Two Managers, One Team: Making Co-Management Work 6 | 20

Kim, Amy, and Jason address a listener’s question about the challenges of implementing Radical Candor within a co-managed team. They dive into how differing management styles can impact team dynamics and explore strategies for aligning co-managers to foster a cohesive and productive environment.

Listen to the episode:

Making Co-Management Work: Episode at a Glance

How do you handle leadership when two distinct styles meet in one team?

In our latest episode, we explore the art of co-management through the lens of Radical Candor, providing you with actionable advice on how to align disparate management approaches. 

Kim and Jason role-play a co-management scenario that sheds light on resolving conflicts and delivering effective feedback.

Making Co-Management Work

The Question:

I am a co-manager for a program, and while I highly recommended the book to my co-manager and we have developed a very close and radically candid relationship, we approach issues with very different perspectives and lenses [with our direct reports]. I’m very in tune with emotions and take a compassionate and understanding approach to issues, relying on my communication skills to support folks as individuals and not just people who work for me. 

I really enjoy supporting and mentoring people, and I have strong communication skills. At the same time, my counterpart is very analytical and has very big visions and plans for the work, while sometimes struggling to relate with people or see things with compassion instead of annoyance when things aren’t getting done or when people don’t understand something.

I’m wondering how I can effectively work to implement the skills and practices laid out in Radical Candor with our team when only half of the team directly reports to me (and thus I only have 1:1s with that half) and the other half directly report to my counterpart.

I don’t want to inadvertently create a more confusing or resentful environment that makes it seem like I’m playing favorites when I only have those relationship-building meetings with half our staff. It’s an interesting, yet challenging, structure to navigate, especially as I reflect on your book.

Radical Candor Podcast Checklist

  1. If you’re co-managing a team or project with a peer, don’t force each other into roles where one of you is all Care Personally and the other is all Challenge Directly. Practice the Radical Candor order of operations with your co-manager regularly to acknowledge and hear one another’s perspective to avoid creating feedback debt.
  2. If you want to practice Radical Candor with people who don’t report to you, you can do it in two-minute impromptu development conversations in between meetings. Someone does not have to report directly to you to engage in Radically Candid conversations.
  3. Even if you and your co-manager don’t agree on everything, find common ground on what you agree on and share it. Discuss the disagreement so you understand why each of you disagrees, and commit to a course of action.

The TLDR Radical Candor Podcast Transcript


@radicalcandorofficial We’re good coworkers! 🧡 #radicalcandor #funny #fyp #workplacehumor #workplace #carepersonally #challengedirectly ♬ Cena Engraçada e Inusitada de 3 Minutos – HarmonicoHCO

[00:00:00] Kim Scott: Hello everybody, welcome to the Radical Candor podcast, I’m Kim Scott. 

[00:00:08] Jason Rosoff: I’m Jason Rosoff. 

[00:00:09] Amy Sandler: I’m Amy Sandler. And today we’re answering a question that Kim got about how to implement Radical Candor on a team where there’s two managers and only one of them is practicing Radical Candor with their direct reports.

[00:00:21] So I’m going to read this question, Kim, I suspect you may want to jump in, but we’ll see how, we’ll see how it goes.

[00:00:27] Kim Scott: I’ll try to stay silent, but as we know, it’s hard. 

[00:00:30] Amy Sandler: As we know. So this person writes, quote, I’m a co-manager for a program and while I highly recommend the book, we’re referring to Radical Candor, to my co-manager, and we have developed a really close and radically candid relationship. We approach issues with very different perspectives and lenses with our direct reports. I’m very in tune with emotions, take a compassionate and understanding approach to issues, relying on my communication skills to support folks as individuals and not just people who work for me.

[00:01:02] I really enjoy supporting and mentoring people and I have strong communication skills. At the same time, my counterpart is very analytical and has very big visions and plans for the work, while sometimes struggling to relate with people or see things with compassion instead of annoyance when things aren’t getting done or when people don’t understand something.

[00:01:25] So I’m wondering how I can effectively work to implement the skills and practices laid out in Radical Candor with our team when only half of the team is directly reporting to me, so, I only have one on ones with that half. And the other half is directly reporting to my counterpart. They close saying, I don’t want to inadvertently create a more confusing or resentful environment that makes it seem like I’m playing favorites when I only have those relationship building meetings with half our staff. It’s an interesting yet challenging structure to navigate, especially as I reflect on your book. 

