If you want to get rid of the world’s bad bosses, you are on the right track. Following four years of writing and working experience at the most prestigious companies in the world, the author Kim Scott offers honest guidance and practical suggestions on how to love your work and co-workers. Whether you manage one or more people, you need radical candor now!
Book Title: Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
Author: Kim Scott
Date of Reading: May 2023
Table of Contents
What Is Being Said In Detail
The story begins by introducing Bob, the most likable but least desired worker. The author’s boss gave Bob’s work a good grade, even though it took him weeks to do the minor task. Even Bob was aware that his work was not so great. This led to a dysfunctional team, which resulted in unsolved tasks, unmet deadlines, and distrust in the boss’s knowledge. After the initial firm was closed, the author found out the root of the problem by entering the Google and Apple workforces.
GOOGLE: FREE AT WORK
Everyone at Google was comfortable challenging authority. The words were perceived as collaborative and productive rather than disrespectful or unfriendly. In other words, free. The author mastered the art of getting her employees to tell her whenever she made a mistake. As a result, the group then allowed for open discussion.
APPLE: “WE HIRE PEOPLE WHO TELL US WHAT TO DO, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND”
The author discovered that at Apple, employees who were satisfied to complete the same task for a full year were referred to as “superstars” rather than being unmotivated. You can still do brilliantly even if promotions are not your thing. Being a good boss, whether it be at Apple or somewhere else, starts with having good relationships.
PART 1 A NEW MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY
1. BUILD RADICALLY CANDID RELATIONSHIPS Bringing your whole self to work
The most important lesson in this chapter is that bosses, managers, and leaders are responsible for results, not by doing all the work themselves but by guiding the people on their teams to achieve them. Managers have three areas of responsibility: guidance, team-building, and results.
Guidance is often called “feedback,” and people dread it. Team-building involves finding the right people for the right roles. Millennials expect their careers to come with instructions like a Lego set, so they leave the team as soon as they get up to speed. Managers are frustrated with the difficulty of getting things done, whether they are slow or fast. Sometimes, the team is unwilling to do a little planning, leading to missed deadlines. This can lead to frustration and a lack of focus on results.
RELATIONSHIPS, NOT POWER, DRIVE YOU FORWARD
If you lead a big organization, you should get to know the people who report directly to you. Strengthen relationships by learning the best ways to get, give, and encourage guidance, putting the right people in the right roles, and achieving results collectively that you couldn’t achieve individually.
Radical candor builds trust and opens the door for the kind of communication that helps achieve results. When people trust you and believe you care about them, they are more likely to accept and act on your praise and criticism, tell you what they really think, engage in the same behavior with one another, embrace their role on the team, and focus on getting results. This builds trust and opens the door for the kind of communication that helps achieve results.
2. GET, GIVE, AND ENCOURAGE GUIDANCE Creating a culture of open communication
THE “UM” STORY
The story began with Sheryl, a senior manager at Google, having a conversation with the narrator. Sheryl was impressed with the narrator’s ability to be intellectually honest about both sides of an argument and pointed out all the positive things the narrator had accomplished during the presentation.
She then transitioned to asking if the narrator was aware of the fact that she had said “um” a lot. This conversation was extremely effective on two counts: it made the narrator want to solve the problem immediately, and it made the narrator appreciate Sheryl and inspire her to give better guidance to their team. She made a kind but direct first impression; instead of saying “you are foolish”, she claimed “you sounded foolish”.
The narrator of a story explains the role of radical candor by recounting the story of her dog being begged to sit down at a crosswalk. A stranger who was also waiting to cross the street stated, “I see that you love this dog, but that dog will die if you don’t teach her to sit!” As a result, an unknown man knelt down and yelled “SIT!” to the dog, which eventually took a seat. The man was not judgmental and was clear in explaining why his recommendation was the right way to go.
The most important details are that obnoxious aggression can produce good short-term gains but eventually leave a trail of dead bodies. Managers who criticize others out of spite, allow team members to attack each other, or discourage praise are seen as rude and hostile.
