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Jeff McManus: Fostering Greatness as a Leader

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Jeff McManus

Jeff McManus is the Director of Landscape Services at the University of Mississippi. During the sixteen years that he has served in this role at the university, Jeff and his team have gained national recognition for their attention to detail and eye for beauty.

Under Jeff’s leadership, the Ole Miss campus has won the National Professional Grounds Maintenance Society’s “Best Maintained Campus” twice, Newsweek’s “Most Beautiful Campus” in 2011 and was named by the Princeton Review as the 2013 “Most Beautiful Campus”. Jeff led his team in some creative waste management, which caught the attention of The New York Times, November 1, 2014.

Jeff is a sought-after speaker and trainer for local, state and national organizations and companies. He is also the author of the following books: Growing Weeders into Leaders: Leadership Lesson from the Ground Level (2017) and Pruning Like a Pro: Brown Thumb to Green Thumb (2012).


3 Big Takeaways:

  1. Leaders are accountable. With the systems, processes, resources and direction you give, your influence is felt at EVERY level of the organization.
  2. The BEST leaders are students of leadership. Great leaders are humble enough to learn, listen and grow in their leadership capabilities and character.
  3. Pay attention to attitude. This entail’s your attitude as well as the attitude of everyone that is a part of your organization. It does not matter if an employee does not have the title of “director”. Their bad attitude can impact the whole team as well as its mission. Prioritize nourishing a healthy, good culture in your organization.

What We Explore in this Episode:

  • Greatness vs. Mediocrity (6:54)
  • Caring About Efficiency AND People (13:01)
  • A New Paradigm of Influence (15:33)
  • The Value of Self-Leadership (17:30)
  • Leadership Lessons from Chancellor Robert Khayat (20:05)
  • Taking Ownership as a Leader (22:12)


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