[00:02:02] Kim Scott: Yeah, this is a hard, this is a hard problem. But not an impossible problem. I mean, um, I think I’ve never been exactly, I’ve never been in this exact situation. I don’t know, Jason, have you? 

[00:02:18] Jason Rosoff: Um, I haven’t split a single team into two. 

[00:02:21] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:02:21] Jason Rosoff: With two separate managers. Um, I’m trying to think of like, uh, the closest thing that I can think of is when you have not a functional team, but like a project or a work team. Where you have two people who might be responsible for different aspects of the work that team is doing. But that’s not quite the same thing as like, they’re also their career managers.

[00:02:42] Kim Scott: Yeah, yeah. And it sounds like, I mean, I wonder, I want to make sure I’m not reading too much into this, but it sounds like kind of the subtext is that this other manager doesn’t have one on ones with their direct reports. But the person writing in does have one on ones. I mean, how did you all interpret the question? Is that part of what’s going on here? 

[00:03:04] Amy Sandler: I interpreted the question, to me, it seemed almost like there were two questions. One was, the question around how do you effectively co-manage with someone. And then the other one is how do you practice Radical Candor both with your peer, who may have a very different approach to these ideas. And then also how do you practice Radical Candor with these folks who are reporting to this peer. Um, I think there was a concern about that their direct reports, meaning the letter writer’s direct reports were having more of these radically candid conversations and they maybe weren’t getting that from the other person.

[00:03:41] Kim Scott: But I mean, it’s not really playing favorites for you to have one on ones with your direct reports, but not someone else’s direct reports. So I think that part of this is they need to be very clear about who’s reporting to whom and what that means, right or wrong? 

[00:04:03] Jason Rosoff: I think that’s right. I think this person has really internalized Radical Candor and believes that it’s the sort of right way to do things. And the advice that you give in the book is the right, are the right things to do. And I tend to have that worldview also. And I think there’s also potentially an assumption here that the people who are not being managed with this, by the person writing the note, being managed by the co-manager, are definitionally worse off because they’re not have, you know what I’m saying?

[00:04:35] Kim Scott: Yeah, yeah. 

[00:04:35] Jason Rosoff: Because they’re not receiving the Radical Candor treatment. And that may or may not be true. Like I think that it’s important to recognize that I’m sure some parts of it are true. Like people, you know, other people who are reporting to the co-manager may want more recognition for their contribution or to be treated more like a whole person that like those things might be true. But there’s no data in the note that says, oh, I’ve talked to people and they’re sort of upset.

[00:05:03] Amy Sandler: Yeah. 

[00:05:04] Kim Scott: Yeah. And it also, my hunch is that part of the issue here is that there are probably some people on the team who would rather work for the person who wrote in. There may also be people on the team who would rather work for the other person. And so I think one of the things that these two co-managers need to work out is, are they going to decide who reports to whom? Are they, how much say are they gon, are they going to give to the employees. 

[00:05:37] Jason Rosoff: Right. 

[00:05:37] Kim Scott: And who works for whom? 

[00:05:40] Jason Rosoff: Right. Fundamentally, I don’t think every manager needs to approach, it doesn’t, it does not need to be, nor should it be a cookie cutter approach. Not every manager has to manage in the exact same way. I think the, to me, the fundamental agreement is like, hey, we’re going to treat everybody with respect, right? We’re going to, we’re going to like respect, 

[00:05:59] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:05:59] Jason Rosoff: Them as individuals, as people. Uh, we’re gonna, we agree to be open to people’s input and feedback. Like you can set some sort of a floor essentially. But that you don’t have to say, oh, one on ones have to have exactly this agenda with every direct report because that would also be doing the wrong thing. You’re over correcting in the other direction. 

[00:06:21] Kim Scott: Yeah. And I mean, I, even there’s some leaders I know whose leadership I really respect enormously who don’t have regular one on ones. I mean, I advocate one on ones, but some people take a different approach. Uh, and they make it very easy to get on their calendar, uh, when they need to, and then they proactively go and talk to the people when there are issues.

[00:06:47] But they don’t have one on ones. I don’t, you know, I, that’s not what I would do, but I’m not going to say that other person’s management is wrong per se. 

[00:06:57] Jason Rosoff: Yep. 

