Steve Jobs once famously said, “My job is not to be easy on People, my job is to make them better”
Visionaries like Jobs (or some other start-up founders) may come across autocractic, mean or ass-holes to some people around them. In my experience of working with a Visionary (my ex-boss, and founder of mig33 who could visualize a whatsapp-like application 5 yrs ahead of time), these could be the reason behind that perception.
‘Your idea is dumb’ doesn’t mean ‘you are dumb’
These guys are very direct and brutally honest about their opinion on something. When they say that 'idea is dumb', the receiver could take that comment personally as 'I was called dumb'.
They 'can forgive' but 'not forget'
They have very limited tolerance for mediocrity and a very short span of attention. Once they lose faith in your capabilities, it's very hard for them to trust you for critical projects.
Their passion weighs above everything else
They are so passionate about the cause and making a difference that they can really drive you hard. In the excitement of getting it done, the thought of work-life balance of people around could be the last thing crossing their minds.
They have the gift (and curse) of visualizing the future
The gift (and curse) is that they can visualize the future as clearly as they can see the present. They have already visualized in their mind a futuristic product and the impact it's going to have on this world. If anyone delays or causes obstruction to that vision, they are going to face the brunt!
Mind you, visionaries or start-up founders don't intend to be ass-holes. But, if they don't push the team, they are not staying true to their passion and vision. It's a big weight to carry! As some said, "As hard it is to work for these visionaries, it's not nearly as tough as being one."
October 5, 2014 marked the third death anniversary of Steve Jobs.