Gandi had a saying that you need to "Be the change you want to be". So if you want to be a thought leader, you need to be one. Obvious, yes? No, it isn't. I know some people who call themselves a fisherman but fish only once a decade, or they say they are a writer of novels, but they've yet to do more than the first chapter. To be a thought leader takes effort and invest in being one.
Leadersdirect point out the need to invest in your own knowledge if you want to have followers and be considered as a thought leader:
"To be a thought leader, you need to immerse yourself in your professional domain and search for new things to say that add value to your organization's objectives."
Fastcompany has an excellent article on the golden rules for being a thought leader from an organisational perspective:
1. Don’t sell anything except ideas
2. Always give it away
3. Have a unique perspective
4. Focus on one thing at a time
5. Address a specific audience
6. Admit what you don’t know
7. Make your audience feel smarter
8. Hire thought leaders
The same article also covers the need to thought leaders to be thoughtful, and patient, leaders.
Thought leaders are not people who lie on the sofa dreaming up new ideas (well, not all of the time, anyway).
TheCEOOnline has a great article on the 9 essential skills for thought leadership, and the graphic below is from them. I recommend you read the whole article and use it to assess your own position as a thought leader.