[00:06:57] Amy Sandler: You know, Jason, what’s coming up is a recent conversation that we had about a situation that came up with a client where there were two peers, uh, and they were talking about sort of, let’s say, uh, Kim and Jason, right?

[00:07:15] And so Kim and Jason are peers. And then there was, uh, Sally who works for Jason, but Kim had some feedback for Sally. And so the question was, you know, we were encouraging Kim to go directly to Sally, but Kim and Jason needing to have a conversation so that Jason was aware that Kim was having that conversation with Jason’s direct report, for example.

[00:07:38] And I’m just wondering, are there some learnings there that might be applicable, um, this is even more of that because they’re co-managers? But even just thinking about how do we as a team, as a full team communicate? 

[00:07:50] Jason Rosoff: Yes. And I believe that there are some learnings there. And I believe that most of this problem is solved by a radically candid conversation between these two co-managers.

[00:08:00] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:08:01] Amy Sandler: Yep. So should we give it a try? 

[00:08:03] Kim Scott: Sure. 

[00:08:03] Jason Rosoff: Sure. 

[00:08:03] Amy Sandler: You want to role play having that conversation? So, 

[00:08:06] Kim Scott: But I don’t know what we’re talking about. That’s sort of, we’ve been rambling around. So what, let’s pretend like, well, let’s like give it something slightly more specific. Like, I think Jason, you’re not having enough one on ones with people on your team.

[00:08:20] Brandi Neal: Can I clarify something? 

[00:08:22] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:08:22] Brandi Neal: I think that they’re both having one on ones. I think the co-manager is not having, is not practicing Radical Candor in their one on ones. So, manager one is like, I’m only having one on ones with my people. Co-manager’s not practicing Radical Candor with their direct report, though we practice it with each other.

[00:08:43] Amy Sandler: I think we’re not clear on how they’re not, yeah, I think we’re not clear on how they’re not practicing Radical Candor. 

[00:08:48] Kim Scott: But we could just make it up. 

[00:08:49] Amy Sandler: Do you want to make something up? 

[00:08:49] Kim Scott: For the sake of the role play. 

[00:08:51] Amy Sandler: Brandi, did you have something you wanted to bring to that?

[00:08:53] Kim Scott: No, I just wanted to clarify that I didn’t think the issue was the not having one on ones. It’s just, um, second, co-managers not practicing Radical Candor with their direct report. 

[00:09:03] Jason Rosoff: And I would add to that to say that I don’t think the email quite says that the author of the note that was sent to us has data to back that up. The email is written in a way where it’s like, I suspect that this is how other people feel. And I think that, Kim, is the issue. It’s not so much about have the one on one or not have the one on one, or generally speaking, practicing Radical Candor. I think the conversation is, um, is about the, for example, reacting with annoyance when things aren’t getting done, or when people don’t understand something, as an example of not practicing Radical Candor with their team.

[00:09:45] Kim Scott: It seems like, in other words, the person who wrote in is sort of higher up on care personally. And the other person is further over on challenge directly. And so that can be confusing for a team. 

[00:10:00] Jason Rosoff: Yep, I think so. So that’s what I think needs to be challenged here is, hey, you know, we have very different approaches. When something goes wrong, this is the way that I respond, the author of the note. And when you respond, like, then this is the way that I’ve observed you responding. I think that’s the conversation that needs to be had. 

[00:10:18] Kim Scott: All right. So let’s have kind of a conversation where we’re seeking out opportunities, uh, to figure out what’s going on. And we’re just gonna, as we have this sort of role play, we can start making stuff up that’s beyond, uh, beyond, 

[00:10:33] Jason Rosoff: What’s in the note. 

[00:10:34] Kim Scott: That’s beyond what’s in the note. How about that? 

[00:10:36] Amy Sandler: Who wants to be, uh, our compassionate communicator, letter writer? 

[00:10:40] Kim Scott: I think Jason should be that person. I always like being, 

[00:10:43] Jason Rosoff: Okay, sure. 

[00:10:44] Kim Scott: I always like playing the asshole. Not that this other person is an asshole, writing about. I like, I’m impatient. 

[00:10:51] Jason Rosoff: Yeah, yeah. 

[00:10:52] Kim Scott: Impatience is a, is something that I am always working on. 

[00:10:56] Jason Rosoff: Here we go. Hey Kim, thanks for taking a minute to chat with me. Um, uh, how’s your day gone? 

