Radical Candor - Deepstash
Radical Candor

Radical Candor

Kim Scott Malone

32 ideas


49K reads



Giving Effective Feedback

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The Two Dimensions Of A Manager

There are two dimensions to good managing: care personally and challenge directly.

  1. Care Personally: The first dimension is about being more than "just professional." It’s about giving a damn, sharing more than just your work self, and encouraging everyone who reports to you to do the same.
  2. Challenge Directly: The second dimension involves telling people when their work isn’t good enough—and when it is; when they are not going to get that new role they wanted, or when you’re going to hire a new boss over them due to subpar performance.


5.54K reads

Radical Candor

Radical Candor" is what happens when you put "Care Personally" and "Challenge Directly” together.

The most surprising thing about Radical Candor may be that its results are often the opposite of what you fear. You fear people will become angry or vindictive; instead, they are usually grateful for the chance to talk it through.


4.17K reads

Radical Candor: Sweet And Sour

A great way to get to know somebody and to build trust is to offer Radically Candid praise and criticism

  • Radically Candid praise: "I admire that about you"
  • Radically Candid criticism: To keep winning, criticize the wins.
  • Ask the team: Is there anything I could do or stop doing that would make your lives better?
  • Balance praise and criticism: Worry more about praise, less about criticism—but above all be sincere.


3.37K reads

Obnoxious Aggression

  • When you criticize someone without taking even two seconds to show you care, your guidance feels obnoxiously aggressive to the recipient.
  • If you can’t be Radically Candid, being obnoxiously aggressive is the second-best thing you can do.
  • At least then people know what you think and where they stand, so your team can achieve results.
  • This explains the advantage that assholes seem to have in the world.


2.87K reads

Manipulative Insincerity

  • Manipulatively insincere guidance happens when you don’t care enough about a person to challenge directly.
  • People give praise and criticism that is manipulatively insincere when they are too focused on being liked or think they can gain some sort of political advantage by being fake—or when they are just too tired to care or argue anymore.


2.46K reads

Ruinous Empathy

  • Ruinous Empathy is responsible for the vast majority of management mistakes I’ve seen in my career. Most people want to avoid creating tension or discomfort at work.
  • Similarly, praise that’s ruinously empathetic is not effective because its primary goal is to make the person feel better rather than to point out really great work and push for more of it.
  • Ruinously empathetic praise: "Just trying to say something nice"


2.06K reads

What Motivates Us: Rockstars and Superstars

  • A leader at Apple had a good way to think about different types of ambition that people on her team had so that she could be thoughtful about what roles to put people in.
  • To keep a team cohesive, you need both rock stars and superstars.
  • The rock stars love their work. They have found their groove. They don’t want the next job if it will take them away from their craft.
  • Superstars need to be challenged and given new opportunities to grow constantly.


1.91K reads

Kinds Of Growth

  • Steep growth is generally characterized by rapid change—learning new skills or deepening existing ones quickly. It’s not about becoming a manager—plenty of individual contributors remain on a steep growth trajectory their entire careers, and plenty of managers are on a gradual growth trajectory.
  • Gradual growth is characterized by stability. People on a gradual growth trajectory, who perform well, have generally mastered their work and are making incremental rather than sudden, dramatic improvements.


1.66K reads

Passion Is Overrated

  • It’s a basic axiom that people do better work when they find that work meaningful. Bosses who take this to mean that it is their job to provide purpose tend to overstep. 
  • Insisting that people have passion for their job can place unnecessary pressure on both boss and employee.
  • Only about five percent of people have a real vocation in life, and they confuse the hell out of the rest of us.


1.55K reads


"Give the quiet ones a voice."



1.59K reads

Drive Results Collaboratively

  • First, you have to listen to the ideas that people on your team have and create a culture in which they listen to each other.
  • Next, you have to create a space in which ideas can be sharpened and clarified, to make sure these ideas don’t get crushed before everyone fully understands their potential usefulness.
  • Next, you have to debate ideas and test them more rigorously.
  • Then you need to decide—quickly, but not too quickly.
  • Persuade and execute.


1.27K reads

A Culture of Listening

It’s hard enough to get yourself to listen to your team members and let them know you are listening; getting them to listen to one another is even harder.

The keys are:

  • Have a simple system for employees to use to generate ideas and voice complaints.
  • Make sure that at least some of the issues raised are quickly addressed.
  • Regularly offer explanations as to why the other issues aren’t being addressed.


1.18K reads

Blocking Time To Execute

Execution is a solitary task. We use calendars mostly for collaborative tasks—to schedule meetings, etc. One of your jobs as a manager is to make sure that collaborative tasks don’t consume so much of your time or your team’s time that there’s no time to execute whatever plan has been decided on and accepted.


1.19K reads


"Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."



1.33K reads

Being Consistent isn’t the Best Way

  • We are often told that changing our position makes us a "flip-flopper" or "erratic" or "lacking principles.".
  • The key, of course, is communication. Someone might reasonably complain, "Just two months ago you convinced me of X and now you’re telling me maybe not-X after all?"
  • You obviously can’t change course like this lightly, and if you do, you need to be able to explain clearly and convincingly why things have changed.


1.09K reads


"When the facts change, I change my mind."



1.6K reads


Sometimes we’re overwhelmed by our work and personal lives, and these are the moments when it is hardest to learn from our results and to start the whole cycle over again. That’s why you are at the very center of the wheel that moves you forward as a manager. You’ve got to take care of yourself, first and foremost. That’s easier said than done, of course.


