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 documentation. Normally one would expect written feedback for a severe or persistent issue. Writing it up from the start made me disengage which was the opposite of the desired effect. I think he wrote it because he was nervous he wouldn’t “say it right.” But it would have been much better if he’d “just said it.”

3) The feedback contained inaccuracies to which my manager had no interest in correcting throughout the process.

4) Feedback was always presented as one-sided, never did he ask what my thoughts were about what he was saying.

5) It never felt like a conversation or a caring intervention. When I asked him if he really had any interest in coaching me, he said: “That’s all I have been trying to do”. If that was true, I never felt it.

In the end, I resigned because I had no faith he would be an advocate for me in the future.

Kim Scott is the author of Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity and Radical Respect: How to Work Together Better and co-founder of Radical Candor, a company that helps people put the ideas in her books into practice. Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter and other tech companies. She was a member of the faculty at Apple University and before that led AdSense YouTube, and DoubleClick teams at Google. She's also managed a pediatric clinic in Kosovo and started a diamond-cutting factory in Moscow. She lives with her family in Silicon Valley.