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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Dennis Gillings, June 10, 1999. Interview I-0072. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Building a team is essential in building a business

Here, Gillings describes his interest in creating a company of team players, each of whom bring a skill set to his business. While Gillings insists he does not see himself as a leader, he admits that he strives to set an example.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Dennis Gillings, June 10, 1999. Interview I-0072. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

DG: I don't hire from the perspective of employing a superman or superwoman who's skilled at everything that you can possibly name. Particularly as the job gets very senior, there's a tendency to demand someone who is skilled at everything you can possibly think of. I'm not a believer, myself, in that. I believe that it's a little counterproductive to what I call the team effort. I look for team players because if you've got a superman, there's also the tendency that everyone else pays lip service to them. If you generally believe that individuals bring key talents and skills, and perhaps other secondary skills, you tend to look towards the people with the key talent as being the spokesperson for that talent. That then builds a team akin to a good basketball team or in England a good football, or soccer team as it's called here. I tend to aspire to the sporting analogy of a good management team. Therefore, as you build some components, then you look for the other components, and you build accordingly. JM: Did you ever have to stop and reflect on how you were perceived as a leader and what sort of style you have not as a leader, but a manager? Or was it a natural thing that sort of evolved over the years? DG: Well, the funny thing is I never really perceived myself as a leader. I also, though, strongly believe that if you're in a role, you've then got to execute that role. I think if I exercise leadership, it's because it's the role that was then ordained for me in some fashion, either because I created it or--. I suppose it was possible that someone else would've founded the company and then I worked for them, but that was not the way it happened. Since I had the head role, I in my mind staked out those things that the person who is at the helm should actually do. If they're consistent with leadership, well then, maybe I've done some things right. I do think setting an example and aggressively showing the way forward and accomplishing things that you say you want to accomplish and people see you accomplishing things are some ingredients for leadership. They're not the only ones.