Employee Work Ethic: Why Every Manager Should Want a Tim Tebow

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I’ll freely admit it; I bleed orange.

I’ve loved the Denver Broncos with all my heart since my dad took me to Mile High Stadium when I was only 7 to see them play the evil Oakland Raiders. (The Broncos were trounced that day, but I’ve been a fan ever since.)

I say that at the risk of you dismissing this post as one coming from a ‘homer’ who’s just lovin’ on his team’s QB. You need to know that I have been an outspoken critic of Tim Tebow’s quarterbacking skills since he was brought off the bench to rescue my team’s dismal 1-4 season.

All the while he’s been winning close games with miraculous finishes, I’ve been praying that Denver can swing a deal for much better passer to lead them into the future. Even after a terrific performance in the playoffs against the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers, I still remain unconvinced that Tebow’s “the guy.”

The poster child of Work Ethic

That does not make me a Tim Tebow hater. In fact, I absolutely love the guy as a leader and a competitor. Tebow’s a player you want on your team, but it is not because of his size, his skills, or his football acumen. The reason every team, every company, and every organization needs Tim Tebow is because of his incredible, inarguable, indisputable work ethic.

Tim Tebow is the modern day poster child of Work Ethic. I should know — I wrote the book on work ethic..

In that new book, Reviving Work Ethic, I define work ethic as “knowing what to do and doing it, marked by seven core values: Positive Attitude, Reliability, Professionalism, Initiative, Respect, Integrity, and Gratitude.”

How Tebow grades out

Using that standard and being as harsh of an evaluator as I can be, let’s see how Tim Tebow grades out:

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  1. Positive Attitude — Ever seen the guy frown? Drop an F-bomb? Throw a helmet at the ref? Get in a scuffle with another player? Give a snarky reply when criticized by a reporter, or do anything other than be the model of sportsmanship and enthusiasm? I bet my house you haven’t, and trust me, he’s had many reasons to gripe and many opportunities to lash out. Grade: A+
  2. Reliability — He’s the first one on the field and the last one off the field, regardless if we’re talking about a practice or a championship game. Ask anyone he plays with, for, or against; Tebow’s as reliable as they come. Grade: A+
  3. Professionalism — Tim Tebow is the consummate professional. He’s always neatly groomed and arrives totally prepared, and he wears his team’s uniform with pride. He shares any credit he is given with his coaches, teammates, and fans, and he never criticizes anyone when he’s under fire. Grade: A
  4. Initiative — When it comes to going above and beyond what’s required, Tebow’s your guy. He’ll never go easy on one play to rest from the previous or to reserve strength for the next. He only has one speed, and it’s “all out.” Tim’s all about improving himself and every aspect of his game from week to week and he’s never content to live on a past success. You may not always like the results, but you’ll never find reason to criticize his effort. Grade: A+
  5. Respect — Tebow has been widely criticized for being too public about his passion for Jesus, and that makes him a target for reporters who want to see him do something stupid. But Tebow lives his faith 24/7, and although he is far from perfect, he holds himself up to a very strict code of conduct on and off the field. He plays by the rules, stays within the lines, and he is considered one of the most coachable players in the game. Grade: A
  6. Integrity — The dude couldn’t lie if his life depended on it. Nuff said. Grade: A+
  7. Gratitude –– Beyond his buoyant personality and friendly demeanor, Tebow is very active in the community and willingly gives his time to serve others. In spite of all the celebrity status that has been heaped on him, he remains humble and approachable. He understands that his salary is paid by the fans, and he can be seen after practice signing autographs long after lesser known players have headed to the locker room. Grade: A+

Tim Tebow’s Work Ethic GPA = 4.0

Yes folks, I’m a card-carrying flag-waving fan of Tim Tebow’s work ethic. He’s currently starring center stage in the NFL, and that gives us reason to talk about work ethic. But as I honor him, so too do I take my hat off to the many Tebow-esque employees that you’ll never hear about; those who possess the same core values and same commitment to continual self-improvement that we’re seeing on display in a #15 jersey.

The Tebow’s at work may not always be the most skilled people in their respective organizations, but they are, without question, the most valuable.

This was originally published on Eric Chester’s Reviving Work Ethic blog. His new book is Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce. For copies, visit revivingworkethic.com.

Eric Chester is a leading voice in the global dialogue on employee engagement, and building a world-class workplace culture. He's an in-the-trenches researcher on the topic of the millennial mindset, and the dynamics of attracting, managing, motivating and retaining top talent. Chester is a Hall-of-Fame keynote speaker and the author of 4 leadership books including his newly released Amazon #1 Bestseller On Fire at Work: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in their People without Burning Them Out.  Learn more at EricChester.com and follow him at @eric_chester

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6 Comments on “Employee Work Ethic: Why Every Manager Should Want a Tim Tebow

  1. Tim Tebow is a feel good story for sports, not a proto type employee. If you had a contributing team member who is inconsistent on daily task, and you had to wait till the last minute for him to deliver on his route task; Would you consider him a great team member or a slacker? How would you feel if your co-worker showed up at last minute and got all recognition? After all you get to work on time, complete all your task in an orderly fashion but you get overlooked.

  2. Leonard – Great push back, however, I respectfully disagree.  Tebow’s youth and inexperience often make for inconsistent play, but his effort never wanes.  And as for the seven core values, there all there in spades. Whether or not he’ll ever develop the skills to make it long term in a highly skilled position that very few in the world can do remains to be seen and is somewhat irrelevant.. But I don’t know of any employers who would want a Tebowseque work ethic echoes throughout their organization.

  3. I gotta agree with Leonard. If I had a worker who was super enthusiastic but only produced half the time, I doubt he’d be a good fit. The other half of the time he’s breaking things and setting us back. At the last minute, right before his annual review, he kicks it up a notch in order to keep his job. No thanks. 
    Way to use a topical and often done subject, but this one doesn’t quite work.

  4. I think Tim Tebow is a solid example of why you need to have both skill AND will (in this case, work ethic).  I agree with Leonard that you don’t want to be working with a super-positive incompetent person, but I would rather work with them than someone who had all the skills to do the job, but never showed up on time, had a terrible attitude, had no integrity, and wouldn’t follow any rules.  In my business, we can always teach the basic skills of the job, what we can’t teach is having the right values – and that really gets to the heart of what this article is about.

  5. Good comment J. Thomas. I think a majority of the time, employees are not the either/or type. Rarely do they have 100% work ethic and 0% skill. Nor do they have 0% work ethic and 100% skill. The article above mentions that Tebow isn’t ‘the guy’ (Saturday’s performance is evidence he is certainly less than perfect). But if the author’s point is to say that you want an employee who knows what to do and does it, Tebow is indeed the poster child of work ethic.

  6. Excellent article and I totally agree. While it’s hard to equate sports performance to the office environment, there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Tebow would be as equally devoted to whatever the task at hand is. Not a whole lot of truly GREAT role models have been coming out of the NFL in recent years- he is a breath of fresh air.

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