An interesting thing happened on the way to the office ….
Recently, on two occasions and in two separate environments, I heard the reference to teacher librarians as being thought leaders. Was this coincidence or something I should take notice of? I decided the latter and shared a few brief thoughts in several minutes at the opening of the K-12 Library Managers Congress at EduTECH. [Here is Joyce Valenza’s recall of the ‘TL=thought leaders (and light bulbs)’ from EduTECH.]
After this short sharing moment at EduTECH, I wanted to go deeper into this thought (excuse the pun!). So I put together a webinar, which I presented for Eduwebinar on Wednesday 24 June.
Here are some summary points. [P.S. The views and opinions are mine. Please consider, expand or change as you see fit.]
Thought Leaders are considered to be knowledgeable, authoritative sources of new ideas or intellectual trends, who are also the go-to people in their field of expertise.[A bit of background and history here via Wikipedia – Thought Leader, just in case you are interested.]
I considered thought leaders under four broad categories, based on work I have been doing with Talent Dynamics (talent assessment / analysis / profiling).
Category 1: Visionary / Innovator
They think intuitively; create value through innovation; ask the “what” question.
One little challenge they have is being impatient. Other folk are just too slow to pick up their big, bold ideas or to get excited and run with their grant innovation. They need other thought leaders with different talents in their team.
Examples of global visionary/innovative thought leaders: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Walt Disney, JK Rowling, Anita Roddick, Mark Zukerberg.
Category 2: Provocateur
They shine the light on others; leverage through people; ask the “who” question.
One little challenge they have is being a bit overbearing because they just know. A little bit ‘in your face’. Well, for some folk that’s how they are sometimes viewed. Again, they need other thought leaders with different talents in their team to help balance out the full-on approach.
Examples of global provocateur thought leaders: Oprah Winfrey, Barak Obama, Julian Assange, Germaine Greer, Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, Kerry & James Packer.
Category 3: Collaborator
They are very sensory; create value through knowing the right time to do something big; ask the “when” and “where” questions.
One little challenge they have is getting bogged down because they just want to make sure everyone is OK and that it is the right time to do it. They focus on using their senses and really want to know how people are feeling. You could probably say they are good at consulting as well. They need other thought leaders with different talents in their team to help them move things along. Steady as she goes.
Examples of global collaborators thought leaders: Warren Buffet, Gina Rhinehart, Nelson Mandela, Mahtma Gandhi.
Category 4: Problem Solver
These folk are into detail; leverage value through systems; ask the “how” question.
One thing they avoid is the limelight. Just give these folk some space and let them get on with the job. In fact, they don’t need lots of people around for them to make things work. They just need loads of information, data, statistics. Even so, they too need other thought leaders in their team, otherwise it is likely that no one will know what a genius they are.
Examples of global problem solver thought leaders: Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Henry Ford, Frank Lowy, Ray Kroc.
During the presentation we began to identify thought leaders within the education profession. Please feel free to add to the list at Education Thought Leaders [To add your education thought leaders, double click on the page and enter the information. The padlet page is now being moderated.]
To become a thought leader takes some time to develop the knowledge and expertise, status and presence. So there are some things you can do:
If you are interested in exploring your natural talent as a pathway to developing your knowledge and expertise as a thought leader, then check the options on our Talent Dynamics page.[Image: Free Photo: Education, A Good Idea, An Array Of – Free Image on Pixabay – 548105 : taken from – https://pixabay.com/en/education-a-good-idea-an-array-of-548105/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/]
Brosseau, D 2015, Thought Leadership Lab. Available at http://www.thoughtleadershiplab.com/Accessed 23 June 2015.
Church, M , Stein, S and Henderson, M 2012 Thought leaders: how to capture, package and deliver your ideas for greater commercial success, Thought Leaders Publishing, Balgowlah, NSW.
JALiving Now, ‘Thought leadership: what kind of thought leader do you want to be? Available at
http://jaomonline.com/jalivingnow/2014/11/12/thought-leadership-what-kind-of-thought-leader-do-you-want-to-be Accessed 1 June 2015.
Patel, N 2015, ‘9 things true thought leaders always do’, Thought Leaders. Available at http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246001 Accessed 23 June 2015.