The 5 Levels of Thought Leader

Thought leadership is a mental approach to your career, not a title you earn or bestow upon yourself. Everyone can become a thought leader with the right combination of consistency and curiosity. Most people think of thought leaders as the celebrities in their niche. The core of my thought leadership philosophy is to broaden its definition by categorizing the definition of thought leader into five levels.

Level 1 are the competent employees.

They’re known amongst management and their colleagues as being great at their jobs. They use social mostly at a personal level and maybe some passive use of LinkedIn.

Level 2 are the company experts.

They are known as go-to experts for their domains of knowledge within their company, but are barely known by the wider industry. More frequent passive user of LinkedIn than Level 1.

Level 3 are the industry experts.

They are often at the point in their careers where they monetize their expertise directly either as a freelancer or founder of their own business. If they are traditionally employed, they’re knocking on the door of the C-suite. They know they need to create thought leadership consistently to get their chance.

Level 4 are the creative-executives.

They are the C-suite executives and founders who already create for one platform and want to ramp up their content production and multi-platform visibility to start building wealth directly tied to their personal brands.

Level 5 are the celebrity executives.

These are the people you traditionally think of as thought leaders. They need a powerhouse content production team to maintain their positions atop their respective industries.

Having trouble figuring out your thought leader level?

Take this quiz!

Which Level of Thought Leader are You?

My core philosophy towards thought leadership revolves around this singular assertion: Everybody is a thought leader.

I've been doing some social listening within the thought leadership marketing space over the last few months, and from that research, I built my 5-level system of evaluating thought leaders.

This 10-question quiz will help you identify where you are on your thought leadership journey, and the results page will have a suggestion you can follow to help you get to the next level.