„It will be easier for me if I just tell him that I thought his idiotic presentation was okay rather than trying to explain why it was terrible. But in the long run, I really need to find someone to take his place. If this was your thinking at least once in a career, don’t scroll down. You really worry more about how others see you than taking care of your team. Common wisdom and management advice encourage leaders to care less about how other people view them. If misunderstood, it can lead to a lack of confidence in the team and a tendency to be less assertive.
A Russian tale speaks of a man who cuts off his dog’s tail, but because he cares for him so deeply, he does it gradually in order to spare the dog’s suffering. In an effort to save the dog’s agony, he just brings about more pain and misery. Don’t become that kind of boss!
MOVING TOWARD RADICAL CANDOR
The author discussed creating a culture of radical candor among individuals, but many are hesitant to put it into action. She recommended outlining the idea before asking for feedback and starting with compliments rather than criticism. She also warned against obnoxious aggression before moving on to criticism, as there is a dangerous line between radical candor and aggression.
3. UNDERSTAND WHAT MOTIVATES EACH PERSON ON YOUR TEAM Helping people take a step in the direction of their dreams
What comes to mind when I describe someone as “ambitious?” A positive or negative response? Do you assume the individual is slightly evil, hell-bent on self-gain, and willing to step on others to further their own interests? Or do you presume that the individual is accountable, effective, and a force for good change within the wider group?
Let go of all these reactions and judgments and instead use the performance-potential matrix. It is a tool used to assess the performance and potential of all employees. It is proposed to use the word “growth” instead of “potential” to help managers think about what opportunities to give to which people on their teams. This changed the way the matrix was used, encouraging managers to ask themselves questions like, “Have I given everybody opportunities that are in line with what they really want?” Words matter when it comes to revealing what drives each person.
GROWTH MANAGEMENT It’s getting better all the time
Shifting from a traditional “talent management” mindset to one of “growth management” will help ensure everyone on a team is moving in the direction of their dreams and collectively improves over time. This will help people conduct their careers in the way they desire, not in the way you think they should. It will also remind you to push everyone on a team towards excellent performance, as well as figure out whom to hire, whom to fire, and when a person’s poor performance might just be the boss’s (your) fault.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT MATTERS AND WHY
To be successful at growth management, it is important to understand the motivations and long-term ambitions of each person on the team. To do this, it is important to get to know their direct reports well enough to understand why they care about their work, what they hope to get out of their careers, and where they are in the present moment.
THE PROBLEM WITH “PASSION”
The boss’s job is to get to know their direct reports and understand how they derive meaning from their work. They should also share why the work gives them meaning, as this can help others find their own inspiration. However, it’s not all about the boss.
The most common mistake bosses make is to ignore the people who are doing the best work. This is a terrible way to build a relationship, and some management bloviators suggest hiring the right people and leaving them alone. Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO from 2010–2015, argued that this advice is like saying to have a good marriage. He compared it to marrying the right person and then not spending any time with them.
EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE/GRADUAL GROWTH TRAJECTORY
The most important details are that recognition should not be equated with promotion, as promotion often puts people in roles they are not well-suited for or don’t want. Instead, recognition should be in other ways, such as a bonus or raise, public speaking, or teaching.
EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE/ STEEP GROWTH TRAJECTORY
Keep them challenged. Challenge superstars and give them new opportunities, even if it is more work than they can handle. This will keep them happy and keep them learning.
Don’t squash them or block them. Recognize that you’ll likely be working for them one day and celebrate that fact.
Not every superstar wants to manage. Imagine if Albert Einstein was developing his theory of relativity when he was told to take on management responsibilities for a team of people. This would have resulted in a frustrated Einstein, a demoralized and poorly managed team, and a great loss to humanity’s understanding of the universe.
MANAGING THE MIDDLE
The most important details in this text are that there is no such thing as a “B-player” or a mediocre human being and that everyone can be excellent at something. Unfortunately, many people never find work they are truly excellent at because they stay in the wrong job so long that any change would require a step or two backward. Additionally, the author believes that we should strive to have 100% of the team doing exceptional work and that if someone hadn’t proven in the course of two years that they could do exceptional work, they almost certainly would never get there.
