Radical Candor

Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

by Kim Scott

Number of pages: 272

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

BBB Library: Leadership, Operations Management

ISBN: 978-1427283122

About the Author

Kim Scott is the co-founder and CEO of Candor, Inc. Kim has been an advisor at Dropbox, Kurbo, Qualtrics, Shyp, Twitter, and several other tech companies. She was a member of the faculty at Apple University and before that led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google. Previously, Kim 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, Kim 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. She is the author of three novels Virtual Love, The Househusband, and The Measurement Problem; she and her husband Andy Scott are parents of twins and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Editorial Review

Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity.   This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.   Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, and distilled clearly giving actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.

Book Reviews

“ "Radical candor" is the most effective of four leadership styles that Scott outlines in the book. Each leadership style, she writes, is a behavior and not a trait — meaning it can be developed. So if you're currently a mediocre or even a bad boss, you can work on that.” –Business Insider

“The kinds of relationships and results that can be achieved by radical candor are not trivial. It’s the difference between people punching a clock and people striving to realize their own, and your organization’s, dreams. As a boss, or an aspiring professional, choose radical candor over its forgeries.” – Forbes

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Wisdom to Share

It’s absolutely within your power to build a team that looks forward to coming to work every day.

From the time we learn to speak, we’re told “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” While this advice may work for everyday life, it is a disaster when adopted by managers.

Our humanity is an asset to effectiveness, not a liability.

A central difficulty of management, the thing that goes to the heart of being a good boss but often goes overlooked, is establishing a trusting relationship with each person who reports directly to you.

It’s not enough to care only about people’s ability to perform a job. To have a good relationship, you have to be your whole self and care about each of the people who work for you as a human being. It’s not just business; it is personal.

Challenging people is often the best way to show them that you care when you’re the boss.

It happens all too often that bosses view employees as lesser beings who can be degraded without conscience; that employees view their bosses as tyrants to be toppled; and that peers view one another as enemy combatants. When this is the toxic culture of guidance, criticism is a weapon rather than a tool for improvement.

When bosses are too invested in everyone getting along, they fail to encourage people to criticize one another. They create the kind of work environment where “being nice” is prioritized at the expense of critiquing, and therefore, improving actual performance.

Even though relationships don’t scale, culture does. Your relationships and your responsibilities reinforce each other, and from that interaction your success flows and your culture grows.

What we bring to work depends on our own health and well-being. Managers who create a stable foundation for themselves are invariably more effective at building teams on which people can do the best work of their lives.

Building radically candid relationships requires you to walk a fine line between respecting other people’s boundaries and encouraging them to bring their whole selves to work.

Once people are clear on what they wanted to learn next, it becomes much easier for managers to identify opportunities at work that would help them develop their skills in the next six to eighteen months that would take them in the direction of at least one of their dreams.