The other day I was introduced as a “thought leader.” As you can imagine, I was flattered, but I was also confused and amused. I was confused because I’m still not so sure what it means to be a thought leader, and I was amused because if I’m the one leading your thoughts you’re all in a lot of trouble.
I’ve been hearing this term “thought leader” for some time now, but never really sat down to explore what it means before today. Heck, I have some time.
What is a Thought Leader, Anyway?
As everyone knows, Google holds the power to reveals answers to all life’s little questions. So where else better to search for definitions of thoughts leaders than Google?
What I found out is that “thought leader” is another term for guru.
Again, I laugh.
In my experience, the folks who are doing the best thinking aren’t the ones screaming it from the mountain tops. They’re the quiet leaders who keep their thoughts to themselves and lead by their actions.
I’m anything but quiet and I’m certainly not a guru.
I’m not sure I like the idea of “thought” leaders. To me it’s saying that someone else is doing all the thinking for us. Right now is the best time to march to our own drummers and let our creativity shine through. With all the mediocre writing out there, who wants to think like everyone else?
I don’t want to be your thought leader, that’s too much of a burden to bear and I don’t want to be responsible for your thinking. Instead, I don’t mind being a thought encourager or a thought stimulator but to me “thought leader” conjures up images of poisoned Kool Aid. I kind of enjoy presenting ideas and scenarios for you to think about, I don’t want to dictate how you think.
Again, if I’m a thought leader, you’re all in trouble.