POOR PERFORMANCE/ NEGATIVE GROWTH TRAJECTORY
Part ways. When someone is performing poorly and showing no signs of improvement, it is important to fire them. A successful New Yorker once told the author that when he was going to fire someone, he always woke up in a cold sweat. It is important to approach firing thoughtfully and deliberately.
How do you know when it’s time to fire somebody? The most important details in this text are the three questions to consider when deciding if it is time to fire someone. These questions include whether you have given that person Radically Candid guidance, understand the impact of the performance on her or his colleagues, and seek advice from others.
Common lies managers tell themselves to avoid firing somebody who needs to be fired. It will get better, but it won’t happen by itself. Consider how, exactly, it will get better.
Somebody is better than nobody. Bosses are reluctant to fire a poor performer because they don’t want a “hole” on the team. If they fire “Jeffrey”, who will replace him? How long will it take to find a replacement?
A transfer is the answer. Firing people is difficult, so it’s often tempting to pass them off to an unsuspecting colleague, even if they don’t have the skills or cultural fit needed. It feels “nicer” than firing them.
It’s bad for morale. It’s tempting to keep someone who can’t do the job, but it’s worse for morale than keeping someone who can’t do the job. This is especially true for those who are doing a great job.
LOW PERFORMANCE/STEEP GROWTH TRAJECTORY
Manager, look at yourself in the mirror! The most perplexing management dilemma is when a person who should be taking on more is actually doing a lousy job.
Wrong role. Clay led a team in Atlantis, where he was an effective leader and had grown revenue faster than anyone else. He wanted a growth opportunity and was positioned to take over another, bigger team. However, he wanted to move on to a regional role, which required great political finesse. The narrator had doubts about the fit, but he persisted until the narrator gave in. Almost as soon as he assumed his new role, he grabbed a political hot potato and got burned. The narrator made a bad call and put Clay in the wrong role, leading to his firing.
New to the role; too much too fast. When hiring someone who has never done a job before, it may take them longer than expected to progress. If they show signs of “spiking,” it is worth investing more, but it may not be obvious.
Personal problems. People who have been struggling in their careers may suddenly stop performing well due to a personal issue, so it is important to give them the time they need to get back on track.
Poor fit. A misalignment between a group’s culture and an individual’s personality can lead to a lack of traction in a role or team. This can be caused by a mismatch between the individual’s experience and expertise.
NO PERMANENT MARKERS
People who have been on a gradual growth trajectory may suddenly become restless and yearn for a new challenge, while those who have been on a steep growth trajectory may crave stability. This is why it is important to manage it.
4. DRIVE RESULTS COLLABORATIVELY Telling people what to do does not work
TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO DO DIDN’T WORK AT GOOGLE
The growth of the company was great, but it quickly became clear that it could be better if it operated less like a soccer team of seven-year-olds, all of us chasing the ball, none of us in position. To address this, the CEO created five smaller teams with a random management structure rather than having a team of one hundred in which everybody did a little bit of everything.
TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO DO DIDN’T WORK FOR STEVE JOBS EITHER
A colleague argued with Steve but eventually backed down, even though he wasn’t convinced by his reasoning. When events proved the colleague right, Steve marched into his office and started yelling. From then on, the colleague argued longer and more loudly until either he convinced Steve he was right or Steve convinced him he was wrong. As a result, Steve got it right by being willing to be wrong and by insisting that the people around him challenge him.
THE ART OF GETTING STUFF DONE WITHOUT TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO DO
The most important details in this text are the steps needed to create a culture in which people on a team listen to each other, create space for ideas to be sharpened and clarified, debate ideas, test them more rigorously, decide quickly, bring the broader team along, persuade those who weren’t involved in a decision that it was a good one, and learn from the results. These steps are designed to be cycled through quickly, so it is important not to skip a step or get stuck on one.
The most important details are that when you become the boss, people are likely to tell you to change your style of listening, but this is not necessary. Instead, you can stick to your own style and still make sure everyone on your team gets heard and is able to contribute.
Quiet listening. Quiet listeners need to take steps to reassure those made uncomfortable by their style, don’t be pointlessly inscrutable, and be willing to challenge.
