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Profit By Design

110 EpisodesProduced by Dr. Sabrina Starling and Mike BrunoWebsite

You work hard in your business.On the Profit by Design Podcast, we ask the BIG question: What has your business done FOR YOU lately?Join your co-hosts, Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist™ and author of the How to Hire the Best Series, and Mike Bruno, CEO of Contractor Business Solutions… read more


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


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