Why These Three Are Thought Leaders

I posted yesterday about Thought Leadership. I referenced three leaders I’ve used with clients as examples of Thought Leadership. Today, I realize I should give you a fast explanation as to why William Sherman, Theodore Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr are, in my view, examples of Thought Leaders. Read on–this will just take a moment–it’s possible you’ll see them in a rather different light than before.

William Sherman was an American military general who fought on the Union side of the Civil War. He rose from a period of deep depression in late 1861 (at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, in fact) to become one of the most insightful military leaders of the Civil War. He’s known for saying “war is hell” but truth be told he explored in unique ways the connection between war-fighting, war goals, military occupation, and social and political organization. Though a hard man in the eyes of his opponents, he was a Thought Leader.

Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He was many other things too, including author, explorer, collector, soldier, police commissioner, state politician, conservationist, to name a few. Roosevelt became a Thought Leader in the 1890s when he essentially launched a new field in government: national security. In addition, he used his interest in national security as a platform for guiding the United States into a role of international Great Power. Finally, he tied national security back to national character and identity as he defined those terms. Though unpredictable and mercurial at times, he was a Thought Leader.

Martin Luther King Jr was a Christian minister and activist for black rights and civil rights in the 1950s and the 1960s. King’s Thought Leadership revolved around the adoption of non-violent protest as a form and method of social pressure to enact major social change. He blended Eastern and Western thought to produce a robust non-violent movement that helped shove American life forward from a past of institutionalized racism and racial bigotry. Though struck down at a young age by an assassin’s bullet, King was a Thought Leader.

These are three excellent examples of Thought Leadership in reality, with all of the ups and downs, vices and virtues that go along with life and leadership in the real world. Let me know if you’d like to talk more about Thought Leadership and you.

Thanks for reading.