Loud listening. Steve Jobs was a great example of loud listening, where he would put a strong point of view on the table and insist on a response. He did not just challenge others but also insisted that they challenge him back. This is called listening instead of talking or yelling.
Create a culture of listening. The most important details in this text are that it is important to have a system for employees to generate ideas and voice complaints, that at least some of the issues raised are quickly addressed, and that explanations should be offered as to why the other issues aren’t being addressed. This system should empower anyone to point out things that could be better and enable others to help fix those things or make changes. It is also important to champion the system enthusiastically.
The most important notes are that it is important to take the time to clarify ideas in order to save time in the long run. It is important to push the people on the team to clarify their thinking and ideas so that they don’t “squish” their best thinking or ignore problems that are bothering them.
The point of clarifying an idea is to get it ready for debate. If you skip the debate phase, you will make worse decisions, be unable to persuade everyone, and slow down or grind to a halt. However, you don’t have to be in every debate, but you should make sure that they happen and that there is a culture of debate on your team.
Jack Dorsey’s advice to “push the decisions into the facts” is to help a team make the best possible decisions and always get it right. This means lining up decisions and facts and putting egos out of the way.
You’re not the decider (usually). Bosses should create a clear decision-making process that empowers people closest to the facts to make as many decisions as possible, leading to better decisions and better morale.
The decider should get facts, not recommendations. When collecting information for a decision, it is often tempting to ask people for their recommendations, but this can lead to politics and worse decisions. An executive at Apple suggested seeking “facts, not recommendations” to avoid this.
Go spelunking. If you ever played a game of “telephone” as a child, you are familiar with what happens to “facts” when they are repeated excessively. As the boss, you have the right to delve into any details that seem interesting or important to you. You don’t have to stay “high level” all the time, but you can still plunge into the details of some smaller decisions from time to time.
It is important to get more people on board after a decision has been reached, and persuasion at this stage can feel unnecessary and make the decision resentful of those on the team who aren’t fully in agreement. It is also important to establish that the decider has credibility if they expect others to execute on the decision. This is because even explaining the decision is not enough; it must address the listener’s emotions as well. Finally, it is important to establish that the decider has credibility if they expect others to execute on the decision.
As a boss, it is important to balance your responsibilities with the work you need to do personally in your area of expertise. To do this, three things must be done: don’t waste your team’s time, keep the “dirt under your fingernails,” and block time to execute.
Managers should focus on staying centered and building strong relationships with their team to maximize shareholder value. However, too much emphasis on shareholder value can destroy value and morale. Instead, managers should focus on staying centered and building strong relationships to guide their team to achieve the best results.
PART II TOOLS & TECHNIQUES
5. RELATIONSHIPS An approach to establishing trust with your direct reports
Hard times at work can make it difficult to “care personally” about the people you work with and those you live with. However, caring personally is essential for building relationships, and the essence of leadership is not getting overwhelmed by circumstances. It is important to take care of oneself in order to give a damn about others.
Work-life integration. Sleep should not be sacrificed for work or a team, as it can be an expression of who you are, an enrichment to life, and a boon to friends and family. Work should be a positive experience.
Figure out your “recipe” to stay centered and stick to it. Prioritize doing what works for you and not overdoing it when times get tough.
Calendar. Put important tasks on your calendar, such as commute time.
Show up for yourself. Meetings with yourself and others should be prioritized, just like with bosses.
FREE AT WORK
Give your team a sense of autonomy and agency. To do this, you must relinquish unilateral authority, whether it is laid down for you or voluntarily. This will help them feel free at work and bring their best selves to work.
MASTER THE ART OF SOCIALIZING AT WORK
Companies should focus on bringing employees together outside of the office through activities such as happy hours, holiday parties, and off-site events. Spending time with people from work in a more relaxed setting, without the pressure of work deadlines, can be a good way to build relationships.
Building relationships requires respecting boundaries and encouraging people to bring their whole selves to work. There is no one “right” place for these boundaries to be or one way to push them open. Here are some tips to help negotiate them.
Building trust. Regular 1:1s with direct reports and annual “career conversations” are key to building trust and strengthening relationships.
