Considering the amount of content out there, and the constant fight to get heard amongst the crowd it's unsurprising that many people have aspirations of becoming a thought leader.
The question is... are you doing it for the right reasons?
Customers have claimed back control, and as a result it's no longer right for us to be shouting about ourselves and simply expecting people to listen. Establishing thought leadership certainly isn't about getting your sales pitch heard louder.
A thought leader is an authoritative voice on a specialised subject who has expertise which is looked to for inspiration. In other words, this is a person who has gained the trust of people in their chosen field by offering advice which is useful and an opinion which is valued. If this is undercut by an obvious aim of gathering more publicity for their upcoming book, or to get more clients to their business. Yes, these are potential outcomes of thought leadership, but they shouldn't be your initial motivation.
'Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers' - Simon Sinek
A full auditorium at a conference doesn't come from you telling people to come until they feel they have to, it comes of people believing that you're the best person to go to on that subject.
If one of your goals for 2016 is to establish thought leadership, then take a moment to consider if you're doing it to educate and ultimately engage with people in order to help them. If you aren't, maybe you should take another look.
So here’s the thing. If your agenda for thought leadership is to command an audience to market to, you should publish an infomercial. It would be authentic to your purpose, and is a medium that allows you to scream as loud as you like. But if you are interested in genuine engagement through writing and presenting, it will require a different frame of mind (and perhaps a new set of skills). Thought leadership advances your brand and your business by allowing you - To educate - To illustrate your very best capabilities, in a natural way - To keep your employees in a service frame of mind - To connect and engage with your audience, with authenticity and a genuine agenda to serve, in a way no other venue provides.