It was a simple command:
Do it right.
But no matter how many times I told him, he could not get it right.
Pushed to the brink, I stopped just short of calling him stupid, and gave him one last chance.
Halfway through, I ran across a quote, presumably from Albert Einstein –
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.”
So I did something completely different.
I called him into my office, and instead of micromanaging, I asked:
Is there anything I can do to help you succeed?
Surprisingly – at least to me – he said yes.
I found a different way of doing this, he said, and I would like you to support my trying it out this other way before you fire me.
I was stunned. I had only known me way – my command.
So in the spirit of Albert, I told him to go ahead.
Lo and behold, it was done correctly – ahead of schedule.
And he and I were happy in our own way.