LOL. I remember once when I tried to include the words "thought leader" in some copy for RecruitngBlogs.com and Jason about lopped my head off. But just because someone I respect (and work for) doesn't wanted to be branded with the term doesn't mean I think the phrase doesn't hold merit. I like the phrase and think that every society needs people to THINK. Whether you call them scientists, philosphers, analysts or thought leaders, the job description is the same.
I don't think anyone will ever call me a thought leader and I'm cool with that, I do a lot of stuff. So much so, that I have had more than one mentor tell me to take the time to go for a walk, sit down and think, take time for strategy--good advice. In a society, industry, era where we are going faster than ever before, I hesitate to take the thought leaders out of the process.
And as far as Jason is concerned, for someone who doesn't want to be deemed a "thought leader" he sure does say "let's think about that for a while" a lot in our daily phone meetings. :)
Power is like being a lady... if you have to tell people you are, you aren't.
I'm really averse to terms that some person has dreamed up, presumably to apply to themselves if it sounds cool, or others if it sounds awful (the oft used term 'human capital' springs to mind for the latter). If someone is a thought leader then presumably those who hang on to their every word are 'thought followers' or maybe 'human sheep' would be a good term to use? Honestly, we are all individuals with personalites, emotions, experiences and thoughts. Why do we need to label everyone and everything, other than to boost or belittle an ego?