I’m always amused when I see someone bill themselves as a thought leader in their field (heck, my own company’s marketing department does it to me), mostly because the term thought leader is a joke. You are either a leader or you are not. It’d be like having a thought quarterback in the NFL, a thought pitcher in Fenway Park, a thought general on the battlefield. Do leaders need to think? Of course! But then they need to demonstrate the true leadership part and do.
Brilliant execution of a good plan beats no execution of a great plan every time.
My final turn of phrase on this silly term that needs to be retired: a thought leader is someone who is thinking about leading – but probably never will.