Sharing values. Developing one’s personal values is a lifelong process, but it can be difficult to articulate them in a meaningful way. Many people feel their values are private and don’t want to discuss them with colleagues.
Demonstrating openness. Respect other people’s values when they share them with you, and don’t try to convince them that yours are “right” or theirs are “wrong”.
Physical space. Touching a colleague is not always appropriate or dangerous, but when a colleague’s spouse has been killed or an employee has just announced their engagement, a real hug may be the most effective way to show personal care.
Recognizing your own emotions. It is important to own up to how you feel and what’s going on in your life, so others don’t feel your mood is their fault. This can be done by saying something like, “Hey, I’m having a bad day. I’m trying hard not to be grouchy, but if it seems like I have a short fuse today, it’s because I had a big argument with a friend.”
Acknowledge emotions. Emotional reactions can provide clues to understanding the people you manage, so don’t pretend they are not happening. Instead, respond with “I can see you’re mad, frustrated, elated, etc.”.
Ask questions. Keep asking questions to understand the real issue, don’t overdirect the conversation, and listen to the person’s emotions to gain a better understanding.
Keep tissues a short walk away from your desk. The narrator used to keep a box of tissues in their office in case of tears, but a colleague suggested offering a Kleenex at the first sign of tears. This technique was successful, as it allowed the crier to regain composure. The narrator tried this technique the next Friday and it worked.
Keep some closed bottles of water at your desk. Bottles of water should be kept on hand in case someone is getting upset.
Walk, don’t sit. Take a walk when planning a difficult conversation to reduce the emotional impact of the conversation.
6. GUIDANCE Ideas for getting/giving/ encouraging praise & criticism
GIVING IMPROMPTU GUIDANCE
If you don’t have the courage to give radically candid guidance, your team won’t trust you, and you won’t be able to guide them.
Be humble. Humility is essential when delivering criticism and praise, as it breaks down the natural resistance to what you’re saying. It also gives people the opportunity to tell you if you’re wrong, just as it gives them the opportunity to tell you if they’re right.
Be helpful. Being helpful is a great way to show that you care personally, but it can be difficult to do. To be helpful doesn’t mean being omniscient or doing everyone else’s work for them, but rather finding a way to help them clarify the challenge they’re facing. This clarity is a gift that will enable them to move forward.
Give feedback immediately. Giving guidance quickly and informally is essential for radical candor, but it requires discipline due to our natural tendency to delay or avoid confrontation. The difference in time spent and impact is huge.
In person (if possible). It is important to deliver guidance in person to ensure the clarity of your guidance is measured at the other person’s ear, not at your mouth. Nonverbal communication can help you adjust how you are delivering the message so they can best hear it, and it is easier to tell if the other person understood you clearly when you can look into their eyes, notice if they are fidgeting, or fold their arms.
Praise in public, criticize in private. Public praise is a good rule of thumb for guidance, as it encourages others to emulate what is great.
Don’t personalize. Caring personally is better than personalizing praise and criticism.
GAUGE YOUR IMPROMPTU GUIDANCE, GET A BASELINE, TRACK YOUR IMPROVEMENTS
Visual cues are essential for radical candor, so explain the framework to your team and ask them to gauge your guidance each week. Track your progress to determine if you are moving towards or away from it.
BEING RADICALLY CANDID WITH YOUR BOSS
If you are not in a position of authority, it is not your moral obligation to criticize your boss. If you cannot be radically candid with your boss, consider finding a new job on your own terms. Protect yourself.
GENDER AND GUIDANCE
Gender differences can make it difficult to be radically candid with someone of a different gender due to bias and “gender politics”.
Why Radical Candor may be harder for men managing women. Men are trained to be “gentler” with women, which can be detrimental to their employees.
Switch genders. Imagine a man on your team doing the same thing as the woman, and how would you react? If you react differently, you’re likely to fall into the trap.
Be more specific. Don’t use gendered language when giving feedback, as it can lead to unconscious bias and abrasive traps.
