According to Walter Isaacson in his book on Steve Jobs, many people who worked for Steve claimed he had unrealistic expectations, as if he was operating under a distortion field.
Based on experience, I think this distortion field was likely a conscious technique Steve Jobs used the maximize the productivity of his team. If he didn’t set the bar high, how could people be pushed to do great things on time? Without breaking laws or doing something crazy, how else could he push for hitting deadlines?
Without deadlines, it’s challenging to get something great done. You need this sense of urgency.
In reality, I think Walter/others like to criticize tough managers. However, to be an effective leader, you need to do whatever it takes sometimes. You can’t please everyone. That might not be polite. That might be unpopular to 90%+ of people. Still, results don’t lie.
Again, this is purely speculative, but I truly believe this was a strategy Steve used and I think it’s pretty smart to use this strategy.