Radical Candor

How to be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
Kim Scott

radical candor bosses women in leadershipRadical Candor was discussed at Ellevate Network San Diego’s May Coffee Break.

This book describes Radical Candor as an ability with two dimensions:

  1. Caring personally – finding a connection and understanding needs of team members.
  2. Challenge directly – telling team members when their work is good enough and when it isn’t.

“I raced through RADICAL CANDOR―it’s thrilling to learn a framework that shows how to be both a better boss and a better colleague. RADICAL CANDOR is packed with illuminating truths, insightful advice, and practical suggestions, all illustrated with engaging (and often funny) stories from Kim Scott’s own experiences at places like Apple, Google, and various start-ups. Indispensable.” ―Gretchen Rubin author of NYT bestseller THE HAPPINESS PROJECT

Key points of Radical Candor

  • Radically Candid feedback is hard because feedback is both criticism and praise, but criticism can feel mean, and praise can feel patronizing.
  • Radical Candor feels unnatural because most people have always been told: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” When they become a boss, it is their job to sometimes say “not nice” things. In addition, most people have always been told to be “professional.” Scott says “that’s code for leaving your humanity at home.” To build strong relationships, she says, you have to “Care Personally.”
  • Eliminate the words “Don’t take it personally” from your vocabulary.
  • Build a cohesive team by challenging everyone to do their best work and show you “Care Personally” by making sure each team member’s roles align with their skills, interests, goals, and dreams.
  • Know the difference between employees that are rock stars and employees that are superstars. Rockstars are good at what they do and happy to stay at their current level. Superstars want to move up the ladder quickly.
  • There are three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you and your team are proud of.

“Radical Candor really just means saying what you think while also giving a damn about the person you’re saying it to. Why is it so rare that such a simple thing feels radical?”

The Get Stuff Done (GSD) Wheel

  1. Listen to ideas about what results your team thinks they should be pursuing.
  2. Help clarify their ideas, and your understanding of the ideas, so that you can fill in the knowledge gaps of your team.
  3. Use debate to improve ideas and arrive at the best answer.
  4. Allow the person closest to the facts to decide the course of action.
  5. Take the time to make sure the rest of the team knows and agrees why the final decision was a good one.
  6. Give your team time to execute the ideas with “autonomy and purpose.”
  7. After executing the ideas, learn from the real-life variables whether you executed on the right things and if the decision was correct.
  8. Start step 1 again with listening.

About the Author

Kim Scott is the author of Radical Candor, and offers workshops that help companies with Radical Candor. Previously, Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, and Twitter. She was a member of the faculty at Apple University. Kim led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google. Kim holds a Harvard Business School MBA and went to undergrad at Princeton University.

(Disclosure: I may receive commissions for purchases made through links on this site.)

Have you read Radical Candor? Leave a comment below or contact me!

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