Top Workplaces - Page 18 - Winner - Large Business Leader: Scott Dorsey, Merritt Companies

Top Workplaces
- Page 18
Winner - Large Business Leader: Scott Dorsey, Merritt Companies

Inclusiveness and doing the right thing


Scott Dorsey joined his cousin Leroy Merritt’s real estate company in 1972, having spent the previous five summers pouring concrete with his father for warehouses Merritt and a partner were building.


The two men shared a desk at first made from a door across two filing cabinets and Dorsey learned the ropes of the business from working directly with Merritt as they built the Merritt Companies, one of Baltimore’s largest real estate holding companies, with interests in construction and fitness centers.


Dorsey has carried that inclusiveness into his leadership style, involving others in decisions, imparting a “do the right thing” culture handed down from his cousin and sharing his decades of knowledge with the firm’s employees.


Employees of the company credit Dorsey for his “down-to-earth approach,” “family-oriented common sense,” “integrity” and “knowledge and experience of the industry.”


“He is a great and knowledgeable man that brings out the best in everyone,” one employee said. “He is the kind of guy you want to work for and want to impress and do good things both with and for.”


Dorsey took some time from managing Merritt Companies’ real estate empire to answer a few questions from The Baltimore Sun about leadership:


What is a leader’s role in building a place people want to work?


While I certainly don’t consider myself a leadership guru, I will share my thoughts on the subject based on my experience and observations over a career of more than 40 years.


In order to build a place where people want to work, the most important thing is to hire good people, people who care about others — the people they work with, your customers, vendors and your community — and then let them do what they think is right.


Too often, people are expected to put on their “work persona,” following policies and procedures dictated by management which may or may not be what seems right in a given situation. If you put a team of good people together, who value relationships, who care about others and take pride in what they do, they are able to be themselves, enjoy what they do and create a successful organization.


What is your influence on your organization’s culture?


It is important to understand the culture of your company, to understand the core values. The culture of a company reflects the values and personality of those who started the company, and is the most important factor in maintaining a successful organization.


Our founder, Leroy Merritt, grew up during the Great Depression in a working-class family in Dundalk. His parents managed a restaurant and took in boarders, so Leroy learned very early the value of relationships, respecting others and always doing what you believe to be right. He learned that if you get the relationships right, you will be successful.


These are the core values of the Merritt Companies. As a leader, I embrace these values, try to model these values and try to remind any of our people who slip into a “transactional mindset” of what is truly important.