So, You Want to Be a Thought Leader? First, Become a Leader.


How to Become a Leader, With Leadership Coach: Ken Jacobs


A lot of our work at Veracity centers around positioning and building thought leaders, especially for our B2B clients. While we are lucky to work with many truly amazing leaders, I am sometimes stumped when giving clients advice on how to become thought leaders because I believe the journey begins well before positioning leaders in content pieces, speaking engagements or press interviews. It starts with becoming a leader.

Being at the beginning stages of my own leadership career, I thought I’d go straight to the source to find out all about leadership: to my leadership and business coach, of course!

This episode features leadership consultant Ken Jacobs, with Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching, which helps PR and marketing agencies, along with their leaders, achieve and surpass their goals.

In a wide-ranging conversation in which Ken delves into his top ten characteristics of an effective leader, we’re taken through a journey on how to become a leader, with important clarification on what leadership actually is. Hint: leadership is so much more than just a title!


Ken’s Top Ten Leadership Characteristics


#1: Conscious decision — Leaders first have to make a conscious decision to lead, at which point then they can have followers. It is important to remember that a leader cannot lead without followers.

#2: Vision — Leaders not only have vision, but they must share their vision with their teams.

#3: Values — Leaders effectively communicate their values and standards of quality to their teams.

#4: Trust — This goes both ways. Not only do leaders need to be trusted, they also need to demonstrate trust in their team members.

#5: Respect — A conversation about how to give constructive feedback ensues around the topic of trust.

#6: Courage — Decisive decision making is an example of how to demonstrate courage.

#7: Listen — As many leaders have said, we must listen more than we talk. Remember to listen empathetically.

#8: Celebrate failures — Both leaders and team members can learn and grow from the new paths that failures can bring forth.

#9: Empower, don’t delegate — A very interesting conversation about why delegating is so hard ensues around this topic.

Photo by Jake Hurley on Unsplash

#10: Reverse organizational structure — If a triangle represents traditional organizational structure, with the leader at the top, servant leaders turn this triangle upside down to picture themselves serving all who are above, or traditionally below, them.

As Ken and I dig into each of these ten topics, many interesting side conversations emerge, such as the difference between managing and leading and how emotional intelligence plays an important role in the daily lives of every leader, especially during these trying times. In true leader fashion, Ken uses his past failures to explain his learnings.

If you are interested in embarking on a path towards thought leadership, first listen to this interview to possibly redefine what leadership truly is. If you like what you hear, Ken is offering PR Talk listeners a complimentary hour on the phone to discuss your constantly-evolving leadership path. As a frequent dialoguer with Ken, trust me, this time will be well spent!

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About the guest: Ken Jacobs

Ken Jacobs, PCC, CPC, an experienced consultant and certified coach, is the principal of Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching. For 10 years, his firm has helped agencies grow and manage business, improve client service and relationships, and enhance staff performance. It does so via consulting and training. In addition, through his executive coaching, he has helped leaders from C-suite executives to managers, achieve and surpass their goals.

Connect and follow Ken on social media:

Ken Jacobs on PR Talk

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

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Amy Rosenberg
Founder and President at Veracity
Writer. Podcaster. Press Friend. Hand Holder.