On Leadership

It was trendy for Boards to appoint “Inspired” CEOs. Maybe it’s time to revert back to inspirational ones.

Andrew Tiernan
6 min readJun 26, 2021


If you are the CEO at the top of your corporate pyramid, I’m guessing there’s a 50% chance you are creating a toxic company culture.

Depending on what type of leader you are, you might just be leaving some of your most talented and energizing people in the cultural dust from the insistence that being a “good team player”, “getting on board” is a requirement of their job description.

This may or may not be your fault. After all, everything from textbooks to the HBR (or any of the thousands of business school emails that go straight to your trash folder) have ingrained the benefits of teamwork and consensus. Add to this our standard HR processes which embed compliance over creativity, the chances are those elusive “change agents” and “diamonds in the rough” have no way of fitting into your version of an ideal culture.


Too often we are now told what “teamwork” is required of us as though it's a requirement rather than something a leader needs to nurture. The insidious side of this emerges when our culture is based on the loudest, most senior voice. They are the boss. They are number 1. They have been anointed as an agent of change, the “hero” of the company, and therefore must be obeyed.

But new social dynamics reflected in Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and applications I will never even hear of, tell employees a different story. They reinforce individualism, that people have a right to exist; no, thrive in any environment.

Ironically, new social dynamics sound a lot like what I was taught in the nineties about coming to a consensus. These same people will thrive in companies that value diversity of thought as well as age, sex, orientation, and topically, location.

For my own part, I once received informal warnings that translated into a documented review of my lack of teamwork, simply because I did not sit at my desk each and every workday from 8.30am to 6pm. I was told my teamwork was lacking, and this reflected poorly on my leader.



Andrew Tiernan

Strategist, ex-banker, builder, and writer. I love the art of writing and I still build things. But these days I focus more on humanity than economics.