Radical Candor: How to be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Kim Scott led teams at both Google and Apple.  These experiences inspired her to write Radical Candor, which is her third book.  In it she offers a clear, accessible framework for creating and implementing what she calls “Radical Candor” within teams.

Radical candor involves two dimensions – caring personally and challenging directly.  “When people trust you and believe you care about them, they are much more likely to 1) accept and act on your praise and criticism; 2) tell you what they really think about what you are doing well and, more importantly, not doing so well; 3) engage in this same behavior with one another; 4) embrace their role on the team and 5) focus on getting results.”  According to Scott, challenging people is one of the best ways to show people that you truly care.

Relationships are core to meaningful, productive work lives.  Scott asserts that candor and care are the keys.  The old mantra “it’s just business” no longer reflects our understanding of what leads to success in today’s complex world.  In fact, Scott says, “It’s not ‘just business -’ it’s personal…deeply personal.”

Radical Candor identifies that a leader has three key responsibilities: provide guidance, create a team-centered environment, and get results.  “Establishing trusting relationships is the key to success in all three of these areas.”

Strong relationships take time to build, but when leaders demonstrate care by investing time in learning what truly matters to individual team members, they understand what’s most important to them and can help them achieve it.

Radical candor involves the use of caring, non-judgmental language to let team members know when their work is falling short and to offer guidance for improvement.  Scott identifies a four quadrant framework for radical candor and addresses behaviors within each quadrant.

The book provides a simple, comprehensive framework that both explains the concept of radical candor and provides tools for its implementation.