Thought leader is not a common term and chances are you are unfamiliar with it.
A thought leader is someone of authority in a specific field and whose expertise are respected. A thought leader’s opinions are often given high regard too. Everybody can become a thought leader, and you do not really have to do a course on how to be one. You just need thorough experience in your chosen field and excel at it. Soon, you will be respected as one. So what does it mean to be a thought leader when it comes to design? Simply put, you are a designer (any sort), you are well-versed with whatever you do and you are respected for it. Your opinions matter to people around you and they often seek your advice. That’s design thought leader for you.
Like I said, you do not need to take a course to become a thought leader and you definitely do not need any coaching. This particular article is specific to all you designers out there. There are certain traits that are very particular to thought leaders and that is what we will be discussing. Hopefully, it will better make you understand exactly How to Become a Thought Leader For Design.
5. Pursue Greatness
Well, first thing is first. You are into designing. You need to achieve greatness in that respective field. You can do that by creating work of excellent quality. Pursue quality, and you automatically become a leader in your domain. You are on a path to greatness automatically. If you are a poor quality designer, nobody is going to listen to you. There are instances when your opinions are not taken seriously but everyone can recognize a great design when they see one. This is a prime quality of a thought leader and there is no overstating this fact. There is always a possibility that the designers will not agree unanimously on anything, since they are picky and judgmental, but a great design is something they will never shy away from appreciating.
4. Be Visible
If you want others to notice you, you will want to stand out. And that is not only specific to your niche, youwill have to stand out in everything you do. If you are a web designer that does not mean that you are only supposed to stand out to the web designers, you should stand out to anybody who is remotely related to your industry. This includes product designers, software designers, and even print designers. Marketing yourself is important. If you think that you have marketed yourself enough, stop thinking and come up with strategies to market yourself even more. If no one in your industry knows you, you will never become a thought leader, however if you market yourself correctly you will.
3. Be Accountable
Credibility is important. You need to stand up to whatever you do and you have to take responsibility for it. In the end you will be the only one that is held accountable. If you are unable to build your credibility, no one will be listening to you. If you have great ideas make sure that you come forward with them. If you shout out your great ideas behind the curtains no one will ever know you, and no one will ever know you exist. People will ignore you in your industry or worse people will mock you. Rest assured that this does not mean that you have to be open about everything that crosses your mind, after all you need to maintain some integrity. If you are planning to build yourself a good reputation this is probably a bad idea. But if you think you have a good idea you need to make sure that others get to know them and they hold you accountable. You have to continue to raise the standards. That does not only apply to your work alone, but to the work of others as well. You need to make sure that you have interesting advice for your fellow peers. Sooner or later everyone will be aware that you are the one to be around and they will start respecting your ideas.
2. Have Opinions
You need to make sure that you are heard. You need to attend strategy meetings, and you need to make sure that you participate. This should not be a big surprise to anyone of you out there – you need to have an opinion about almost everything. That way, the designers around you will get to know you, and if you have an opinion that actually matters, and can make a difference, people will start to respect you. It does not matter if your opinion starts a controversy, it does not matter if it even hurts people. The fact still remains that the design industry needs to be challenged at all points in time. After all, it is the challenges that will give rise to new ideas for you and the designers around you.
This practice also increases competition and usually when the competition is increased performance also increases. One thing you need to understand is that if you have an idea and you send it out to people and if that idea makes them mad, you win, because that idea will make them think and that thinking will raise the bar. Designers are judgmental, they can even be a little harsh at times, but that is exactly the way you want your industry to operate. If your industry operated in a passive manner and started to accept everything people threw at them, nothing creative will ever come out of it. There is one thing that is called constructive criticism. It is the type of criticism that is bound to make you stronger and eventually become a more creative designer. If you seek to become a thought leader, there are chances that you will say stuff that will give rise to different controversies, there are also chances that other designers around you will set out to prove you wrong. But that is exactly where you know that you are on your way to becoming a thought leader.
1. Be Patient
You need to remember one thing, if you are pursuing something it will always take time. The things that take time require patience. Before you set out to pursue the path of greatness you should understand that you will need a lot of patience, for without it, you will fail while on your steady way. Also remember that when you are trying to build a reputation for yourself it will not happen overnight. It will not even happen over a month, or two months. The ones for whom this happens are lucky, but in pursuing the path to becoming a thought leader, you should not only count on your luck. Make a note of all the qualities that were mentioned in this article and be patient. Your time will come.