In the digital age, so much information is shared that we, as global citizens, fail to sit back and reflect. Who has time, right?
But consider this: taking the time to reflect on our work, on our personal expertise, experience, and talents, is an incredible way to grow in your professional career.
Why Thought Leadership Matters in Education
As educators, we understand that students must take time to reflect upon the materials presented to them before they can fully understand and integrate them into their lives. This reflection process is painful in the digital world when attention spans are less than a goldfish, about 4 seconds, they say. Students want quick facts, multiple-choice quizzes, and videos. But reading headlines and spitting back facts is not what education should be. Unfortunately, this is the same process that most of us continue into our professional careers.
Why move through life merely deepening the grooves of what we already know? Be the example: question what you know, reflect upon it and share your insights.
Aspire To Greater Expectations
If we look at our own education process, we can understand why sharing our expertise is so important. Attending university promises so much more than just the campus experience. Our University teachers are expected to give us so much more than just coursework and assignments. Universities expect their educators not just to teach but think, reflect, and question. There is an understanding that the best teachers write and publish papers, author books, do public speaking. How do those things make them better? It is the sharing of their expertise–publicly and openly that becomes thought leadership.
The idea is that all of their expertise and ideas are not only contained within the classroom walls but that their perspective and expertise are shared with colleagues, students at all levels, and the world at large. Any one of us can do this in our work. It does not require a Ph.D. or Doctorate, but it does require a commitment to the process.
Not convinced? Here are a few reasons you must share your expertise:
The Risk Taker
It is a vulnerable position to share your thoughts and expertise with the world. By blogging or podcasting, writing articles, and sharing your expertise, you are wide open to criticism. But think of your students for a moment. They raise their hand and ask “why,” and it is your responsibility to draw out of that student their reflection and insights into the subject at hand. And if you are lucky, that process of inquiry will offer you insights as well. This is the process of thought leadership. With risk comes great reward.
Reflection as a Skill
When we open ourselves up to questioning our own beliefs and expertise, we can grow to greater authority levels. In Adam Grant’s book, Think Again, he opens up our eyes to the concept of the joy of being wrong. By embracing the scientist in us, he illustrates how we can detach from our deeply held beliefs and probe them for truth and purpose. Isn’t this why we ask students to not merely memorize the materials we present but also to reflect upon their use and insights in our lives?
Your reflection of course materials is critical to your growth as a thought leader. By opening up and questioning your own understanding, you signify to people that you are trying to get to some level of truth and understanding and not just “preaching” your point of view with unwavering authority. Reflection is actually a process of listening, and that is a skill most appreciated in today’s noisy world.
Be A Digital Native
Blogging is nothing more than thoughts on “paper.” The paper is the computer screen, and the process is digital. No complicated skill is involved, but by participating in sharing a blog, you acknowledge that your digital footprint is important to you. That is a concept and truth of today’s world that is surprisingly hard for many people to accept. Call it your personal brand or don’t, but every single person has a digital footprint, whether we intentionally created it or not. Just google yours–is that who you really are?
I should also mention that intentionally creating a digital footprint by blogging or other sharing will inspire people. Inspiring people via digital sharing can lead to many followers and fans who want to learn more about your unique perspective. I see a minimal downside to people wanting to learn from you!
Connect To The World
The greatest gift of sharing expertise is that it allows us to connect to anyone, anywhere. Colleagues who may seek to collaborate with you or students who need your insights to continue forward on a journey that may have stalled. The process of sharing expertise outside of our own comfort zones can completely change our own career trajectory. All it takes is a willingness to think outside of the box of what feels comfortable.
Explore New Ways of Sharing
Blogging is the first, most basic way of sharing our expertise. But consider a whole arsenal of other tools in the 21st Century: Videos, VLOGs, Podcasts, Online Courses, and of course, traditional book writing.
What if you took one element of your expertise and expanded it onto an online learning course? Breaking down what we do into smaller parts and then magnifying that one element can be a powerful lesson to teach. How would that look for you? Who would want to explore this material?
Creating your Own Course
At Global Childhood Academy we are the Learning Management Platform for Education. Our online community offers you options to create and share your expertise to the world for the benefit of the Global Child. The process is as simple or complicated as you wish to make it but we are here to help you explore what that would look like for you personally or as an organization of thought leaders. To learn more, send us an email and we will get all of your questions answered.
Opening yourself up to the digital flow of information can shine a light on who you are! Each of us has a unique perspective sparked by where we grew up, how we were raised, and the people who influenced us. It is not only about where we got our degrees. Who we are as people make information more powerful because instead of merely lecturing, we infuse learning with the stories that matter. These unique qualities are all a critical part of how we became the expert we are in the first place. So find your voice and explore new ways of sharing what you know.
Originally Shared on Early Childhood Maven by Maria Bereket, E-Learning Designer | Digital Marketing Strategist