How to identify a thought leader

Thought leaders are recognized as an authority in their fields of expertise. When you want to learn something about a particular subject, these are the people you go to talk to, the ones whose opinions matter most. Thought leaders provide a lot of value, but how do you actually identify if someone is a thought leader or not?

With over 30 years of experience in the dentistry, I have learned many lessons from seasoned thought leaders. Many of them have empowered me to think deeper and to challenge the status quo. As dental students, it’s essential for you to find a thought leader who resonates with you both professionally and personally. Answering the following questions helped me identify my favorite thought leaders.

Are they passionate?

For me, the immediate characteristic I look for when identifying a thought leader is their passion for the field that they work in. People who are passionate about a subject are also knowledgeable about it. They are the people who are excited to discuss the ins and outs of their area of expertise and stay up all night talking about new ideas and theories relating to it. The importance of continuing education shows up here, and because they have an unrivaled passion, they’re likely to know about all the latest happenings.

Can they talk to and identify with the layman?

A thought leader should have the ability to speak with virtually anyone about the topic they’re knowledgeable about — not just to those who are a part of field. These people aren’t only skillful at explaining this information, but it’s also important that they can come off as natural and trustworthy so their audience will believe what they hear.

Do they see the big picture?

While having an immense amount of knowledge on the subject is important, they also need to be able to look beyond that as well. It’s simply not enough to just be an expert; they also must understand the industry or landscape they’re a part of. As a forward-looking thinker, a thought leader must understand the direction in which the organization and the field are heading, push the boundaries and press forward.

Thought leaders have many different traits and variations. These are just some of the more common ones. I encourage you to think of what you imagine a thought leader to be like in your field.

~Dr. Rick Workman, Founder and Executive Chairman of Heartland Dental

This content is sponsored and does not necessarily reflect the views of ASDA.

Heartland Dental

Heartland Dental, LLC is the largest dental support organization in the United States with over 950+ supported offices and 1600+ supported doctors. Based in Effingham, IL, Heartland Dental provides non-clinical support services to over 1,300 dentists.

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1 Comment

  1. Thought leaders can easily morph into role models to guide you in what you want to achieve. As you mention, a good thought needs to see the larger picture and be able to also engage to deconstruct the jargon in the industry when talking to lay people. The key take away for me a thought leader who is open minded and also adjusts to the changing technology and socio-dynamics while also being deeply knowledgeable in the industry.

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