Thoughts on Thought Leadership: Mixing “Feel” Leaders and “Do” Leaders with your “Thought” Leaders

Recently, I had the chance to address 30 global all-stars from Deloitte down in Houston. While there isn’t much I’m at liberty to reveal about our session, I will share one story about thought leadership I brought forward at the beginning of our time together.

As you can imagine, this was an elite group better known in my mind as the Top Gun of business thinkers. As I started my talk, I made sure to let them know that. It’s truly how I felt about the IQ capacity of this offsite gathering deep in the south of Texas.

When it came to thinking, I would put this room up against just about any other room in the world. And that’s where this thought on thought leadership starts to bend.

For being a room full of brilliant minds, I wondered out loud if an Army of thought leaders could mix into an elite team. Where my mind went, and why an empath like me felt I could enlighten a room like this, was because I don’t see myself as this type of thought leader.

I shared that I saw myself not as a Thought Leader;

but as a Feel Leader.

I went on to show the following slide on the big screen….

The thinking yin (Steve Jobs) and the doing yang (Tim Cook) of Apple

Exhibit A: The thinking yin (Steve Jobs) and the doing yang (Tim Cook) of Apple. I voice-over’d…

“Thought Leadership is nothing without Do Leadership.”

I then went on to share this next slide….

Steve Jobs and Apple’s former chief design officer, Jony Ive

This dynamic duo: Steve Jobs and Apple’s former chief design officer, Jony Ive.

I carried on…

“Thought” Leadership is nothing without “Do” Leadership.

“Do” Leadership DOES nothing without “Feel” Leadership.

I tried to convey to my new friends in Houston that the perfect team was a trifecta comprised of:

1) The Thinker,

2) The Feeler,

3) The Doer

As a feel leader, I fully acknowledge that having only a bunch of “me’s” wouldn’t make an elite team either. It’s the checks & balances and blends of the three that make the magic.

think I landed my point in that room down in Houston. From the dinner conversations that followed, it sure felt like it. When you look at your team, make sure that you’ve mixed in the right blend of Feel Leaders and Do Leaders to go along with your Thought Leaders.

The Courageous Podcast with Alden Mills

The Courageous Podcast with Alden Mills

What do an asthmatic, a Rower, the co-founder of The Perfect Pushup, and a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander have in common? All of them were my guest on this week’s episode of The Courageous Podcast. Alden Mills is one of a kind. He’s on a mission to help 100 million people Be Unstoppable. He strives to achieve this feat by being a keynote speaker, an executive coach, and the epitome of courage. What else did I learn about Alden from our 45-minute conversation? Despite his being a former Navy SEAL Platoon Commander, he is also a humble human. If you want to learn what it’s like to survive asthma and still become a Navy SEAL, or if you aspire to Be Unstoppable, or if you care to hear why Alden has a bone to pick with Harvard, then throw this episode between your ears.

Missed any of the Courageous Podcasts? Listen Here.

Stay Courageous,


Ryan Berman
Ryan Berman
Ryan is an author, keynote speaker, and the founder of Courageous. His book, Return on Courage, shows how during these courage deficient times, courage is a competitive advantage for those leaders who choose to unlock it.
Twitter @ryanberman | LinkedIn @ryanberman

Your weekly dose of Courage.

From courageous action to inspiration. Delivered to your inbox every Thursday.