“From the time we learn to speak, we’re told that 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.”
Attracting and retaining Millennials, Gen X and Boomers – whatever the generation, the challenge is the same. Managing people is hard work.
Kim Scott, protégé of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandburg from the Google days, went on to work for Apple where she developed a leadership class. In that class: radical candor.
“Radical candor is the sweet spot between managers who are obnoxiously aggressive on one side and ruinously empathetic on the other,” said Scott. “It’s about providing guidance, which involves a mix of praise as well as criticism – delivered to produce better results and help employees achieve.”
How Radical Candor Works
In the book, Scott details three overarching principles for developing strong relationships with the people who work for you. According to the book:
- Get personal
- Get stuff done
- Understand why it matters
These elements work together to help people challenge directly, while caring personally. Both parts of the equation are important.
If you care too much and avoid challenge – that’s “ruinous empathy.” If you challenge without caring for people’s feelings, that’s “obnoxious aggression. False empathy combined with aggression is “manipulative insincerity.”
The Golden State Warriors, recent winners of the NBA Finals, employ radical candor to keep winning.
“The secret to winning is to point out to great players what they could have done better, even when they just won a game,” said Andre Iguodala, 2015 Finals MVP for the Golden State Warriors.
That is good advice: do not rest on your laurels. And challenge directly, but care personally. Be radically candid.