1.01K reads

Work-Life Integration

  • Be relentlessly insistent on bringing your fullest and best self to work—and taking it back home again.
  • Don’t think of it as work-life balance, some kind of zero-sum game where anything you put into your work robs your life and anything you put into your life robs your work. Instead, think of it as work-life integration.


1.01K reads

Stick To The Basics

  • The world is full of advice here, and what is enormously Stick To The Basicsmeaningful for one person is pure crap for another.
  • Do whatever works for you. The key, I’ve found, is to prioritize doing it (but not overdoing it) when times get tough.
  • Here’s what I need to do to stay centred: sleep eight hours, exercise for forty-five minutes, and have both breakfast and dinner with my family.


1.02K reads

Recognizing Your Own Emotions

  • What did I need to do to make sure that my whole team didn’t have a worse day just because I was having a bad one?
  • The best you can do is to own up to how you feel and what’s going on in the rest of your life, so others don’t feel your mood is their fault.
  • Broadcast this: "Hey, I’m having a shitty day. I’m trying hard not to be grouchy, but if it seems like I have a short fuse today, I do. It’s not because of you or your work, though. It’s because I had a big argument with someone.”
  • If you have a truly terrible emotional upset in your life, stay home for a day.


863 reads

Radically Candid Relationships

To build Radically Candid relationships, do not try to prevent, control, or manage other people’s emotions. Do acknowledge them and react compassionately when emotions run high. And do try to master your reactions to other people’s emotions.


999 reads

Being Humble

  • I start with being humble because it’s absolutely essential when delivering both praise and criticism.
  • Furthermore, a common concern that people raise about giving feedback is "What if I’m wrong?" My answer is that you may very well be wrong. And telling somebody what you think gives them the opportunity to tell you if you are.
  • A huge part of what makes giving guidance so valuable is that misperceptions on both sides of the equation get corrected.


832 reads

Situation, Behaviour, Impact.

This simple technique reminds you to describe three things when giving feedback:

1) the situation you saw,

2) the behaviour (i.e., what the person did, either good or bad), and

3) the impact you observed.

Situation, behaviour, and impact apply to praise as well as to criticism.


966 reads

Being Helpful

  • Stating your intention to be helpful can lower defenses. When you tell somebody that you aren’t trying to bust their chops—that you really want to help.
  • Show, don’t tell. It’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten for story-telling, but it also applies to guidance.
  • Finding help is better than offering it yourself.
  • Guidance is a gift, not a whip or a carrot.


872 reads

Giving Feedback

Giving guidance as quickly and as informally as possible is an essential part of Radical Candor.

  • Say it in 2–3 minutes between meetings.
  • Keep slack time in your calendar, or be willing to be late. Don’t "save up" guidance for a 1:1 or a performance review.
  • Guidance has a short half-life. If you wait to tell somebody for a week or a quarter, the incident is so far in the past that they can’t fix the problem or build on the success.
  • Unspoken criticism explodes like a dirty bomb.


807 reads

Criticizing Better

Public criticism tends to trigger a defensive reaction and make it much harder for a person to accept they’ve made a mistake and to learn from it.

  • Corrections, factual observations, disagreements, and debates are different from criticism.
  • Criticizing a person should be done in private.
  • Don’t make the problem personal, but isolate it as something different from the individual.
  • Don’t advise the person getting criticized to not take it personally.


805 reads

What To Converse About With Your Team

  • Their life story, right from kindergarten.
  • Their hopes and dreams.
  • Their two-year plan.


974 reads

Your Hiring Mentality

Here are some simple things you can do to make sure you’re hiring the right people:

  • Job description: define team fit as rigorously as you define skills to minimize bias.
  • Blind skills assessments can also minimize bias
  • Use the same interview committee for multiple candidates, to allow for meaningful comparisons.
  • Casual interviews reveal more about team fit than formal ones.
  • Make interviews productive by jotting down your thoughts right away.
  • In-person debrief/decision: if you’re not dying to hire the person, don’t make an offer.


753 reads

A Result Oriented Approach

Your role will be to encourage that process of listening, clarifying, debating, deciding, persuading, and executing to the point that it’s almost as if your team shares one mind when it comes to completing projects, and then learning from their results


814 reads

Getting The Most Out Of 1:1 Meetings

Here are a few things you can do to make sure you and each of your reports are getting the most out of these 1:1 meetings:

Mindset: Your mindset will go a long way in determining how well the 1:1s go.

Frequency: Time doesn’t scale, but it’s also vital to relationships.


729 reads

Follow-up questions During 1:1 Meetings

  • "Why?"
  • "How can I help?"
  • "What can I do or stop doing that would make this easier?"
  • "What wakes you up at night?"
  • "What are you working on that you don’t want to work on?"
  • "Do you not want to work on it because you aren’t interested or because you think it’s not important?"
  • "What can you do to stop working on it?"
  • "What are you not working on that you do want to work on?"
  • "Why are you not working on it?"
  • "What can you do to start working on it?"


778 reads

How to know if your 1:1 Meetings are a Disaster

  • Cancellations by your team.
  • Updates only, with no constructive talk.
  • If you hear only good news, it’s a sign people don’t feel comfortable coming to you with their problems, or they think you won’t or can’t help.
  • If they never criticize you, you’re not good enough at getting guidance from your team.
  • If they consistently come with no topics to discuss, it might mean that they are overwhelmed, that they don’t understand the purpose of the meeting, or that they don’t consider it useful.


915 reads



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