Leadership Case Study: The Successful Tyrant


Yanek has been with H-Tech for nearly 12 years.  In that time, he has risen from software engineer to his current position of Director of Product Management with nearly 40 direct and indirect reports.

Yanek has been no less than a superstar since the day he started with H-Tech.  He has been instrumental in bringing products to market that are responsible for more than 80% of H-Tech’s revenue.  Simply put, Yanek’s technical and industry knowledge is unequaled within H-Tech.   He is well-known in the organization as the guy who gets things done right and on time and he has been consistently and generously rewarded for this.

So, what could possibly be the problem?

  • Yanek is notoriously tough on everyone that works for him and with him.
  • Everyone has a story about being Yanek’d that involves some pretty extreme verbal abuse along with public humiliation.
  • Only one person on the Product Management Team has ‘lasted’ more than 18 months either requesting to move to a different team or quitting altogether.

Not surprisingly, Yanek is getting progressively worse with every promotion and corresponding raise.

Your CEO has made it clear that disciplinary measures will not be an option for Yanek; she has no issues with him.  However, she has just charged you with doing something about the turnover of key talent.

What’s Your Plan?  Comment Below.

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