Radical Candor is a book by Kim Scott. It’s recent but has been very well received and I thought I’d analyse it for how well it fits within the leadership lattice.

At the core of Radical Candor is the notion that an effective manager and leader is both blunt and empathetic at the same time.

The lessons from Radical Candor sit mostly within the Individual domain, and some specific to team cohesion in the Organization domain.

Lessons from the individual domain are mostly concerned with how a manager can establish a more meaningful relationship with employees.

  • Two principles are involved in Radical Candor: a manager should care about their employees, and at the same time: challenge them to do the best work possible.
  • Guidance, team, and results: these are the responsibilities of any boss. This is equally true for anyone who manages people — CEOs, middle managers, and first-time leaders
  • As a manager you have fulfill your three responsibilities:
    1. to create a culture of guidance (praise and criticism) that will keep everyone moving in the right direction
    2. to understand what motivates each person on your team well enough to avoid burnout or boredom and keep the team cohesive
    3. to drive results collaboratively
  • The Getting Stuff Done framework is a flywheel of team execution that produces superior results

Lessons from the Organization domain are concerned with team cohesion:

  • To keep a team cohesive, you need both rock stars and superstars
  • Sometimes creating a culture of listening is simply a matter of managing meetings the right way.
  • Part of your job as the boss is to help people think through their ideas before submitting them to the rough-and-tumble of debate
  • There are times when people are just too tired, burnt out, or emotionally charged up to engage in productive debate. It’s crucial to be aware of these moments, because they rarely lead to good outcomes. Your job is to intervene and call a time-out
  • Set a “decide by” date, so everybody would know that they couldn’t lobby the project manager endlessly

There are some lessons related to the Self domain, related to productivity and time management:

  • Often, 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

Notes from this post are from the excellent summary of Radical Candor by Manas Saloi.