[00:11:02] Kim Scott: Uh, things are good.

[00:11:03] Things are really good. I mean, we’re never moving fast enough, uh, there’s a lot going on, but, um, you know, I’m excited about the opportunity ahead. 

[00:11:14] Jason Rosoff: Yeah, I hear you. I feel like we’ve, our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs. We’re always trying to get a lot done. And that’s a part of what I wanted to chat with you about, because I feel like we’ve been working so well together over the last few months. And I have some observations about some of the interactions that we’ve had collectively with the team. I was wondering if it’d be okay if I shared those with you. 

[00:11:33] Kim Scott: Sure. But I gotta say our eyes are not bigger than our stomach. Uh, we’re just not moving fast. I mean, I think you and I, uh, I think you and I, uh, I just want to put that on the table because I don’t think we’re moving fast enough. And, you know, I kind of think maybe you’re coddling people a little bit too much. 

[00:11:52] Jason Rosoff: I think I’d be open to hearing why you’re feeling that way. In fact, I’m kind of curious, is there something that I’ve done recently that makes you, uh, that gave you that impression or made you have that reaction? 

[00:12:04] Kim Scott: Yeah. I mean, the other day, James was late on a project and you know, I know his kid was sick or whatever. But I mean, he was late on the project and you just gave him a pass and it was not okay that he was late on the project.

[00:12:18] Jason Rosoff: Do you think that, um, a different kind of reaction in that moment would have gotten a better result. Is there something I should or could have done differently? 

[00:12:26] Kim Scott: Yeah, I mean, I think what I was trying to say, but you kind of cut me off like I was being a jackass, uh, is that, if, he was going to be late, he should have come to us sooner to tell us he was going to be late so we could have put someone else to help fill the, fill his gap. But instead we were just late, you know, and we couldn’t recover. Bad news early, that’s what I say. 

[00:12:53] Jason Rosoff: Yeah, yeah. And I think I actually agree with you on that point. I think we should get bad news, uh, we should get bad news early. And I also think there are some things that we just can’t plan for. Like the, in this particular case, the issue was that, uh, the illness was unexpected. He was sort of out of communication while he was taking care of his kid. So it wasn’t, uh, I’m not saying he doesn’t bear responsibility. But I am saying that, I think that there’s a moment for compassion because, you know, James is telling us like his kid is dealing with a serious illness. And we’re focusing only on the lateness of the project and that public meeting. That’s what I was trying to counteract. I was trying to balance our approach so that we were showing some understanding, but I think we do owe it to James to challenge, uh, him to let us know that stuff earlier. 

[00:13:47] Kim Scott: Yeah, because James, it was like, James got the diagnosis and like quit working for three days before he let us know what was going on. Like that’s three days that were lost and gone forever. Uh, he could have called us right away. It’s not like I would have said, oh, your kid’s sick, tough shit, you know, keep working. I would have said, okay, let’s get Sarah and put her on this project, uh, to cover for you. Like, like I got his back, but he’s got to tell me that I need, you know, that there’s a problem and he didn’t. 

[00:14:17] Jason Rosoff: Yeah, I think that is like an entirely justified reaction. And I would add that in the moments when we were having that conversation and other people were observing, it was very clear that you were annoyed, uh, with James. It wasn’t exactly clear why. And so the concern that I have is that could come across as you’re annoyed because James kid is sick. Um, I think, 

[00:14:39] Kim Scott: Yeah, I mean, I certainly don’t want to give that impression. But like, you kind of shut me down. You’re like, oh, we got to be nice to James. And then I was like, well, what, you know, like, bad news early, and now I look like an asshole. 

[00:14:54] Jason Rosoff: Uh, yep. I could, I can see how I could do a, potentially do a better job in the moment of acknowledging, uh, of being clear, like, I’m being clear with you now that there’s two things that we’re trying to accomplish in this conversation.

[00:15:07] Kim Scott: Yeah, yeah, two things can be true at the same time. Absolutely. Totally believe that. 

[00:15:10] Jason Rosoff: And, 

[00:15:11] Kim Scott: So what are we gonna do? Like James, James works for you. Uh, and so I kind of think it’s your job to tell James this. Um, you know, I don’t know. I, but I feel like part of the problem that we have is I always have to be the heavy, like you’re, I don’t have great confidence that you’re gonna make this clear enough to James.

