What Counts For a DBA: Ego

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  • Earlier in my career as a developer (not my current company), I often butted heads with a DBA who was appropriately strict in his gatekeeping role, but could have been more diplomatic in his interaction with me about it. In retrospect, it would have helped both of us if expectations around DBA requests had been documented, and included in new employee training. But I was in sort of a backwater of the development group (miscellaneous local apps, not the mainframe that ran the core business), so there was no written policy and little management oversight until we were in a deadlock, and it often came down to me asking him to do things, him saying no, and our relationship went downhill from there. I understand the reason for his requirements better now, but I do feel that he was often condescending to me.

  • Where I am currently working, my predecessor, was not so diplomatic.  This has made several business managers loathe to work with me, in fear that I would treat them the same way.  My way of handling this is reminding them that I may be knowledgeable in my field of expertise (databases, technology, etc) but I am not an expert in all things (and I give examples of such: automobile mechanics, business law, etc.).  I go further by stating that I do not have knowledge on how to do their job and am here to help make their job easier.  I then circle around to the original reason why I am there (whatever the issue/problem is) and attempt to find out what is the root issue/problem.  I then might suggest a few solutions and ask for their input (which is usually shocking to them since this is the first time something like that has happened).  After they recover, it becomes a back-and-forth to create something they like verses whatever I choose to give them.  I find this helps "win" over most people without having to resort to an "ego" driven approach.

    I should also note: this does not always work since some individuals treat this approach as "weak".  They become pretty surprised to find out that I can push back with the best of them (I made a few career-limiting-decisions in my early days at previous jobs in regards to pushing back forcibly - not something I recommend).  I guess my approach is a like the iron hand/velvet glove.  I want to get along with most people but don't mistake an easy-going approach for soft/weak.

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