Thought Leadership is a position that is earned, not self proclaimed


On Wednesday in London, I’m delivering a masterclass to a group of senior marketers thanks to Freddie Ossberg and the Raconteur team on the subject of “Creating Thought Leaders”. It’s being held at the Shard Building in London.

I’m going to open with a discussion around the (overused) term “thought leader”.

I used to call myself one until someone I trust pointed out that just as you can’t call yourself an influencer, you can’t call yourself a thought leader — that is up to others to bestow on you.

I’m glad that I de-coupled myself from this self-appointed position because on reflection it is not my place to say if I am leading the thinking in a particular area. My thoughts and words need to be distinctive and valuable for others to think of me as a thought leader.

I’m interested in the opinions of those reading this post. First of all, do you have “thought leader” or “influencer” in your bio or LinkedIn profile? If you do — why?

Also, what are the criteria for someone to become a thought leader?

The masterclass will be an interesting one, and I’m going to be providing attendees with the good, and the bad about thought leadership, including content and examples they won’t find anywhere else from my own experience with the subject at large and small companies over the years.

I look forward to the comments and discussion below.



Andrew Grill - The Actionable Futurist®

The Actionable Futurist®. Former Global Managing Partner @ IBM. Proud Dad. TEDx & International Keynote Speaker. Aussie in London.