[00:15:34] Jason Rosoff: That’s something I think you and I need to work on because I do feel like I’m giving this kind of feedback on a regular basis. And so, uh, there’s probably something that we can do differently to make sure that you feel confident about that. 

[00:15:45] Kim Scott: But she, maybe you’re giving that feedback, but James didn’t do what he should have known. Like if James were working for me, he would have known to call me as soon as he got the diagnosis. 

[00:15:57] Jason Rosoff: I mean, maybe, or maybe what James would have done is he would have like worked through, uh, his kid being sick to try to meet an expectation that is not entirely reasonable. Like that’s the flip side. 

[00:16:09] Kim Scott: See, this is the problem. I am not unreasonable. I feel like you’re always putting me in the box of being the unreasonable jerk and I don’t think that’s fair. 

[00:16:18] Jason Rosoff: I honestly think you’re not helping yourself. Like, uh, you see it as me putting you in this box, but what I observe is how people respond to you. And what I’m trying to tell you is that you do not come across as reasonable. That’s not a, say you’re an unreasonable person. Those two things are very different. I’m saying that you do not come across as reasonable in those moments when you are pushing people to hit a deadline. 

[00:16:44] Kim Scott: Should I just let him miss the deadline? I mean, I sort of feel like it’s not reasonable to just let it go. Like, because it’s like, not only for James, but I want the whole team to know what to do if they have a problem. You know, I want this to be, I want this to be very clear to the team. Bad news early. And I do not, I feel like people feel like there’s no consequence for missing their deadlines. 

[00:17:09] Jason Rosoff: Yeah. And what I would say is I think people do feel like there’s a sense of consequence for missing their deadlines. Um, it’s just that things happen, uh, where people are still missing their deadlines. So it, we, since we can’t, absolutely prevent it. I think we are, the thing we need to agree on is we need to make it clear bad news early. 

[00:17:26] Kim Scott: Alright. 

[00:17:27] Jason Rosoff: But I’m a hundred percent on the same page. We need to make that clear. I will give James the feedback that he should have given us this information sooner. And I think you need to talk to James and say what you said to me, which is to acknowledge that this thing was out of his control. You care that his kid was sick. And, uh, you and I have agreed that the right, this is after I talked to him, you and I have agreed that the right thing to do is for him to notify the both of us if something is going to get in the way, even if that thing is out of his control.

[00:17:57] Kim Scott: Okay, I’ll do that. I would also ask you to deliver to the team a bad news early, like we need a norm of bad news early. And I don’t think we have one. And we have missed seventy percent of our deadlines in the last quarter. And that’s not acceptable. 

[00:18:16] Jason Rosoff: Yeah, I think that’s something we should deliver together. I think it’s going to be important for the two of us to stand up there together and say that we have talked about it and we have agreed that this is the team norm. What do you think? 

[00:18:25] Kim Scott: Okay, totally agree, but let’s practice it. ‘Cause I’d, uh, I feel like sometimes when we present stuff together, we’re in this like, mom and dad, good cop, bad cop, kind of. And I don’t like being, the heavy. 

[00:18:41] Jason Rosoff: Okay. Sounds good. 

[00:18:43] Kim Scott: All right. Sounds good. All right. 

[00:18:46] Amy Sandler: All right.

[00:18:47] Kim Scott: Amy, let us know. What do you think? Brandi? Nick? Feel free to chime in. 

[00:18:52] Amy Sandler: Well, I kept waiting to see if I would jump in and I was like, no, I think they’re going to get to a, I felt like you’re going to get to a good place. Um, 

[00:18:59] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:18:59] Amy Sandler: And there was a really important moment, Jason, when Kim kind of pushed back again about the bad news early and you really reaffirmed, yes, we have to declare that. Um, and you actually kind of summarize next steps. And at least for me, there was a, that was a really, well, there were a lot of effective things you did. One was that you really heard what she said, and you really acknowledged the importance of bad news early. And you were actually very clear on what you were expecting from her, like, go back and, you know, talk to James about what you actually just shared with me.

[00:19:36] And so I was curious, just as you were coming up with that in this spot, like, what was it that you were trying to do with that follow up? 

