultants, coaches, writers… etc.

    It really does go back in many ways to one of the first books I ever read years ago from John Maxwell titled “Developing the Leader Within” when he explained that leadership is the idea of influencing others.

    Influence only happens through ideas and hence all of us ought to be inspired by your article to consider how are we influencing others through ideas that lead to audiences who want to buy us.

    I really appreciate your article Dr. Steve!

    Can you believe it’s already the weekend before Thanksgiving? I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family!

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Don your words are very kind and I thank you for sharing them here. Yes, Maxwell was my personal mentor and trainer. Enjoy his friendship very much. I hope the two of us become great friends, too. Keep up the good work. Blessed Thanksgiving, too.

  18. Hello Dr. Steve,
    I Think Once you’ve established your weaknesses or areas that need improvement, it’s time to get the help you need to improve. Recognizing your shortcomings and taking steps to improve them helps you to grow as a leader.

  19. Hi Kumar,
    Absolutely great inspirational story and i too believe that if we keep thinking that we can create unique and refresh ideas which is very important today to bring more and more traffic to our blog. Those points will really inspire us to be more creative and thinking personality..

    Ovais Mirza

    • Ovais, thanks so much for your kind words and your response here. I hope you found the article to be informative and inspiring. Have a wonderful holiday.

  20. Totally different presentation.Thought leaders make more money and have more influence than their industry peers and if you’re really here to make an impact, you’re going to need influence and more income to make sure your message really gets out there to the people who need you.

  21. Hello Steve,

    It’s really great to see you here on Kumar’s blog and I must say you’ve shared some wonderful points about how to become a successful leader. I’d love to bookmark this post.


  22. Successful leaders have no recipe. Life give you challenges and you would need to take them.

  23. It’s another learning method about these 6 Steps To Becoming A Successful Thought Leader. This article is very helpful and useful for those who want to be a leader. I learned and many great tips here. Thanks for sharing the article. Great post!

  24. This step by step article is really good!
    I think focus on reading, listening, watching and learning.
    Thanks for this article!!!

  25. I wonder if leaders were born as such, or they get cultivated in the process of life. Anyways, some people have the qualities to be leaders, and others are just meant to follow.

  26. Thank you for sharing this great six tips of becoming a great thought leader.

Please Note: My goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. Therefore, I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.