* indicates required

Leverage Your Career With Thought Leadership

With so many voices in the workforce, making a lasting impression in our careers is becoming harder. But by leveraging the power of thought leadership, you can stand out from the crowd and make a name for yourself in your community. In this article, I’m sharing my thoughts on thought leadership, personal branding, and the power of lifting others up in the process. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, these tips will help you build a career that stands out. 

What is Thought Leadership?

Thought leadership may sound like a lofty concept reserved for high-profile influencers, but it's something that anyone can practice in their everyday jobs. At its core, thought leadership is all about establishing yourself as a go-to person in your industry. It involves using your knowledge, insights, and expertise to offer guidance that helps your community grapple with challenges and solve problems.

Being a thought leader means going beyond sharing information, but also providing unique perspectives and original ideas that can shift the conversation and inspire change. It requires consistency and living with integrity, even when no one is watching. People naturally look up to thought leaders, viewing them as trustworthy and reliable

Where to start

If you find yourself struggling to come up with unique viewpoints, you’re not alone. Many of us are constantly inundated with information from social media, podcasts, news, T.V., radio, billboards — you name it. So how are we supposed to come up with original ideas?

Start by slowing down and observing what’s around you. Ask why things are the way they are in your industry or job. Is there a particular challenge or problem you think needs addressing? Can a process become more efficient? If so, these can be opportunities to showcase your innovative thinking. By speaking out about these issues and proposing potential solutions, you can demonstrate your unique perspective and insights that can help drive real change.

Another way to get started is to actively seek out opportunities to share your thoughts and insights with others in your field. This can include attending industry events, participating in online forums or webinars, or even just having informal conversations with colleagues. By sharing your ideas and engaging in thoughtful discussions and actively listening, you can build a reputation as a knowledgeable and insightful contributor in your field.

Leveraging Your Strengths

Being a thought leader doesn’t necessarily mean having all the right answers. It's about using your unique strengths and experiences to drive positive change in your industry or job. 

What strengths do you currently bring to the table? Maybe you’re ultra-dedicated to your work, showing up 15 minutes early every day and always the last one to leave. Perhaps you shine in all things interpersonal skills, charming everyone you come in contact with. To get your wheels turning, these are a few strengths often found in change-makers:

  1. Innovative: If you possess strong problem-solving or creative thinking skills, you can use them to innovate within your industry. By developing new products, services, or finding more efficient ways of doing things, your unique perspective can position you as a thought leader who stands out from the crowd.

  1. Relational: With great interpersonal skills, you can build relationships with others in your industry by networking, collaborating on projects, or mentoring others. Your ability to connect with people can help you establish yourself as a trustworthy and respected thought leader.

  1. Expertise: Is there a particular subject in your field that fascinates you? Spend time digging into the research. A deep understanding of a particular subject or industry can help you establish yourself as the go-to expert.

  1. Integrity: Living with integrity is often overlooked, but it's critical in establishing trust and credibility in any community. Consistently demonstrating that you're a person of character who can be relied on to do what's right, even when no one is watching, is especially valuable in an age where transparency and authenticity are highly valued.

Sarah reading Dare to Lead on couch

How Thought Leadership Builds a Personal Brand

No matter what your position is, thought leadership is particularly important in building a personal brand. Why? Because it helps build a career that extends farther than your current job. After all, jobs can be temporary, but you carry your reputation with you wherever you go. 

Building a personal brand can feel intimidating, but it's a natural part of becoming a thought leader in your industry. Your personal brand reflects your values, personality, and expertise, and it serves as a way for people to get to know you and what you stand for. When done well, your personal brand can help you build trust with your audience, attract new opportunities, and position yourself as a go-to expert in your field.

Start by defining your values and what you stand for. Think about what sets you apart from others in your industry and what unique insights or perspectives you can offer. Consider how you can showcase your skills and expertise through your work and interactions with others.

As an example, consider Brene Brown, a research professor, author, and public speaker. Her personal brand is centered around her expertise in vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and her mission to help people live wholehearted lives. But before she ever had the huge impact she does today, she was a research professor at the University of Houston, practicing leadership and vulnerability across all areas of her life.

Ultimately, be authentic and true to yourself. Don't try to be someone you're not or emulate others in your field who you “should be” like. Instead, focus on what makes you unique and use that to your advantage.

Lifting Others Up

In today's noisy and crowded world, there are plenty of loud voices vying for attention. But true leadership isn't always about promoting yourself and your own accomplishments; it's about lifting up others to be empowered to succeed. If you take anything from this article, please take this: leadership and lifting others go together. In fact, I would argue that lifting others up is leadership. 

When you try to lift others up, you not only get to learn from their experiences and expertise, but you also create opportunities for growth and innovation. By working together towards a common goal, you can achieve much more than you could alone.

Sarah standing by businesses in Erie, PA

What’s the Point? 

Consistency in your personal brand is important for establishing yourself as a trusted thought leader in your industry. This means living authentically and aligning your actions with your values, while embracing your unique qualities and insights. By doing so, you can find greater meaning and satisfaction in your work, while building a reputation based on integrity and earned trust.

At the heart of personal branding and thought leadership is the goal of finding confidence in who you are, and using your strengths and values to drive innovation and collaboration. By staying true to yourself and maintaining your sense of integrity, you can create a sense of clarity and purpose that guides your decisions and actions, while earning the respect of others. 

Remember to reflect on what matters most to you and what you want to achieve, and don't be afraid to pivot your focus as you learn and grow.

Making an Impact with Real Estate

I believe that being a real estate agent is about more than just buying and selling properties. It's about being a leader in the community, a thought leader in my industry, and most importantly, making a positive impact on the lives of my clients and the Erie community as a whole.

Thanks for taking the time to read some of my thoughts on thought leadership and personal branding. I’d love to hear what you think! Drop a comment below or shoot me a message through my contact page!