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Dolly Parton on how she handles 'creative vampires' and the people who 'eat you up alive'

The country music superstar opened up about the business side of her success and just what makes her a “good boss.”
SiriusXM Presents Dolly Parton On Kids Place Live At Nashville Music City Theatre On October 9, 2017
Dolly Parton opens up about running her business with ‘love and compassion’ and avoiding “creative vampires” along the way.Terry Wyatt
/ Source: TODAY

Dolly Parton has wowed fans for decades and as a beloved singer, songwriter, actor, author and philanthropist — but her most impressive accomplishment might just be her role as the leader of all of those wildly successful business ventures.

In a new interview, the 75-year-old country music icon shares the secret of how she manages it all and why she believes she’s “a good boss.”

"I try to rule with love and compassion,” Parton explained in a People magazine cover story. “But also, there's a fine line that says, 'She's not a pushover.' I'm a fair and honest person. I like to be as friendly as I can and love the people that work with me, and I like to have them love me."

And so she tries to foster an environment that allows those around her to feel comfortable in her company.

“I want to be the kind of person, if they need to come talk to me, they can almost like as a friend and then we'll get to the business," she continued. "I don't want anybody to be afraid to come to me."

But she also doesn’t want anyone to waste her time — or any other resource that’s vital to running the business of being Dolly.

"Some people I have to kick their ass up one side and down the other because some people will just not listen," she laughed of her tough-love approach. "And then you do have your creative vampires. You do have your energy vampires, and you've got some people that just going to eat you up alive."

She went on to explain just the sort of people she’s talking about.

"A creative vampire is someone who takes your ideas and they claim them as their own, they take them and then they scatter them out," Parton said. “There's that old saying, 'There's no limit to what can be done if it doesn't matter who gets the credit,' and there's truth in that. But that's the hardest part if someone takes your idea."

And as a woman responsible for so many good ideas, her fans can celebrate something else she shared: She has no plans to retire from her business or even slow down.

“I’m going to be right here, doing what I’m doing, ‘til I fall over dead,” she vowed.