[00:19:44] Jason Rosoff: I think I was willing to, in this role, I was willing to accept that I, that there was more that I could be doing to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future. Um, and that what Kim was suggesting was that we haven’t encouraged the team to do this, like, pretty simple behavior, which is to deliver bad news early enough, or we have been inconsistent, and or, like, the messages that I’ve been delivering have somehow counter, uh, countermanded the principle of bad news early.

[00:20:18] And what I wanted to do was I was trying to address the like, you are not an unreasonable person, but you can be perceived as unreasonable. And so what I want you to do is I want you to talk to James and let him know, because I think that’s going to go a long way to helping to improve, to match the reality of the care that Kim shows for the people on the team, with the perception that Kim can be sort of unreasonably, uh, impatient with delays. 

[00:20:47] Kim Scott: I think I would, I think once you asked me to do that, I think I was really gonna do it. Like I heard, because part of what I was grousing about is that I didn’t want to always be put in the role of the bad cop, and you were asking me to go in and be the good cop.

[00:21:02] Amy Sandler: Yeah. 

[00:21:03] Kim Scott: So, I didn’t say that explicitly, but that was kind of what was going on in my head. 

[00:21:08] Amy Sandler: That is so interesting. Yeah, I definitely kind of tonally and emotionally felt that kind of shift. There was something also where Kim started off by saying, you know, you’re sort of coddling them, etcetera. And, for me, Jason, you did not kind of rise to that. So I’m curious, Jason, when Kim was at the top talking about how you’re coddling the team and not being as direct and holding them accountable. Did you keep that in your mind as something that you wanted to be sure to get back to of like what you were going to be asking from her. Or how did you kind of both manage that emotionally? But use that as a follow up to not make the feedback personal? 

[00:21:51] Jason Rosoff: Yeah. So I think the way I respond to that was to solicit feedback to say that’s interesting, like, tell me what I have done that has made you feel that I’m coddling the team. And from my perspective, Kim did a great job. Like, behaving in a radically candid way, she shifted from sort of the personality or sort of like high level abstract thing to like, specifically, we’ve missed all of these deadlines and that’s, so I didn’t actually feel like I needed to come back to the coddling thing because in the heat of the moment, you know, people don’t choose their words perfectly and, you know, maybe Kim’s frustrated. And if she had continued to like, sort of, vaguely insult my management I probably would have said we need to come back to that. But instead she got right down to brass tax and was like, this is the problem. This is what I’ve seen happen. And I don’t want this to happen again. 

[00:22:40] Kim Scott: And I think that’s a good segue to like the advice we would give to the person who wrote in. Which is like, let’s go back to the Radical Candor order of operations, unless you had anything, Amy, that you wanted to, 

[00:22:54] Amy Sandler: Well, the one thing I’ll say, and I think this is a really good tie in, is that I just wanted to name that in this conversation, there was a lot of what, Kim, you like to call feedback debt.

[00:23:03] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:23:04] Amy Sandler: There was a lot of stuff that had not either been heard or addressed around, whether it was the coddling assumption or whether feeling that, you know, bad news early had not been addressed. So I think, yeah, if you want to talk about how the order of operations especially can get at some of that, um, feedback depth that was really under the surface in that conversation.

[00:23:25] Kim Scott: Yeah. I mean, that’s why I think it always makes sense to solicit feedback. Uh, when Jason solicited feedback, um, I, you know, I gave it. Uh, but, and I started out maybe not saying it in the best way, but that’s the good news about when you solicit feedback. Um, you’re expecting it to come at you and it’s a little bit easier to forgive some sloppy delivery, um, if you’ve just asked for the feedback I think. To try to get curious, not furious if somebody says something that is maybe, you know, not in the best possible way. 

[00:24:08] Um, the other thing that I would say about soliciting feedback in this situation. As I was, as we were doing the role play, I was sort of having a flashback to a situation where I was, um, I had co-founded a company.

[00:24:24] I said I had never been in this situation, as we’re doing the role play, actually, I realized that. Yeah. Uh, and, and in this situation where I was co-founder, one of my co-founders was extremely, extremely impatient and harsh. And I was always worried about my management style, uh, that I was, you know, too nice.

[00:24:47] And so, I sort of, let him be the bad cop so that I could be the good cop. And that was not fair to the team, uh, and also wasn’t fair to him. So I think that soliciting feedback in this kind of situation where one of you has one style and another has another, you want to make sure that the two of you are in lockstep. That the team is not, you know, going to one parent because they think they’ll get a yes from one parent and avoiding the other parent because they think they’ll get a no. 

