This is the fifth post in our series exploring the various ways you can accelerate your career in your twenties. We’ve already covered risk taking, standing out, commitment and the importance of networking. Next on our list is thought leadership and how it can help you establish a firm footing on your climb to success.
What is thought leadership?
‘Thought leadership’ has become a bit of a buzzword these days, but don’t let that fool you. One of the best ways to build new relationships and earn respect from your peers is to share your knowledge and speak your mind. If you already manage your own team then the chances are you’re already in a unique position to do that, but even if you’re just starting out there’s plenty you can do. By far, one of the easiest ways to increase your authority in a given field is to utilise social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. Got some ideas about something newsworthy in your industry? Have you found a more efficient way of working that you wouldn’t mind sharing with people? Post about it! If you’ve got the time, you might even decide to go one step further and start up a blog where you can share your thoughts and give regular updates. You can do all of this on your own without any real input from your employer, and it’ll stand you in good stead if you ever decide to apply for a promotion or even start looking for a new role. If you’re committed to staying with your current company, why not state your interest in contributing to a company blog or newsletter? Consider it ‘free publicity’ - it will help you establish a name for yourself within the company.
Building your personal brand
Sharing your knowledge and considered opinions is a noble pursuit, but it’s not entirely selfless. It will position you differently in peoples' minds as someone who makes the extra effort and cares about what they do. It’s about building your own brand and nurturing your reputation, both in-house and for any prospective employers on the outside. You’re shaping your reputation and building an identity, post by post, and it’s bound to pay off in the long run.
How to get started
Of course, it’s all good and well posting social updates and writing articles, but you can’t be a thought leader without doing much thinking. That’s the hard part. Make sure you subscribe to a few publications relevant to your industry. Spend a few minutes each morning doing quick web searches and thumbing through information. Follow interesting people on LinkedIn and see what they’re talking about. All of this will inspire you to share your own opinions and give you the knowledge you need to back it up. From interesting statistics to new technology, everything can be a story if you think about it in the right way.