Tim Cook – Insular Leader

In my book, Bad Leadership, I identified Insular Leadership as one of seven different types of bad leadership.

Insular LeadershipThe leader and at least some followers minimize or disregard the health and welfare of “the other” – that is, of those outside the group or organization for which they are directly responsible.   

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple for the last five years, has turned out such a leader. He and his team have sullied Apple’s name by giving the company a by now ingrained reputation for aggressive tax avoidance. This has been an issue in the US for years – now it’s also an issue in Europe. Fairly or unfairly, the European Union just ordered Ireland to get Apple to pay than $14 billion in unpaid taxes.

The details of who should collect what from Apple do not concern me here. What does concern me is that Apple has lost its polish. For years it was one of the most successful and admired companies on the planet. Now, in his zeal to increase still further Apple’s huge stash of cash, Cook has tarnished his company’s name.

A good corporate citizen Apple is not.


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