Five of My Favorite Things About Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Radical Candor Book Review

Favorite Thing #1

I was first introduced to this book by Lori Snider, Head of Learning and Experience for RedPeak, and when she recommends a title, I definitely listen. That’s just one of the reasons I’m so excited about our upcoming Book Club: Lori Snider will be joining Kara Rice and me as we discuss this very insightful, very practical book by Kim Scott!

Favorite Thing #2

Kim does a great job laying out the many grinding frustrations of being a boss: feeling like an emotional babysitter, wishing people would stop fixating on the next rung of the career ladder and just do their job, and feeling like no matter what you do, you’re somehow not doing enough to support your team. But she also does a great job of pointing out that business is indeed personal, and the central difficulty and responsibility of management is to establish a trusting relationship with each person who reports directly to you so that you can 1) guide the team toward the goal, 2) motivate team members in a way that resonates with them, and 3) collaboratively drive results.

Favorite Thing #3

I’ve always been irked by the proclamation of, “I’m just being brutally honest here. I call it like I see it,” as though the person’s willingness to spout their superior opinion about any given situation is to be admired. Radical candor, however, resonates with me in a positive way because it’s what the author defines as the intersection of caring personally and challenging directly. When I know my boss personally cares about me as a human being, not just a worker, and she provides candid thanks, guidance, or hard feedback on my work, I am much more likely to accept and act on any praise or direction offered.

Favorite Thing #4

Being a manager is not easy, but one struggle that Kim addresses so well is the importance of keeping top performing team members top of mind. The concept of partnering with your top performers (as opposed to micromanaging or being an absentee manager) makes a whole lot of good sense. While it’s more common that managers find themselves spending a lot of time coaching and working with low performing employees to help them achieve the minimum, there can be an exponential effect on productivity and results when managers invest time in supporting high performers. A little focused attention can catapult their good performance to stellar performance.

Favorite Thing #5

This is probably my biggest a-ha moment: the concept of growth trajectory, as opposed to our common catch-all of “career path.” What growth trajectory does each of your team members want to be on right now? For some, it may be a steep growth trajectory, with a desire to rapidly learn new skills or take on additional responsibilities, or maybe achieve continual promotions. These performers are referred to as Super Stars and help propel themselves and their teams onward and upward. For others, it may be a gradual growth trajectory, with a rich understanding and appreciation of their current role, and who may be more interested in incremental improvements or deepening of knowledge. These are referred to as Rock Stars and help provide stability for the team and the company over time. Employees may be on different trajectories at different times throughout their career, but one is not better than the other. All growth trajectories are valuable and important to the overall health of an organization.

While these are just a few of my favorite things, I can share with confidence that Radical Candor is a management handbook for the ages. Save your seat with us on October 15th for our book cub discussion, and I look forward to hearing some of your favorite things, too!


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