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Episode 24: From Weeders to Leaders – Tapping into Your Team’s Greatness with Jeff McManus

How do you tap into your team’s greatness? Creating a great workplace culture is a struggle for many of us and it’s one Jeff McManus knows all too well. Author of the book Growing Weeders Into Leaders, at the age of 37, Jeff was hired by the University of Mississippi as the director of the newly formed landscape services department. At the time, Jeff one of the most junior directors on campus, and he faced an immediate and overwhelming challenge with the exceptionally low morale and the unacceptable lack of productivity of the staff. In many ways, the challenges he faced at Ole Miss's Landscape Services are typical of those small business owners grapple with daily.  In today's episode, you will hear what Jeff learned as he transformed Ole Miss’s Landscape Services into a great culture while weathering some difficult life lessons.

Tune in today to hear his conversation with Dr. Sabrina about leadership. Be ready to GROW!

Check out Dr. Sabrina's free 4 Week Vacation™ Jump Start Guide:  While you're there learn more about the 4 Week Vacation™ Retreat.

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Show Highlights:

  • The experiences that led Jeff to write his book.
  • How Jeff learned to have awareness about what his role was.
  • Asking everyone, including the people that answered to him, for feedback worked for Jeff.
  • Jeff's multi-pronged approach to increasing his team's efficiency.
  • Jeff's way of empowering people.
  • Learning how to hire effectively.
  • Jeff now has committees for his hiring process.
  • Jeff's role on the committee is to try to talk people out of the job.
  • The traits and strengths that Jeff looks for in interviewees.
  • Picking up on body language and non-verbal cues in interviews.
  • How Jeff motivated his team to buy into his vision.
  • Talking often about cultivating greatness is key to making it happen.
  • Teaching the staff the protocol prior to a VIP visit.
  • Jeff explains what Landscape University is all about, and how he built the program.
  • Jeff shares his secret to getting training videos created.
  • Holding accountability,
  • The kind of support that Jeff offers to small business owners.
  • There's a lot of work upfront with building a culture, but it becomes steady-going after a while.
  • Jeff has a tip-sheet with 21 Ways To Walk Your Team In Wisdom. This has been a big part of his success.
  • Jeff discusses his way of getting his staff to spend time with wise people.
  • Jeff's team has won five national awards because of their hard work.
  • Introducing the idea of a growth mindset to people with a fixed mindset.
  • Teaching your team with audiobooks.
  • Jeff’s TED talk is Growing Weeders into Leaders.

Links and Resources:

Profit by Design Podcast:

Profit by Design Facebook group


Jeff’s TEDxtalk, Growing Weeders into Leaders, referenced in the interview:

Motivational Video created by the Landscape Services at Ole Miss University:

Books mentioned in the episode:

Growing Weeders Into Leaders by Jeff McManus

How to Hire the Best by Dr. Sabrina Starling

It's My Pleasure by  Dee Ann Turner

Who by Jeff Smart

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Dr. Marilee Adams

Jeff recommends audiobooks by John Maxwell

About The Author

Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist and international best-selling author of the How to Hire the Best series and The 4 Week Vacation™, is the founder of Tap the Potential and host of the Profit by Design podcast. At Tap the Potential, we work to free business owners from the constant demands of a growing business.

We believe work supports life, not the other way around. Clients in our Better Business, Better Life coaching program have more time for what matters most and more money in their bank account than they’ve ever had. Next, we send them off on a 4 Week Vacation™ to celebrate their hard-earned journey to take their life back!

Dr. Sabrina and her team at Tap the Potential are on a mission to change the story of entrepreneurship from one of long hours, grinding it out, to one of sustainably profitable businesses that support and enhance life. The Tap the Potential Solution™ and our Tap the Potential Family of Business Owners are disrupting small business as usual. We are on our way to making the Tap the Potential Solution™ the mainstream model for growing business.

By 2023, 150 Tap the Potential clients will have taken 4 Week Vacations. These are the trailblazers, role modeling what’s possible for entrepreneurs. In many entrepreneurial circles, it is becoming more and more common for one entrepreneur to ask another, “Have you taken a 4 Week Vacation™?” (as opposed to asking “How many employees do you have?” or “What is your annual revenue?”). Taking a fully unplugged 4 Week Vacation is rapidly becoming the recognized symbol of entrepreneurial success.

Never one to accept the status quo or back down from a challenge, Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses—no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing—and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures and highly engaged team members working from strengths.

As The Business Psychologist, and with her years of driving profit in small businesses, Dr. Sabrina knows what it takes to find, keep, and motivate exceptional performance out of your biggest investment—team members.