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Radical Candor in “The Sound of Music”

We're starting a Media Fridays series where we'll show videos, songs, TV show clips, etc. that are fun examples of Radical Candor, Obnoxious Aggression, Ruinous Empathy, or Manipulative Insincerity. First up, The Sound of Music. Maria criticizes her boss, Captain von Trapp, with Direct Challenges (pretty strong ones!), but she also shows over and over that she Cares Personally. Maria doesn't hesitate to "Just say it!" As often happens, Captain von Trapp doesn't react well to Maria's criticism at first. Radical Candor is hard. It…

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Video: How Does Gender Impact Radical Candor?

We often encourage people towards Radical Candor with the phrase "Just say it!" It sounds so easy, so why don't more people already do it? Sometimes, the reason is gender. Boys are taught never to hit a girl, and this translates into male bosses tending to withhold criticism or to be overly gentle with women. Women are more likely to be seen as Obnoxiously Aggressive when they are Radically Candid, so they refrain from just saying it in order to not be called…

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The Problem with “Constructive Feedback”

A question that we’ve gotten from a number of readers is “I tried to give X constructive feedback, but then X got all defensive. How can I get through to X?” When a person begins a conversation by saying or even just thinking, “I’ve got some constructive feedback for you,” the other person’s defenses go up right away. There are three problems with the way that’s phrased. The first is the construction of the sentence – basically, “I’m gonna tell you a thing or two” – is not humble or helpful. The second is the word “feedback.” The third is the word “constructive.”
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A HIP Approach To Feedback: How To Achieve Radical Candor

A HIP Approach to Feedback: How to Achieve Radical Candor

We’re all about helping people become more Radically Candid with their feedback. By feedback, we mean praise and criticism. Being Radically Candid means: Being more specific and sincere with praise Being more kind and clear with criticism This will improve your relationships at work AND help you achieve a better business result. But it’s easy for us to give this advice and hard for you to do it. Here’s a way to think about how to be more kind and clear…

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3 Steps For Offering Radical Candor To Executives

3 Steps for Offering Radical Candor to Executives

DILEMMA: Providing criticism to senior executives can be a daunting undertaking. How do you practice Radical Candor with executives, especially if you know they haven’t been receptive to criticism in the past? We received this question from one of our readers: How do you solve the problem of senior executives who tend to shut down and adopt an Obnoxious Aggressive position when faced with criticism? I’ve found that the Obnoxious Aggressive ones are often challenged internally by feelings of embarrassment…

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Radically Candid Hugs

Show you Care Personally in just 6 seconds My friend Stacy Brown-Philpot, who just became Task Rabbit’s CEO--go, Stacy!--recently shared a great tip for establishing that you “Care Personally” in just 6 seconds. Stacy learned this tip from much-loved Silicon Valley coach Bill Campbell. The first time Stacy ever met Bill was when he came up to her after she gave a talk she’d given and told her that she flapped her hands in front of her face when she…

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Why emails with the salutation “Gentlemen” drive me ape shit (admittedly, a disproportionate response)

The other day I asked a guy I work with what his team thought of an idea I had. It turned out that everybody liked my idea, and so X forwarded me the thread to let me know I was free to proceed with it. However, when I got his email I forgot all about the idea because of the first, seemingly innocuous word: On Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 10:07 AM, X <x@radicalcandor.com> wrote: Gentlemen, Kim has proposed... I…

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Gender and Radical Candor

I had such an interesting with the folks at First Round Capital yesterday about gender and Radical Candor. Read the article here, or check out these highlights: Why gender politics & fear of tears makes Radical Candor harder for men I was recently talking to a physics professor whose student didn’t know the quadratic equation. (I don’t remember it from high school algebra either, but I’m not majoring in physics.) Stunned, and wondering how she’d gotten this far with such a gaping hole…

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How to be Radically Candid about B.O.

In an article about Radical Candor in the Financial Times recently, Mrs. Moneypenny described a Dreaded Moment for a boss. This is an experience that anyone who’s been a manager for over 10 years has had: the employee with extreme body odor. When I taught a class called "Managing" at Apple, I would bring up the awkward case of body odor as a case study, and in each class I taught, several managers would describe how they handled the situation, and one…

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Radical Candor in Kabul

I received a great question from a reader recently that I wanted to share. I've been sending your article to all the leaders I know. One of them asked this: In your discussions with Ms. Scott, did she discuss avoiding the perception that you are in the Obnoxious Aggression quad when your intent is Radical Candor?  With perception so often complicating reality, a supervisor utilizing Radical Candor might find themselves chatting with the HR department for being “aggressive”.  Military leaders…

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Radical Candor with Strangers

A number of people have asked this question recently: I can see how Radical Candor works when I already have a relationship... but what about with people I barely know. Isn’t it too risky? I won’t pretend it isn’t risky. It is. But not being Radically Candid is also risky. And the rewards of being Radically Candid for you and for the other person can be enormous. In fact, the idea of Radical Candor was born for me when a…

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Radical Candor Misfire

Here is a story from a reader about a boss who was trying to be radically candid, but didn't quite hit the mark. My manager's effort to give me guidance was a total misfire. Here are some key differences between what I experienced and the technique your article describes: 1) Feedback was given in a cramped, unattractive conference room (not on a walk as your first encounter). 2) Feedback was presented in written form initially which escalated the conversation to…

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Setting a Tone of Radical Candor with a New Team

I recently received this question from one of our readers: Hi Kim, I'm just moving into a new role at a new company, and I have a clear opportunity to set a tone for Radical Candor within my function team / direct reports on joining. I wonder if you might be kind enough to offer some advice as to how you would create the optimum conditions for Radical Candor within my new team. I'm a relatively transparent line manager, and…

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Being Radically Candid with people in remote offices

We received this question from one of our readers: Are there any key things to keep in mind when being Radically Candid with people who aren’t in your office?  I want to make sure I’m being thoughtful about those team members specifically who I don’t see face to face. - A Reader My thoughts: 1) Talk over video conference to people in remote offices more frequently, ideally every day even if just for 5-10 minutes. When you are physically present, you…

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Update on Radical Candor Dilemma #1

The reader who wanted advice on Being Radically Candid With a New Team that's Demotivated wrote in with an update, which I thought was worth sharing. Here it is: I’ve had about half of the conversations, and I feel like they are going well.  I’m definitely getting some nuggets that I would have never thought of before. Here are a couple of examples: When they were hired, they were very under the radar, but as they became more and more successful,…

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What to do when you’re being Radically Candid but everybody thinks you’re a jerk…

Dozens of people have asked me some version of this question over the past few days. Here are some ideas… Remember, you may be wrong. Make sure that when you criticize people you aren’t giving them the impression you’re 100% sure you’re right. Remember, a challenge is an invitation to fight back. You are saying what you think, so that they can either correct your thinking, or you can correct theirs. And if you are wrong, cop to it loudly,…

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