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What is Obnoxious Aggression?

Obnoxious Aggression™ is what happens when you challenge someone directly, but don’t care about them personally. It’s being clear, but not kind; praise that doesn’t feel sincere or criticism that isn’t delivered kindly. Obnoxious Aggression is also called “brutal honesty” or “front stabbing.”

Unfortunately, some confuse Radical Candor with Obnoxious Aggression — for example, in HBO’s Silicon Valley. And Dilbert, who mistakes Radical Candor for Obnoxious Aggression.

“Radical Candor is not a license to be gratuitously harsh or to ‘front-stab.’ It’s not Radical Candor just because you begin with the words, ‘Let me be radically candid with you.’ If you follow that phrase with words like, ‘You are a liar and I don’t trust you,’ you’ve just acted like a garden-variety jerk. It’s not Radical Candor if you don’t show that you Care Personally.” — Kim Scott