Notice the words you use. Dick Costolo challenged the use of words like “abrasive” in performance reviews and spoke up when he heard something that seemed inappropriately gendered. Bosses should help their team recognize and eliminate gender bias to create a more just working environment.
Never let one person on your team talk to you about another behind their back. Instead, insist that they talk directly to each other without you and hope they’ll work it out.
Good guidance should happen in person, in a conversation. Tools that ask users to write snippets of text are a step in the wrong direction for relationships. Leaders should encourage their teams to take the time to talk to one another.
SPEAKING TRUTH TO “POWER”
Managers should have “skip-level meetings” once a year to ask their direct reports what they can do or stop doing to be better bosses. These meetings need to happen without their direct reports in the room.
Skip level meeting FAQs.
The most important details in this chapter are how to handle a team that has lost faith in their manager. To do this, it is important to break the ice with the team and offer up a couple of issues they have heard about. If the team won’t talk, it is important to read their faces carefully and ask what they think. If there are more problems than the team can cope with, it is important to prioritize them and remind people that personality transplants are not available. Finally, it is important to strike the right balance between being supportive of the boss and being open to the team’s thoughts.
EAM Techniques for avoiding boredom and burnout. The most important details are that, ideally, everyone on a team should achieve exceptional results, but not all of them should be gunning for the next job or content with their current role. To understand what motivates different people, it is important to have radically candid relationships with each person. However, the real world is rarely ideal, and some people may be achieving mediocre results.
Russ suggested a simple opening to the first conversation to learn what motivates each person who reports directly to the manager. He advised managers to focus on the changes that people had made and understand why they made those choices. Values often get revealed in moments of change, such as when someone drops out of graduate school or is bored with theory. In the first case, financial independence is a key motivator, while in the second case, seeing tangible results from work is a key motivator.
Dreams. The conversation moves from understanding what motivates people to understanding the person’s dreams, which are what they want to achieve at the apex of their career. Russ chose the word “dreams” deliberately, as it tends to elicit a professional answer and invites a response that the person imagines the boss wants to hear rather than a description of what the person really wants to achieve.
Eighteen-month plan. Russ taught managers to get people to ask themselves questions about what they needed to learn to move in the direction of their dreams. This allowed managers to identify opportunities at work that would help them develop skills in the next six to eighteen months that would take them in the direction of at least one of their dreams.
7. TEAM Techniques for avoiding boredom and burnout
Once a year, it is important to create a growth management plan for each person on the team to ensure that their aspirations and growth trajectory are aligned with the collective needs of the team. If everyone is not where they want and need to be, it can lead to challenging conversations.
Put names in boxes (temporarily!). The most important details are to identify your rock stars and superstars; identify the people on your team who are doing good work; identify the people who are performing poorly but should improve; and identify the people who are not doing good work and not getting any better. To do this exercise, it is important to spend twenty minutes thinking fast.
Write growth plans. The most important details are to create a three- to five-bullet-point growth plan for each person, provide projects or opportunities that stretch the superstars, and push people who are doing good work to do exceptional work. For those who are doing bad work, make sure expectations are clear and that they need additional training.
Don’t be an “easy grader” or a “hard grader”. It is important to have a shared understanding of what exceptional work is, what good work is, and what bad work is when part of a broader team. If half of your team is in the rock-star box, it is more likely that you are out of step with your colleagues than that you have the best team.
Ensure fairness by level. The leader of a large team tends to think highly of their direct reports, leading to unconscious bias. This can lead to a disproportionate percentage of the people considered rock stars or superstars being the most senior people in a hierarchy, even though this may not reflect reality.
HIRING: YOUR MENTALITY AND YOUR PROCESS
When hiring, it is important to consider both rock stars and superstars.
Companies should invest in the hiring process to ensure that firing people is not easy. This can lead to bad or unfair firing decisions, which can lead to people avoiding taking risks and becoming less than they could be. This is the opposite of personal growth management.
Few things can create a sense of injustice on a team, but when a few managers get together to ensure their promotions are fair, the politics can get ugly. Disagreements can become overly personalized and toxic, and backroom bartering can occur. A grudge held from the last cycle can kill the promotion of an otherwise deserving person.
