Are You Making These Mistakes in Your Thought Leadership?

Joe Weinlick
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As a business professional, people turn to you for thought leadership based on your valued opinions and expertise within your field. Don't let this side of your personality go to waste by making these seven mistakes. Instead, embrace what it truly means to be a thought leader to achieve the outcomes you want for your personal brand.

1. Failing to Move Forward

Every journey requires a first step. Failing to take the first step into thought leadership makes it difficult to find others who share your ideas or opinions. Start small by posting your ideas to LinkedIn or social media. Continue sharing your thoughts and connecting with others to gradually deepen your relationships with others who think like you.

2. Coming Across as Inauthentic

Your personal brand must remain authentic for it to stand out. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Donald Trump all became top businessmen in their companies for different reasons, but all of them remained authentic to their personalities, goals and strategies to achieve success. Don't copy others, but create your own foundation for success.

3. Talking About Information Instead of Insight

Everyone can find information and compile data. What differentiates great thought leadership from ordinary management is how executives interpret the flood of data. Analyzing information produces insights, and those insights come from your expertise. People want your insights on important matters, not your impressive amounts of information.

4. Having an Imperfect Sales Pitch

When you have an imperfect sales pitch, you illustrate a disconnect between your industry and your thought leadership. Your personal brand's sales pitch should flow from your brain and your tongue because it's a huge part of your ingrained personality.

5. Failing to Ask the Right Questions

Thought leadership comes from asking what, how and why questions. When you don't ask questions constantly, your brand becomes stuck in a rut. Always ask questions such as "Why am I here?" and "How am I effective?" as well as "What am I building?"

6. Lacking Flexibility

You must be ready for change at all times, and when you refuse to evolve, your personal brand suffers. Even if you make a strategic plan for the upcoming year, if something changes in the middle of going through that plan, you also have to change. Although failing to plan is a leadership mistake, failing to alter your plan when necessary may make your personal brand harder to manage.

7. Thinking You're Always Right

Don't put on a persona that you're always right. Before you make that insightful analysis of data or decide to change your strategy due to unforeseen dilemmas, you must accept the circumstances as they present themselves. Rather than stick with your original hypothesis about how something should work, adapt and admit you were wrong as you alter your perspective.

Your thought leadership comes from several aspects of your expertise and personal brand. Don't let these seven mistakes diminish the intelligence and insights you bring to your career. Always keep learning and adapting to keep your personal brand fresh, new and invigorating.

Photo courtesy of [Ambro at


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