ML30 – Turning Weeders Into Leaders through Tailgate Meetings and the GROW Theory with Jeff McManus

Jeff McManus is the Director of Landscape Services at the University of Mississippi, where he grows plants…he grows people…he grows ideas. Understanding that all humans either have or strive for the innate elements of Greatness, Resiliency, Opportunity and Wisdom, Jeff developed his GROW-theory into an impactful management and professional development leadership program for his staff.

Taking his grounds employees, affectionately known as “weeders”, and developing them into “leaders” has been a joyous challenge that reaped acres of rewards in the form of national recognition by the Princeton Review, Newsweek and every visitor walking onto the Ole Miss Campus.

Jeff McManus


Episode Summary: Turning Weeders Into Leaders through Tailgate Meetings and the GROW Theory with Jeff McManus

  • Be really good at what you do
  • Networking is relationship building
  • Stay in touch with your network (your mentors and contacts)
  • Getting employees passionate about their work produces lower turnover that results in efficiencies of work. (Do more with less)
  • Monthly scheduled meeting to learn from the great leaders (Maxwell, Ziglar Brown)
  • Tailgate meetings- stop and get things off your chest- among team members
  • If you are not a person of “title” go to your supervisor and make the case for team meetings and team development. Gut buy-in from the top
  • Anything you can do to help the growth process will be encouraging to the group
  • We are all in sales- and sales is influence- Present it in a way they recognize the vision you are driving towards
  • 62% of prospective students will make a decision based on the appearance (the landscaping)
  • Be a part of the solution
  • Everyone recognizing they are part of a bigger vision
  • Grow Theory- Greatness, Resiliency, Opportunity, Wisdom
  • Opportunity- seeing what a challenge or opportunity may be
  • Winners find a way to win

Listen to the Audio

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Jeff McManus

Learning From Leaders: 

Current Book: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Best Movie Ever: Kicking and Screaming

Leadership Superpower: Facilitating empowerment (giving others ownership)

Motivational Mantra:

Leadership Trait to Pass to Next Generation: GROW: Greatness, Resiliency, Opportunity, Wisdom

Additional Items Mentioned

Growing Weeders Into Leaders: Leadership Lessons from the Ground Up by Jeff McManus

Free one day leadership course:


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Podcaster | Speaker | Leadership Mentor

Jake Carlson is a popular speaker, accountability partner, and host of the Modern Leadership podcast. Jake built his business while traveling with his family around the world. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. Read more about him here.