Dr. Brown speaks on his professional journey and future aspirations in an exclusive IGI Global interview

Editor Spotlight: Dr. Michael A. Brown, Sr.

By IGI Global on Apr 13, 2018
dr. brown headshotDr. Michael A. Brown Sr.
“If people know you care, and that you considered them in your deliberations, they are more likely to follow you. […] They have to listen, but they don’t have to follow. There’s a difference,” declares Dr. Michael A. Brown, Sr. from Florida International University. Dr. Brown is a renowned leader who has edited and authored countless scholarly publications, including the best-selling IGI Global publication Motivationally Intelligent Leadership: Emerging Research and Opportunities.

He is a dedicated professor and an Air Force retiree who served for 24 years. Examining his leadership roots from the military started as a project of curiosity and self-reflection, and then, it developed into a passionate mission, which he shares in an exclusive IGI Global interview.
How did your research journey begin?

In 1998 and 1999, I was finishing a 24-year career in the U.S. Air Force and I was giving a lot of speeches on leadership and motivation in the Northern Virginia area. I took those two years to write a leadership and management manuscript called "The Leadership Toolbox". I thought I had a great product with lots of good tips, but my mentors at the time informed me that I did not have the necessary credentials as an expert in the field. So, I put the work aside and enrolled in a public administration and urban policy doctorate course at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia. This led me to do my dissertation on social media, performance, and planning, and I was able to create some courses for Florida International University. As I taught social media and communication, I began to realize that the use of the full communication process – sender, message, receiver, feedback – has been lost in our day-to-day interactions. I began to focus my research efforts on using the full communication process to compare online and face-to-face interactions. Motivationally Intelligent Leadership: Emerging Research and Opportunities , published this year, allowed me to combine my communication interests with leadership, taking me back to my original work on The Leadership Toolbox.

Why did you decide to start publishing books? Briefly explain the significance of your publications.

I wrote a chapter titled "Predictors of Social Networking and Individual Performance," which was featured in the edited IGI Global book, Citizen 2.0: Public and Governmental Interaction through Web 2.0 Technologies. Then I spent probably 18 months looking for a literary agent to help me bring some publication ideas to life. That search turned up nothing. I stopped pursuing publishing at that point and took some time to create a social media course for Florida International University using a marketing book and a public relations book. Neither book was capable of strict focus on the social media concept I was teaching, so I contacted my friend Tracy Schario and we co-wrote and self-published Social Media 4EVR: Identifying, Achieving, & Nurturing Social Capital. The college accepted this work as one of the textbooks for the course.

I continued teaching classes, then IGI Global came calling, which led me to publish two books in 2017: Social Media Performance and Success Measurements and Solutions for High-Touch Communications in a High-Tech World.

Social Media Performance Evaluation and Success Measurements is an edited book designed to help organizations create social media policies that create return on investment of time or resources and analyze performance implications. This book argues for the identification of measurement tools that allow organizations to impact online interactions as they happen. The collection of authors provides various methods helpful in affecting behaviors in support of the organization’s goals and objectives. Digital interactions are examined based on participation, technology acceptance, trust, and social networking development.

Solutions for High-Touch Communications in a High-Tech World uses what I call the high-touch approach to seek improvements in the reader’s communication efforts through three important abilities:

  • A deeper understanding of face-to-face and online communication.
  • A focus on the gap in the communication process between the two methods.
  • Knowledge leading to resources to “bridge the gap” and create the best messaging interactions possible regardless of the method.
These abilities are important in finding value between sender and receiver. In the interest of feedback in interactions, resources to bridge the communication gap are high-tech considerations leading to a plan for changing and improving the way we exchange information. Solutions offer a hybrid approach to communication that, while it emphasizes the power and necessity of face-to-face communication, also provides a way to combine the best of digital interactions in any activity.

My next step was to bring a focus on Emotional Intelligence (EI) to my published works. My discovery brought me back to my military roots to examine leadership and communication in terms of EI. The book, published in 2018, is called Motivationally Intelligent Leadership: Emerging Research and Opportunities. It provides methods to improve communications and to help each leader understand their own strengths and weaknesses so that they can build a quality work life for the team. The “smartest” leaders can benefit from EI by finding the best way to create a bond with their team. The “street smart” leader can use EI to create working relationships that allow the best and brightest on the team to share their technical expertise with solid recommendations for action. In either instance, this is a way to build a collaborative culture, emphasize everyone’s strengths, and work to improve weaknesses.

Why is your publication Motivationally Intelligent Leadership important to the field of business and management?

This work is useful for three very important groups. The first group consists of organizations that seek leadership training resources, especially small and medium-sized businesses (500 employees or less). The next group that can benefit from these pages consists of public administrators who want additional training for their staff or who are interested in additional career development options. Finally, the third group, which consists of educational institutions, can benefit from a new textbook and from the development of new public administration and organizational development courses. The usefulness of the learning herein can apply to more groups and organizations than those mentioned here. The possibilities are endless.

How have your work and research impacted your life?

There are two: one in my military life and one in my time as a civilian. My greatest military accomplishment was getting promoted to chief master sergeant, the highest rank for U.S. Air Force enlisted members and one that is held by only 1 percent of the active duty force. My greatest civilian accomplishment was finishing my PhD in Public Administration and Urban Policy at Old Dominion University while working full time as a government contractor. The PhD helped me transition to an Air Force Civil Service position as a deputy director of public affairs. This focused me more than ever on not just being a better leader, but on helping others become better leaders. Leadership is not a position, it’s a relationship that must be created and nurtured by the leader. I began to really understand the power of the collaborative environment where a leader focuses not just on the bottom line but on the needs, emotions, and aspirations of the people. That’s where you find success.

What are your future professional goals?

I would like to continue as a civil servant in public affairs, so I’m looking for a new challenge. Even more than that, I would like to become a full-time college professor. I’ve started searching for jobs in public administration.

Why did you choose IGI Global as your publisher?

They chose me. After unsuccessfully searching for a literary agent for about 18 months, IGI Global contacted me. They knew me because I co-wrote a chapter in a book called Citizen 2.0: Public and Governmental Interaction through Web 2.0 Technologies when I was still a Ph.D candidate at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. After publishing a first book, IGI Global has continued to come to me seeking book ideas, both edited and single author. Right now I’m finalizing my second edited book called Returning to Interpersonal Dialogue: Understanding Human Communication in the Digital Age with my co-author Dr. Leigh Hersey, which is projected to be release in July 2018

My work in Solutions for High-Touch Communication in a High-Tech World set the stage for an examination of human communication today by comparing online and face-to-face interactions. Returning to Interpersonal Dialogue and Understanding Human Communication in the Digital Age takes advantage of that foundation and develops solutions for success in academia and in business by analyzing various types of face-to-face and digital interactions in terms of comprehension and relationship-building. The integration of techniques for all human communication gives people resources to be successful collaborators in contemporary society. This is an approach you won’t find in any one book today. It suggests the start of a discussion of communication that is very different than what has been done before.
A sincere thanks to Dr. Brown for sharing his journey with IGI Global. Please be sure to read his latest title Motivationally Intelligent Leadership: Emerging Research and Opportunities and recommend it to your library.
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