skip to Main Content

Tips for Radically Candid Praise

The purpose of praise is to help people know what to do more of. Check out these tips for offering Radical Candor:

Radically Candid praise is specific and sincere

Easy to say, hard to do. Being specific about what’s great rather than just saying “good job” inspires growth rather than plateauing. Sincerity usually flows from the combination of specificity and caring personally.

Be helpful

When you explain exactly what is good and why, it helps people know what to do more of. It helps them make good work great, and great work insanely great. It helps them grow personally and professionally.

Be humble

When you explain in detail why you admire something and what you learned from it, you rarely seem patronizing or insincere.

Give praise immediately

You’ll remember the specifics much better when you see something great and point it out right away. Just say it!

Deliver praise in person

Communication is mostly non-verbal. You can know how your praise is landing and adjust appropriately only if you can see how the other person reacts.

Give praise in public

When you share specifically what was great and why it was great publicly, not only does it have more meaning for the person being praised, it helps the whole team learn something new. But there are exceptions — some people are embarrassed by public recognition. Make sure you know people well enough to flag this.

Don’t praise personality

Saying “you are great” when somebody does great work has an unspoken, dangerous corollary: if the work is bad, “you are terrible.” Personalizing praise promotes plateauing and avoidance of risks. Saying specifically what was great and how to build on it promotes a growth mindset. Save the phrase “good boy” for your dog…