A Thought Leader is an individual in a given industry who is looked upon and admired for their vision and their success in their field. Thought Leaders think outside the box, yet are comfortable operating within the system. They are innovators and are rarely satisfied with what they have achieved when they know there is more out there. Thought Leaders don’t just generate ideas; they act on them.
The question then is “Can a financial advisor be a Thought Leader?” The answer is, yes. Thought Leadership is not confined to any one industry or field. Thought Leaders can exist in any company or firm. The next question is “How does one become a Thought Leader?”
Being a Thought Leader isn’t as simple as branding yourself as one. Calling yourself a Thought Leader is not a marketing gimmick. Any form of leadership requires action and results. Thought Leadership is an asset. It’s something tangible you bring to the table. It’s why your clients trust you. It’s why your peers in the financial industry seek out your advice.
Thought Leaders possess natural leadership abilities, but you can learn to be a great Thought Leader by developing a few characteristics.
Listen to the ideas of others. Thought leaders are good listeners. They are open to new ideas, and they pay attention to the concerns of their partners, employees, and clients. They can take in a lot of information, but they also have good filters. They can separate the great ideas from the mediocre.
Educate yourself. Thought Leaders are always learning. They are aware of the newest trends and concepts in the financial industry, while also being able to decipher what has lasting power and what may be a passing fad. They know what makes sense because they know their industry. Thought Leaders don’t just ask questions; they find the answers.
Be accessible. Thought Leaders are open. They are approachable. Thought Leaders understand the value of networking — and not just with the most important person in the room. A good Thought Leader understands the value of all relationships, even if they may not know what their value is yet.
Be Credible. Do what you say you’ll do. Don’t promise more than you can deliver. Don’t be someone who talks a good game, but does not possess the resolve to see things through to the end. Only by doing this, will your clients learn to trust you. Once you have earned their trust, the reputation you develop afterwards will be its own marketing tool and will extend to your peers as you become a valued part of the financial advising community.
Assemble a Great Team. Thought Leaders are leaders because they have followers. They have a great team behind them. They surround themselves with good people who influence and inspire each other.
Thought Leaders exist in all areas of business. The good ones let other people apply the labels while they lead by example.
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