Radical Candor Book Summary - Radical Candor Book explained in key points
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Radical Candor summary

Kim Scott

Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

4.6 (606 ratings)
29 mins
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    Radical Candor
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    The two dimensions of Radical Candor (®).

    To start, let’s take a closer look at the first dimension of Radical Candor: Care Personally. 

    Of course, you care about the people you work with. But listening to someone share what’s really going on for them, or even sharing some of your own vulnerabilities? That’s just a bit too much, isn’t it? That’s unprofessional. 

    Actually, it’s one of the best things you can do if you want to establish an environment where people feel safe and cared for. Again, think about Kim Scott when she listened to that colleague who was concerned about his health crisis. She listened. She gave him her time. She showed him that his feelings mattered, and that part of being on a great team is that your teammates have your back when you need to deal with something outside of work. If you create an environment where people feel like they can be vulnerable, they will feel safe. And this will build trust.

    It’s important not to let your empathy prevent you from telling people things they need to know to be successful – which leads us to the second dimension of Radical Candor: Challenge Directly. 

    Early in her career at Google, Kim gave a presentation to the company’s CEO and founders. She was understandably nervous, but it all went well – or so she thought. Afterward, her boss invited her to walk together to their next meeting. Her boss gave Kim some specific and sincere praise, but she also made her aware of something: Kim had said “um” a lot. While the feedback stung a little bit in the moment, Kim knew her boss cared about her and appreciated the offer to help her with her presentation skills.

    So if you notice room for improvement in a team member, challenge them. Be kind, be encouraging, be compassionate, and be direct – don’t beat around the bush. When employees discover that you truly want to help them to grow, and that you’re willing to challenge them in service of that growth, they’ll trust you more than they would if you’d held back. 

    Now that you’ve learned more about the two dimensions of Radical Candor and why they’re so important for your relationships with your colleagues, let’s talk about another relationship: the one you have with yourself.

    Dating wisdom holds that, before you can really love someone else, you have to love yourself. Well, the same is true for professional relationships: if you want to care about others, you have to care about yourself first.

    What does that mean?

    Mostly, you will need to find a way to stay centered – especially in stressful situations. You know best what you need to do for yourself to keep an even keel. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Kim, for example, makes sure she sleeps eight hours a night and makes time for exercise and regular meals with people she loves. That is her recipe. What is yours? These types of routines might sound trivial, but they can contribute to your overall well-being. So try to stick to them, and block time in your calendar for activities that are important to you. 

    If you show up for yourself like this, you can show up for others as well. And you’ll become a role model for your team. Which is important because guiding others – as you’re about to find out – is a crucial part of being a radically candid colleague.

    If you want to learn more, please read Chapters 1 and 4 of Radical Candor. You can click here to get the book.

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    What is Radical Candor about?

    Radical Candor (2017) is a roadmap for leaders looking to establish the best possible relationship with their employees. Its insightful approach to management shows how to create a working environment where great ideas emerge, individuals reach their full potential, and employees are proud to follow their boss.

    Who should read Radical Candor?

    • Managers and business leaders
    • Coaches and organizational psychologists
    • Entrepreneurs and self-employed people

    About the Author

    Kim Scott is an experienced CEO who’s worked for a variety of Silicon Valley companies including Twitter, Dropbox, and Google. She’s a former faculty member of Apple University and the current CEO of Candor, Inc. – a company she cofounded to provide more resources for managers and bosses in need of support.

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