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Tips to Avoid Obnoxiously Aggressive Criticism

If you think you've given criticism that was Obnoxiously Aggressive, check out these tips for moving towards Radical Candor! Criticize kindly This doesn’t mean sugar coating. It means seeing your criticism as an act of kindness, meant to help the person improve. If others have rated your criticism as Obnoxiously Aggressive, you’re not showing that you Care Personally. Try to pause for just a moment and imagine the face of somebody you really care about. Bring the kindness you’d show…

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Tips to Avoid Manipulatively Insincere Criticism

If you think you've given criticism that was Manipulatively Insincere, check out these tips for moving towards Radical Candor! Criticize kindly and clearly Just say what you really think. It’s not mean if it’s clear enough. If others have rated your criticism as Manipulatively Insincere, you’re not showing you care or challenging them directly enough. It’s hard to break free from the “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all” advice that was pounded into…

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Praise And Manipulative Insincerity

Praise & Manipulative Insincerity

Manipulatively Insincere praise is given not because it is genuine, but for another motive or agenda. Here’s a story about how realizing you have been Obnoxiously Aggressive can lead to a worse place, Manipulative Insincerity — a not uncommon path. A couple months after joining Google, Kim had a disagreement with Larry Page about his approach to an AdSense policy and wrote an openly critical and arrogant email (watch the video here). Kim still didn’t understand why her assessment of Larry’s…

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Praise And Ruinous Empathy

Praise & Ruinous Empathy

Praise can be Ruinously Empathetic when bosses try to be “nice” and get things wrong. Below are a few cautionary tales of how trying to make a person feel good without taking the time to understand the details of their work to challenge them appropriately can go astray. Wrong assessment Perhaps the most famous example of praise gone wrong was when Bush said on national television to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during Hurricane Katrina: “Heck…

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Tips to Avoid Ruinously Empathetic Criticism

If you think you've given criticism that was Ruinously Empathetic, check out these tips for moving towards Radical Candor! Criticize clearly Don’t try to spare people’s feelings by leaving out the details — that is not nice, it’s just unclear. If others have rated your criticism as Ruinously Empathetic, you’re not Challenging Directly enough. Try clearly explaining what you think directly to them. Just say it! When you don’t say it, you rob the person of a chance to fix…

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Praise & Obnoxious Aggression

Praise can be Obnoxiously Aggressive when it is given without any care for the recipient. Belittling compliments are one of the best examples of this. Below is a perfect example: an email that a boss at a legendary Silicon Valley company sent out to his team of about 600 people, 76 of whom had just gotten bonuses. It sort of screams, “I’ll praise you if it gets more work out of you but I really couldn’t care less how you…

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Tips for Radically Candid Criticism

Giving criticism is hard! Check out these tips for offering Radical Candor: Radically Candid criticism is kind and clear Easy to say, hard to do. Being kind means caring about what’s best for the person long term, not just what feels easiest right now. Being clear means leaving no room for interpretation about what you really think — while also being open to the possibility that your opinion is wrong. Be helpful When you are really clear about what’s wrong and…

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Praise & Radical Candor

Radically Candid praise acknowledges the good work that someone has done and challenges them to do even better. Kim learned that praise can be Radically Candid from Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, one day in front of the Executive Management Group (“EMG”). Google’s “EMG” spent hours every day listening to presentations — some new ideas, some updates on old ideas, some requests for additional resources — from various teams. Kim was presenting details about how the size of the business was…

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Tips to Avoid Manipulatively Insincere Praise

If you think you've given praise that was Manipulatively Insincere, check out these tips for moving towards Radical Candor! Praise specifically and sincerely The more vague your praise is the less genuine it feels. If somebody has rated your praise as Manipulatively Insincere, you’re not showing you care or challenging them directly enough. Try saying “I like the way you ___” It’s hard to be non-specific after that opening. And when you’re precise about something you admire and why, your sincerity…

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Criticism & Ruinous Empathy

When bosses care too much about hurting their employees’ feelings, they will avoid giving criticism. Eventually, it becomes too late to fix this Ruinously Empathetic situation. Here’s an example: Bob joined Kim’s team at Juice with glowing references, an amazing career at two of the world’s greatest technology companies, and a quirky, charming personality. There was just one problem: Bob’s work was terrible. After a few weeks of working diligently, he finally made a presentation that was essentially a “jargon…

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