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Video: Why to Avoid "Don’t Take it Personally"

It's hard to take general management and feedback advice and visualize how to apply it in real-life situations. Some Radical Candor readers have mentioned to Kim that it would be helpful to see various feedback and management scenarios acted out. So she and Eleanor Scott did this fun improv role play to help with one of Kim's pieces of advice: Eliminate the words "Don't take it personally" from your vocabulary. Here's why it's such a bad idea to say, "Don't…

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Radical Candor is Not About Labeling People

The Radical Candor vocabulary can be very useful for creating shared context and a shared standard around feedback. However, there are some good ways and some not-so-good ways to use this vocabulary. When used within a company, it can be tempting to label people using the 4 Radical Candor quadrants. “Oh, yeah, Obnoxious Aggression - that’s totally Ted!” Or people walking around making the letter “M” with their fingers to identify certain co-workers as Manipulatively Insincere (oh, that doesn’t happen…

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Video Tip: Radically Candid Criticism is Not About Personality

Radically Candid criticism is not about someone's personality. When you give criticism, it is best to talk about how the work product could be improved, not about (alleged) flaws in the person's character. Saying things like "You're a jerk" or "You are sloppy" is neither kind nor helpful. And it's almost always an imperfect analysis of the situation. So whenever possible, focus your feedback on the work. Now, this isn't always possible, and Russ shares some tips for how to approach criticism…

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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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Don’t Give Feedback about Personality

There is a big difference between Caring Personally and giving praise or criticism about somebody's personality. The final tip in our HIP approach to feedback is that Radically Candid praise and criticism is not about personality. It’s about the work, not the person. People can't alter their personality, so saying things like "You're a jerk" or "You’re sloppy" is neither kind nor does it provide specifics to make the direct challenge clear. Saying "you’re a genius" when somebody does great work…

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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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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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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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Tips to Avoid Ruinously Empathetic Praise

If you think you've given praise that was Ruinously Empathetic, check out these tips for moving towards Radical Candor! Praise Specifically Just saying “good job” is not helpful, and saying, “you are great” can actually be counterproductive. If somebody has rated your praise as Ruinously Empathetic, you’re not challenging them enough. Try being specific enough to show how to build on the success. Your job is not to be a cheerleader It’s to offer praise that shows exactly what was great…

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