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The Art of Strategic Leadership by Stephanie S. Mead, Steven J. Stowell

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Chapter 4The Team

During his first week or two in Dallas, Alex marveled at how different his department leaders were from one another. Despite—or perhaps because of—their contrasting styles, they genuinely got along, and not merely in the cordial, but distant, manner of professional colleagues, but with honest curiosity and concern about their lives in and out of their work environment. Mya, who is from Brazil, and Robert, born and raised in the shadow of the old football stadium in Irving, Texas, sometimes butted heads over production-quality standards, but they teased each other like siblings about whether soccer or American football is the genuine article.

Among the others, Lu and Jordan disagreed almost daily about whether maintenance or engineering should claim responsibility when a customized product proved difficult to manufacture, but they chatted endlessly about their shared interest in the latest advances in technology and their love of tinkering with complex equipment and electronics.

Some team members were natural allies about workplace issues, but kept their distance in other ways. Kim, the head of HR, and Sara, the Dallas plant's financial guru, waged a vocal campaign to curb attrition, a costly drain on efficiency, morale, and the bottom line. They're even close in age and background. But someone who noticed them around the plant might assume they were strangers. Lively and upbeat, Kim's personality overshadowed that of Sara, whose reflective, analytical character ...

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