I slid the chair closer to Mia’s desk and sat down. She was a peer to my manager, Ramesh. Neither of us spoke for a moment. No sweat. I’d learned a long time ago that putting a moment of silence before beginning an important conversation tended to focus everyone on the issue at hand.

Mia was the leader of the DBAs. She’d had this role for the last three years. In that time, she’d successfully turned a chaotic, fractious and generally dysfunctional group of individuals into a highly productive and well-run team. At the same time, her employee survey results showed consistent high marks from her staff for her leadership … both the ones she hired and the ones she inherited. In fact, her team had the lowest turnover ...

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