Leadership

Tim Tebow shares the simple quality that makes people instantly like you

There are three simple leadership qualities that make others follow you, football-star-turned-baseball-player Tim Tebow tells CNBC contributor Suzy Welch.

"When you truly love something, when you're passionate about something and you're willing to sacrifice for it, it's amazing how many people will be drawn to you," he says, "because those qualities are so contagious, and people want to be around it."

He learned this when he was just 8 years old. At the time, his father would drop Tim and his two brothers off at football practice and ask: "Do you really love what you're doing? Are you going to show that passion today?"

Tim Tebow
Getty Images
Tim Tebow

Tebow went on to become the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy as quarterback for the Florida Gators. He later played three seasons in the NFL, followed by a couple preseason stints with this year's Super Bowl teams, the New England Patriots back in 2013 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.

He then pivoted to baseball, the next year signing a minor league contract with the New York Mets. On the first pitch of his first at-bat for their affiliate team in South Carolina, the Columbia Fireflies, he hit a home run. This January, the franchise invited him to its major league training camp.

Tim Tebow batting for the Columbia Fireflies
Photographer | CNBC
Tim Tebow batting for the Columbia Fireflies

Outside of sports, Tebow has exemplified leadership as the founder of the Tim Tebow Foundation, a philanthropic organization that he says will "fight for people that can't fight for themselves."

"If you're the CEO, and you really love your employees, and you're passionate about it, you will be willing to sacrifice. You will know their names, you will talk to them, you will invest in their families," he says. "Or you can just go through the motions and act like, 'I really love my employees.'"

He strives to be the former because he knows the consequence of lacking passion: You won't earn anyone's support.

"People want authentic. They want real. They want passionate," he says. "When people know that you care about them, and that you will fight for them, it's amazing to see how they fight for you."

That can entail a certain degree of selflessness. "There are a lot of people that will only sacrifice for themselves, because truly what they love most is themselves," Tebow says.

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