REWARD YOUR ROCK STARS
Promotions often come with increased salary, responsibility, and equity. However, public celebrations of promotions often outweigh the benefits of making roles clear and transparent. Instead, focus on the work the person is doing, not the status they’ve achieved in the company for doing it.
AVOID ABSENTEE MANAGEMENT AND MICROMANAGEMENT
Build a team that loves their job and loves working together by having career conversations, creating growth management plans, hiring the right people, firing the appropriate people, promoting the right people, and offering yourself as a partner to direct reports. Together, you will accomplish things that you could never do individually while each of you takes a step in the direction of your dreams.
8. RESULTS Things you can do to get stuff done together —faster
Radical candor is the goal of creating a culture of guidance and an exemplary team that embodies the ethos of caring personally and challenging directly. This team is firing on all cylinders and has developed a self-correcting quality, so most problems are solved before you are aware of them. Now is the time to use the gift of radical candor to focus on achieving great results.
1:1 meetings are essential to listening to and understanding the perspectives of team members and to moving up on the “care personally” dimension of the Radical Candor framework.
An effective staff meeting should review how things have gone the previous week, allow people to share important updates, and force the team to clarify the most important decisions and debates for the coming week.
The most important idea is to take action to find time to clarify one’s own thinking and help others clarify theirs; otherwise, they will be tyrannized by their calendar.
“BIG DECISION” MEETINGS
“BIG DEBATE” Meetings are reserved for debate, not decisions, on major issues facing the team. They serve three purposes: lower tension, slow down key decisions, and foster a larger culture of debate. Debate should occur regularly to build muscle and tolerance for discussion and dissension. Regular debates can also prevent explosive fights.
A regular all-hands meeting is important for larger teams to ensure everyone is involved in the decision-making process and to learn about dissent.
The most effective solution is to fight fire with fire by blocking off think-time and alone time in calendars and encouraging others to do the same. This helps them say “no” to more unnecessary meetings.
Measuring activities and visualizing workflows creates more respect between teams, reducing resentment.
Listening to the people who report directly to you is easier, but listening “deeply” in an organization is harder.
BE CONSCIOUS OF CULTURE
A team’s culture has a huge impact on its results, and a leader’s personality has a significant influence on it.
Most Important Keywords, Sentences, Quotes
„I spent a lot more than eight hours a day at my job. If I didn’t enjoy my work and my colleagues, the majority of my brief time on this planet would be unhappy.“
„As is often the case when people are not sure if the quality of what they are doing is appreciated, the results begin to suffer, and so does morale.“
„At Google managers couldn’t just rely on power or authority to get things done. They had to figure out a different, better way.“
PART 1 A NEW MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY
„Part of the reason why people fail to “care personally” is the injunction to “keep it professional.” That phrase denies something essential. We are all human beings, with human feelings, and, even at work, we need to be seen as such.„
„Your relationships and your responsibilities reinforce each other positively or negatively, and this dynamic is what drives you forward as a manager—or leaves you dead in the water“
„We learn more from our mistakes than our successes, more from criticism than from praise.“
„There’s no reason to let a small thing like a verbal tic trip you up.”
„Criticism is a weapon rather than a tool for improvement; it makes the giver feel powerful and the receiver feel awful“
„That which does not grow, rots,” said Catherine the Great.
„The ultimate goal of radical candor is to achieve results collaboratively that you could never achieve individually. “
„And to build a great team that achieves exceptional results, everybody needs to be doing great work. Accepting mediocrity isn’t good for anybody“
„This lack of courage and energy leads to a tremendous loss of human potential—to lives of quiet desperation.“
„Push decisions into the facts, or pull the facts into the decisions, but keep ego out“
„Remember—the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results.“
„When a highly successful person takes a job with a new company and the “fit” isn’t right, it can be painful for everyone. If neither the culture nor the individual can change, it’s best to part ways. You generally can’t fix a cultural-fit issue.“
„It’s better to have a hole than an asshole,” said Steve Jobs.
„Make sure that you are seeing each person on your team with fresh eyes every day. People evolve, and so your relationships must evolve with them. Care personally; don’t put people in boxes and leave them there“
„There’s a fine line between success and failure.”
