Meantime, Tebow has given us a starkly powerful display of the real thing, and so has the underrated leader who had the guts to hand the team over to him, Broncos Coach John Fox.The Broncos are 5-1 over their last six games, and Fox was smart enough last Sunday to ask Tebow to give the pregame talk that led to a crucial overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers and put them in the playoff hunt.
“I’ve never seen a human who can will himself to win like that,” Broncos linebacker Von Miller told the Denver Post afterward. “He gave us a great speech. We came out fired up. And that was a wrap.”
So what exactly is that mysterious quality called leadership? It’s not exactly charisma; it doesn’t hurt that Tebow gleams like a superhero, but the worst despots are charismatic too. It’s not exactly talent, either. According to experts, one reason we struggle to define it is because we look at it from the wrong side up.
“The academic study of leadership has failed, and the reason is that it focuses on the leader, when the appropriate focus is on the followers,” suggests research psychologist Robert Hogan, who profiles executives for Fortune 500 companies. When we flip the examination of leadership on its head and look at what followers will follow, we get a better idea of what quality we’re talking about.
“What is it the followers are looking for?” he asks. “The focus should be on the work force or the team, and what they perceive. Because if they don’t perceive the right thing in a leader, you’re through.”
As the final kick of the Broncos’ win over the San Diego Chargers was sailing through the uprights, viewers around the country were watching Tim Tebow kneeling in prayer, eyes closed, a sight that has become its own phenomenon. As Matt Brooks explained
First there was planking. Then came owling. Then batting. Now “Tebowing” is the latest bizarre photo pose sweeping the nation.
And why not? Tim Tebow is all the rage!
He’s inspiring epic comebacks (after playing terribly for nearly 55 minutes). He’s inspiring epic pop song covers (Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and Wiz Khalifa might disagree). He’s partnering with charities that help provide medical care for impoverished children in developing countries (no drawbacks to this one).