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Leadership Scholar Meets Social Media

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Tue Sep 24 2013

Leadership Scholar Meets Social Media
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I am relatively new to the world of Twitter, tweeting, and tweeps. How all of this came about is actually a social media story in itself.

I have stayed in contact with some of my former MBA students, and one of my favorite former students is John Sparks (@IamJohnSparks). John is now a social media consultant based in Dallas, Texas.  So while John patiently explained social media to me, he also wondered at my low Klout score given my work over the years publishing and writing on leadership, mentorship, teams, and other organizational behavior topics.  I asked, “What’s a Klout score?” And this is how my journey into the world of social media began.

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The journey

I started tweeting. And following. And lurking in Twitter discussions with thought leaders like @LollyDaskal #leadfromwithin and @DanVForbes #leadwithgiants. (I will be telling you about more great people in future posts.) I realized quickly that there are a lot of people all over the world interested in leadership and management. I love to follow Twitter “chats” and posts that have people ask and answer questions in an effort to share best practices.

I realized that these people have a lot of knowledge to offer, so I started following them and they followed back. Among my followers are famous leadership thought leaders I have long admired like Ken Blanchard (@KenBlanchard), a number of other professors, and even deans of business schools.

What’s great about Twitter is that I can learn from people all over the world about what’s new in leadership and management. I started reading their blogs, free books, or book chapters—and then sharing my brief thoughts on them with others by tweeting. I also tweet my thoughts on research articles I have read to prepare for my own research, my workshops, and presentations at the Academy of Management conference this month.

I have been a professor of management for more than 20 years and have conducted research on leadership and mentorship. Specifically, I research the development of high-quality working relationships, which are essential for maximizing organizational effectiveness. I am also knowledgeable about applied research methods.

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Tweeting forward

For the past five years, I served as the Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Miami, managing both people and programs during a period of rapid organizational change. During this time, I realized that we researchers really know a lot about what works and doesn’t work for leaders. I also realized that much of what we know isn’t translated very well for practicing managers.

I am returning to the faculty now and decided that I will only tweet about what I see as relevant and absolutely essential for a leader to know. I see myself as a curator of leadership and management thought. I was honored to be listed this month as one of the most influential professors on leadership by the LDRLB (@LDRLB--pronounced leader lab), an online think tank that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation, and strategy.

Managers are busy people. Having taught in executive education and executive MBA programs for years, I know this. They don’t have time to wade through theoretical debates, scientific jargon, and complex research methods (unless they really want to). I know how to drill down, sort out the fluff, and talk about what managers really need to know.

I’ll keep on tweeting and you can follow me at @terriscandura. But the character limits on Twitter are constraining. That is what this blog is about. I am excited to be partnering with ASTD, offering my thoughts on books and research articles. And I welcome your thoughts on what you are interested in learning about with respect to workforce development and training. It will help me  focus on what you need to know—and what the world of management research has to say about it.

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