„The bigger the team, the more leverage you get out of reacting well to criticism in public“
„Too many managers fear that public challenge will undermine their authority. It’s natural to want to repress dissent, but a good reaction to public criticism can be the very thing that establishes your credibility as a strong leader, and will help you build a culture of guidance.“
„Manage your feelings rather than letting them manage you.„
„Remind yourself that no matter how unfair the criticism, your first job is to listen with the intent to understand, not to defend yourself.“
„Make it not just safe but natural to criticize you“
„A huge part of what makes giving guidance so valuable is that misperceptions on both sides of the equation get corrected“
„The best way to lower the barriers that hierarchy puts between us is to admit that it exists and think of ways to make sure everyone feels they are on an equal footing at a human level despite the structure.“
„Remind people that the goal is to create a culture where everyone always feels comfortable giving guidance, especially criticism, directly to their bosses—and that this meeting is a step in that direction, not a substitute for that goal.“
„The goal is to make things better—making them perfect is unrealistic“
„Together you will accomplish things that you could never do individually, while each of you individually takes a step in the direction of your dreams.“
„Interesting fact: to be most effective at optimizing the flow of the chemicals oxytocin and serotonin—which boost mood and promote bonding—hold a hug for at least six seconds.”
PART 2 TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
„If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
„Give the quiet ones a voice.” —JONY IVE
„If you feel guilty about the fact that they are upset, you’re more likely to have a defensive reaction than a compassionate one. Your defensive reaction can lead you, in turn, to unintentionally patronizing or cold behavior.“
„When somebody is upset, it’s not necessarily your fault. Their upset may have nothing to do with you. Focus on them, not on yourself.“
„If you tell somebody they can’t have a particular emotional reaction, it becomes almost inevitable they will have that reaction; your injunction is likely to elicit the very emotions you most fear.“
“It is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things.” —GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
„Trying to solve a problem that hasn’t been clearly defined is not likely to result in a good solution; debating a half-baked idea is likely to kill it. As the boss, you are the editor, not the author“
“Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” —RALPH WALDO EMERSON, SELF-RELIANCE
„You can’t give a damn about others if you don’t give a damn about yourself“
„When everyone on your team is able to bring the best of what they’ve got mentally, emotionally, and physically to their work, they are more fulfilled in their jobs, they work better with one another, and the team gets better results“
„Making sure that all managers are treating the different types of high performers similarly is important to making sure everyone feels the system is fair. It will also give your team the opportunity to be explicit about what they feel the right ratio of people on a steep versus gradual growth trajectory ought to be.“
„Everyone is watching you, but that doesn’t mean it’s all about you“
„Remember, you’re not looking for definitive answers; you’re just trying to get to know people a little better and understand what they care about“
„Learn about small problems to prevent big ones“
Book Review (Personal Opinion)
The book provides a practical yet humorous framework for managers and employees. If you have been told to be professional on your first day at work, this book will teach you that you actually need to be more of yourself and less of a robot. As a result, it will create harmony in your workplace. Many times in my life, I have been advised that if I have nothing nice to say, I should not say anything at all. Empowering eight chapters will show us that in management and leadership, there is no room for such a thing.
This Book Is For:
- Bosses and leaders
- Employees in search of social harmony
- Managers who want to create an environment where people feel safe
If You Want To Learn More
Watch an interview with the author in this YouTube video:
How I’ve Implemented The Ideas From The Book
I introduce my team members to the background of the Radical Condor story, interpreting it using simple language. With mutual agreement, we decided to spend more time on team building and created the action “secret fan” so everyone would write something about the other person and provide a little gift box surprise.
One Small Actionable Step You Can Do
This book helps us understand the importance of radical candor. In other words, caring about personality and challenging yourself directly at the same time. Start by soliciting radical candor, meaning don’t dish criticism unless you can take it. Secondly, show radical candor by focusing on the good stuff but not ignoring the problems. Third, keep in mind that it is not measured in the speaker’s mouth but rather in the listener’s ear. At the end, encourage the person who has interpersonal issues to talk to other people.