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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 take it personally” when someone gets upset after you’ve given them some critical feedback:

For more tips, check out Chapter 2 of Radical Candor, and read this highly popular article from last year about giving feedback that’s not about personality.

Video: Radical Candor, the Book

We’re very excited for the release of Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, coming next Tuesday, March 14th! To get excited for Pi Day, and the copy of the book that you’ve hopefully already pre-ordered :), check out this video of Kim talking about why she wrote the book.


If you still need to pre-order your copies, go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Passage, or your local bookseller!

Video: A Manipulative Insincerity Story

Manipulative Insincerity is the worst of the quadrants in our Radical Candor 2×2 because you don’t Challenge Directly or show you Care Personally. Unfortunately, when you or those around you behave with Manipulative Insincerity, it’s often reciprocated and difficult to break out of.

We shared a story from Joe Dunn last year about Obnoxious Aggression. Now here’s a continuation of that story, when Joe found himself in a meeting surrounded by Manipulative Insincerity.


Have you experienced something like this? Share your story with us!

Video: The Radical Candor Origin Story

Have you heard Kim tell the origin story for Radical Candor? When she was living in New York, a complete stranger approached her on the street and Challenged her Directly while also showing that he Cared Personally. Kim was amazed by the interaction, and further inspired by the words the stranger left her with:

It’s not mean, it’s clear.

Watch the video for the full story:

Also check out episode 2 of the Radical Candor podcast for more about this story and Radically Candid criticism.

Video: A Ruinous Empathy Story

Kim shares a story about a time that she describes as the worst moment of her career. She learns a hard lesson after being Ruinously Empathetic with one of her employees for a period of several months. Although she Cares Personally and tries to be “nice,” her lack of Direct Challenges causes issues for her, for the employee, and for her whole team.

Watch her story:


Listen to episode 4 of the Radical Candor podcast to hear Kim and Russ discuss this story and provide tips for avoiding Ruinous Empathy.

Have you found yourself in a position like this one? We’d love to hear your story! Reach out in the comments below or on Facebook.

Video: A Radical Candor Story

It’s time for some Radical Candor! Russ tells a story of receiving Radical Candor from his Colonel in the Marines. He gets a Direct Challenge that gives him a clear message for how he can improve, and as a result, Russ is able to become a better leader.


What may not be as clear in this version of the story is the way that the Colonel showed that he Cared Personally. This was something that he had done over time in building his relationship with Russ. By the time the Colonel gave the feedback that Russ describes in this video, there was already a foundation of Caring Personally that made it possible for Russ to hear the Direct Challenge.

To hear more about that side of the story, listen to Episode 2 of our podcast!

Video: Kim’s Manipulative Insincerity Story

Remember that the labels that we use for the Radical Candor framework (Radical Candor, Ruinous Empathy, Obnoxious Aggression, Manipulative Insincerity) are not labels for people. They’re ways to describe specific interactions, to help make Radical Candor easier. By sharing stories that show how these types of behaviors come about, we hope to remind you that we all make mistakes and help you learn from ours.

Last month we shared a story from Kim about Obnoxious Aggression, and as you know if you’ve been following our stories, realizing that you’ve been Obnoxiously Aggressive often leads to Manipulative Insincerity. In this video, Kim tells her story of making this shift:


Have you found yourself in a similar situation? We’d love to hear your stories!

Video: A Journey to Manipulative Insincerity

We’ve shared a couple of stories from Russ, telling about a time he was Ruinously Empathetic with his feedback, and then how he shifted to Obnoxious Aggression. What happened next is a common path; his Obnoxious Aggression led to Manipulative Insincerity. You may remember it from Stephanie Usry’s story a couple of weeks ago.

Watch this video to see Russ’s full journey through each of these areas of the Radical Candor 2×2:


It’s easy to see how we could all experience similar situations and fail to Care Personally or Challenge Directly. Can you relate? Remembering stories like this can help spur you to Challenge Directly and show you Care Personally in these types of situations in the future.

Share your stories with us, too!

Video: From Obnoxious Aggression to Manipulative Insincerity

Most of us don’t consider ourselves to be jerks or rude people. So if we discover that we’ve been Obnoxiously Aggressive, we’re chagrined! Unfortunately, the natural tendency then is to back off the Direct Challenge. Obnoxious Aggression turns into Manipulative Insincerity.

In our latest video, Candor Trainer Stephanie Usry tells her stories about following this journey.


Next time you find yourself being Obnoxiously Aggressive, remember this story. Instead of backing off your Direct Challenge, push yourself higher on the Care Personally axis. This will help you move in the right direction, towards Radical Candor.

We hope that by sharing stories like Stephanie’s we can help you feel less alone in these challenges and help you avoid making these same mistakes. We’d love to hear your stories, too! Reach out in the comments below, or send us a note.

Video: A Ruinous Empathy Story

Have you ever held back from saying what you really thought at work because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings? Have you seen something that needed improvement but didn’t tell the person, figuring they would realize and fix it on their own?

If you said yes to either of these questions, you may be exhibiting Ruinous Empathy. But don’t despair! So many of us have made these mistakes. We care about the people we work with, and we don’t want to hurt their feelings. Sometimes we aren’t sure our perspective is right, and we don’t want to be arrogant or tell people what to do. So rest assured that you’re not alone. Here’s a story from Candor trainer Joe Dunn about a time when he behaved with Ruinous Empathy.


If you’ve noticed that you sometimes do this, you’re on the right track! Knowing is half the battle. Next, read our advice for stopping your Ruinous Empathy when you know you’re being “too nice.”

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