Is Radical Candor the same thing as brutal honesty?

Radical Candor is. not brutal honesty. There is a world of difference between Radical Candor and brutal honesty, or as we call it, Obnoxious Aggression.

The difference between Radical Candor and brutal honesty is that Radical Candor involves caring personally about the person you’re giving feedback to, while brutal honesty does not.

Radical Candor happens when you challenge someone directly because you genuinely care about them and want them to succeed. Brutal honesty, on the other hand, is just being a jerk and saying whatever you want without any consideration for the other person.


The core idea behind Radical Candor is that it is absolutely possible to genuinely care about someone while also directly challenging them. The key distinction between brutal honesty and Radical Candor is caring personally about the individuals you interact with.

We don’t have to be trapped in a false dichotomy where people feel forced to choose between being harsh or ineffective. That’s an unacceptable choice that no one should have to make.

In fact, if you truly care about someone, you will tell them when you think they are making a mistake—and when they are doing well.

Radical Candor occurs when you Care Personally and Challenge Directly simultaneously. Caring Personally means you care about the other person’s growth, not just trying to be popular.

Challenging Directly means openly sharing your perspective while inviting the other person to do the same.

Radical Candor is about creating a new normal where feedback is both kind and clear, not reinforcing bad behavior like brutal honesty does. Remember, if you don’t care personally, it’s not Radical Candor.