Jill's Thoughts

What is Radical Candor?

If there is one thing that I’m good at, it’s speaking my mind. I’m an open book, take it or leave it. A couple of months ago, I read an article on Radical Candor that spoke to me. It was an article I could relate to, one that I felt was written almost with me in mind. What is Radical Candor? Kim Scott says it best:

“[Radical Candor is] creating bullshit-free zones where people love their work and working together”

It doesn’t help an employee to try and protect their feelings or buffer them from the truth. In fact, doing so sets the employee back, harms your business, and ultimately costs much more than using straight-forward language. Instead of giving vague feedback and cautious criticism, care about your employees enough to challenge them directly. This may sound a little harsh to some, but following the principle of Radical Candor is more involved than just challenging people directly. It’s about caring personally for people. Lets look at a quick visual from Kim Scott:

The vertical axis represents the amount you care personally for the people, the horizontal represents the level in which you challenge them directly. Without the aspect of caring personally for the individual, challenging directly turns into obnoxious aggression and will be taken as hostile. Radical Candor requires both caring for the person and challenging them clearly and directly to be effective. If your employees know you care about them as a person, they’ll take the challenge as an opportunity to improve and grow rather than as a hostile attack.

I love the concept of Radical Candor, mostly because I am an unfiltered person incapable of holding my tongue sometimes. If people described me using a hashtag, it would be #nofilter without question. Just remember, it’s great to be honest and candid with your employees, but you have to do it from a position of care and concern for the individual with a sincere desire to see them grow and succeed. Otherwise, your candor won’t be very rad.

This article was written by Jill Grammer-Williams, owner of American Name Services.

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