Until recently, I wondered if the term “Thought Leadership” was just another wanky term that had been concocted to serve some higher purpose of which I did not understand.
It was first introduced to me during my time working as a public servant and when we were all asked to define what we each thought the term meant, there were as many answers as there were people in the room!
I used to think about it a bit. I looked for true examples of what I call “Thought Leadership in Action” but realised there were very few people displaying what I could identify as true thought leadership.
Everyone seemed to be trying to protect some image of themselves or their organisation or their reputation- unable to really stick their neck out in a way that enabled them to display truly outrageously, courageous ideas leadership. Whose words and actions tip you on your ear, leaving you feeling challenged, disorientated and filled with more questions than answers.
And then I stumbled across a TED talk by a woman called Brene Brown and I realised that I was witnessing Thought Leadership in Action and I understood.
Brene Brown is a remarkable woman, who speaks her truth from the heart, despite this being one of her greatest challenges. She calls is “Daring Greatly” She is a psychologist/social researcher who has listened to thousands of people and shares some amazing insights and stories with her audience.
Brene talks about vulnerability. And she talks about shame. And the things that hold us back from leading full and authentic lives.
“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”
When I think about the leaders that inspire me and who I admire, I realise that it is not the most knowledgable and intelligent leaders that I feel most connected to , but the humble and honest leader that speaks from the heart, with fairness and authenticity.
For some of us, displaying vulnerability, or even admitting it to ourselves is a massive challenge. But as Brene explains in her video-
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
I encourage you to view her Ted talk- it might just change your life