We’ve put together this list of Radical Candor book club questions to get you started with the discussions for each chapter, but we’d love to hear your ideas as well!
Part 1: A New Management Philosophy
- Describe an experience when you didn’t give direct feedback, but you wish you did.
- Who are the best leaders you’ve worked for in your career? What made them so exceptional? What can you learn?
- Tell a story about the worst boss you ever had. What did they do that made them so bad? How can you avoid those mistakes?
Chapter 1: Build Radically Candid Relationships
- What does the Radical Candor book say are the key responsibilities of a boss?
- Many people mistakenly call Radical Candor the same as brutal honesty. What is the difference between Radical Candor and brutal honesty?
- What are some ways that you show you Care Personally at work?
- Do you think Challenging Directly is a strength or a weakness for you?
Chapter 2: Get, Give, and Encourage Guidance
- Describe an experience when you received feedback that you appreciated and that was delivered in a helpful and caring way.
- Describe an experience when you received feedback in a way that you didn’t learn from because you resented the way it was delivered to you.
- Have you ever been so nice that it ended up working against you?
- Have you ever felt there was no way to not be mean if you needed to get your desired outcome?
Chapter 3: Understand What Motivates Each Person on Your Team
- Have you ever underestimated an employee’s contributions because they weren’t gunning for a promotion? What happened? Did you regret it?
- Have you ever clipped the wings of an employee on a steep growth trajectory? What happened? Did you regret it?
- Are you more at risk of being an absentee manager or a micromanager? What kinds of situations push you towards one of these modes?
- Are you currently on a gradual or steep growth trajectory? Were you ever on the opposite one?
Chapter 4: Drive Results Collaboratively
- Have you ever tried to tell a team of people what to do? What were the results?
- Which step(s) of the Get Stuff Done (GSD) Wheel are easiest or most comfortable for you? What steps do you tend to skip? Where do you get stuck?
- What are some of the practices your team or organization has today that fall into the different steps of the GSD wheel?
- Are you a quiet listener or a loud listener?
- Do you want to foster a culture of debate on a team? If so, how will you do it? If not, why not?
- How do you help your team make decisions? Are you worried you grab too many decisions?
Part 2: Tools & Techniques
Chapter 5: Relationships
- What activities do you do to stay centered?
- Describe an experience when you weren’t able to bring your best self to work. What happened?
- How do you build trust with your direct reports/ staff? What strategies or activities have been most effective, and how can you tell?
Chapter 6: Guidance
- Have you solicited feedback from your direct reports/staff? If so, how have you done it, and has it been successful?
- Do you have a go-to question for soliciting feedback? What is it?
- What are some of the ways that you have rewarded criticism?
- Which of the Radical Candor book’s tips for giving guidance did you find most helpful?
- What’s something you could do tomorrow with someone on your team to offer Radical Candor?
Chapter 7: Team
- Do you or can you begin facilitating “Career Conversations” with your direct reports, as a way of caring personally and helping them map out their career trajectories?
- Do you know the balance of rock stars and superstars on your team? How do you think about growth for different people?
- Did any of the Radical Candor book’s suggestions for hiring and firing resonate as applicable to your team/company?
Chapter 8: Results
- How do you approach 1:1 meetings? How’s that different than the recommendations laid out in the Radical Candor book? Will you change your 1:1’s?
- How do you help nurture new ideas? Which ideas from the book will you adopt?
- Do you hold staff meetings? How do they compare to the approach in the book? Any recommendations that you’ll incorporate?
- Do you think the Big Debate or Big Decision meetings described in the book would help your team?
- What do you think about the number of meetings suggested in this chapter?
- How do you prevent meeting-creep from taking over the time your team should be spending executing?
We hope these questions for your Radical Candor book club are helpful in creating a meaningful discussion with your team! Of course, understanding the ideas is just the first step, and changing your habits and day-to-day actions is hard.
(This post was updated Feb. 19, 2020)