When they are 'self proclaimed'. And boy oh boy, if you type 'thought leader' into LinkedIn or Sales Navigator you will be spoilt for choice. You can do the same for 'world's leading' or 'best selling author'.
For today, let's stick with 'Thought Leader'. Sangram Vajre published his article back in 2017 when there was far less self-proclamation, imagine what a revised edition would be like!
I often get contacted and told I have won xyz award and it will only cost me £500,000 to receive it, or, would I like to be a judge for an award series for a measly £600,000. Or, and the one that bugs me most - I have been nominated for blah, blah, blah and to process my nomination a payment of £2,000,000 is required. The monetary amounts I've quoted are approximations....
My point is, it's all a nonsense as is being anything that is self proclaimed.
Back to thought leaders - I'm sat here chuckling away to myself - why? You ask. Well go on, ask me why?
Well, I have just checked out a number of 'thought leader' profiles on LinkedIn and imagine my surprise when most of them don't, if they have any at all, have a recommendation that's more recent than 2014.
I'll leave that with you......
PS. Feel free to shower me with recommendations :)
The term "thought leader" is an attribution, a compliment that is earned and given to you, not something you type in a bio that's self-ascribed. A thought leader is " someone who stands above subject-matter expertise and is an authority in their field."