March 29, 2020

Radical Candor by Kim Scott: How to avoid ruinous empathy and obnoxious aggression

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About the Author

Kim Scott is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss without Losing your Humanity and the co-founder of Radical Candor LLC. Kim has been a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other tech companies.

Previously, Kim led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google. Known for her ability to generate billions of dollars in revenue from millions of small customers while keeping her team happy and margins high, her unofficial title was High Priestess of the Long Tail. After Google, Kim joined Apple to develop and teach a leadership seminar.

Additionally, she was the co-founder and CEO of Juice Software, a collaboration start-up, and led business development at Delta Three and Capital Thinking. Earlier in her career, she worked as a senior policy advisor at the FCC, managed a pediatric clinic in Kosovo, started a
diamond cutting factory in Moscow, and was an analyst on the Soviet Companies Fund. Kim received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Princeton University. She is the author of three novels; she and her husband Andy Scott are parents of twins and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Click here to buy on The Book Depository /?a_aid=stephsbookshelf 

About the Book

The idea is simple: You don’t have to choose between being a pushover and a jerk. Using Radical Candor―avoiding the perils of Obnoxious Aggression, Manipulative Insincerity, and Ruinous Empathy―you can be kind and clear at the same time.

Kim Scott was a highly successful leader at Google before decamping to Apple, where she developed and taught a management class. Since the original publication of Radical Candor in 2017, Scott has earned international fame with her vital approach to effective leadership
and co-founded the Radical Candor executive education company, which helps companies put the book’s philosophy into practice.

Radical Candor is about caring personally and challenging directly, about soliciting criticism to improve your leadership and also providing guidance that helps others grow. It focuses on praise but doesn’t shy away from criticism―to help you love your work and the people you work with.

Radically Candid relationships with team members enable bosses to fulfill their three core responsibilities:

  1. Create a culture of Compassionate Candor
  2. Build a cohesive team
  3. Achieve results collaboratively

Required reading for the most successful organizations, Radical Candor has raised the bar for management practices worldwide.


Watch Kim’s video ‘be a kickass boss without losing your humanity’ here

BIG IDEA 1 (6:14) – Care personally and challenge directly.

Caring personally is fundamentally about giving a damn. It is about sharing yourself and allowing others to do the same by creating an environment where everyone can build true relationships. It’s about truly caring about your team as people – not just about how good they are in their job.

Create space for conversations about what your team members want to do with their careers, even if people may not want to stay in your team or your organisation. The first important step to caring personally is to decide that it is your job to make your team successful.

Caring personally and challenging directly are what make up the radical candor. Challenging directly is telling people what’s working and what’s not. Whether you are giving feedback or guidance, you can’t effectively care personally without challenging directly. And you can’t effectively challenge directly without caring personally.

BIG IDEA 2 (8:54) – Choose radical candor.

The radical candor model in the book has two axis; at the top of the vertical axis you’ve got caring personally and bottom is ‘you don’t give a damn’ while on the horizontal axis right hand side is challenge directly and on the left is silence.

If you care personally but don’t challenge directly, you display ruinous empathy. If you stay silent and don’t care personally, you act with manipulative insincerity (which usually involves a lot of back stabbing).

If you have no care but you do challenge directly, you act with obnoxious aggression.  Interestingly many people rather work with an obnoxious asshole than someone who just says nice things all the time as at least you know where you stand with an obnoxious asshole!

When you care personally and challenge directly, this is radical candor.

BIG IDEA 3 (12:39) – You’ve got to get to give.

You can’t just give out radical candor without being open to receiving it.

Team leaders should be open to receiving radically candid feedback from their teams to be a role model in how to receive such feedback and have these conversations. Therefore you may need to encourage your team to practice it with you in a less public setting (eg in your one on one meetings) until people can feel safe to do so in a group environment.

Music By: Gotta Love – Instrumental Version Song by Yulee

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