[00:25:21] Amy Sandler: I thought that was a really great add at the end when you were like, let’s practice what we’re going to say. 

[00:25:26] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:25:26] Amy Sandler: Because it also felt like there was some feedback debt there too of like, we’ve had some of these things come up before and we haven’t been aligned. 

[00:25:34] Kim Scott: Yeah, because I think I got the impression. And this may not be fair, but in reading the note, I got the impression that the person who wrote in didn’t fully approve of the co, the co-managers management style. And that may be like, that needs to get out on the table explicitly.

[00:25:53] Amy Sandler: Mm-Hmm. 

[00:25:53] Kim Scott: Maybe I’m reading too much into this. 

[00:25:54] Amy Sandler: No, that was how I, 

[00:25:55] Kim Scott: Reading myself into the story. 

[00:25:57] Amy Sandler: Well, I felt like there was some frustration there and so I think, and soliciting feedback on both sides could be really helpful. Kim, when you were talking about soliciting feedback, what was coming up for me also was, you know, the instruction was to, you know, follow up with James and, uh, and actually show that care.

[00:26:16] So I’m curious, Jason, when you think about soliciting feedback, for example, from Kim to James. So how would you want Kim to have that conversation with, say, your direct report and what might be the difference in soliciting feedback when you’re doing it kind of peer to peer, co-manager to co-manager versus soliciting feedback, Kim to James?

[00:26:40] Jason Rosoff: I don’t know that I have a super strong opinion on exactly how I’d want Kim to have the conversation. I think in part because I actually trust that Kim does care about the people that we work with. But maybe it’s, like, my point of view going into the, in that moment was Kim does care, but doesn’t always show it as effectively as she could. Uh, and so I would say, like, I would trust Kim to be able to, like, she just did such a good job of explaining it to me that I would trust that she would be able to do a good job explaining it to James. And my, it, I wouldn’t necessarily require that Kim solicits feedback from James either. Like, I think the most important is an acknowledgement of like, hey, I wanted you to know that I care about your kid and, uh, that I understand that that’s what caused the delay. And my frustration was not about your kid being sick, but it was about us missing the deadline without communication.

[00:27:36] Kim Scott: Yeah. And I think that when we’re suggesting to this listener who wrote us the note, when we say solicit feedback, basically that means from that other manager. 

[00:27:47] Jason Rosoff: Yeah. 

[00:27:47] Kim Scott: Like solicit, you know, what, because it’s possible that the person who wrote in is doing something that’s really frustrating that other man, uh, that other manager. And so before the listener talks about what that the other manager is doing that is frustrating a listener they should solicit from their co-manager. And then the next step, of course, is to give praise. And I think, uh, I think there, if the person who wrote in can take a beat to think about what they appreciate about their co-manager. What do they really like about the way that this co-manager works?

[00:28:27] What are the, what, you know, there’s probably some utility to this person’s impatience, so it helps the team achieve better results. So that’s what I mean by, you know, that’s why give praise, after soliciting feedback and give praise is the next step in the order of operations. And then of course, 

[00:28:46] Amy Sandler: Hey Kim, before you, before you jump onto that, um, you know, one of the things that comes up sometimes as questions, you know, we have this order. Um, I think sometimes people take it actually quite literal, right? That it’s sort of happening all at the same time or is it happening sequentially? So I’m curious, just even in this, in this specific situation when you say give specific and sincere praise. So one could be even, hey, I love your desire to have us all, you know, bad news first or bad news quickly.

[00:29:18] You know, is that an example of specific and sincere praise? I mean, is that kind of just, I just want to get really granular for people. 

[00:29:25] Kim Scott: Could be that simple. Um, so, and it’s a good idea to have in mind when you go in to solicit feedback, it’s a good idea to have, it’s just a good idea to have in mind at all times, and in all cases, the things you appreciate, uh, about the people who you work with. A little gratitude goes a long way. 

[00:29:44] Um, so that’s give praise, next step is to give radically candid criticism. Again, aiming to your question, doesn’t have to all be in the same conversation. But at some point pretty soon, the person who wrote in needs to let this other person know that they think they’re being too, that they think they’re being a little bit too aggressive and not high enough up on the care personally dimension of Radical Candor.

[00:30:11] Uh, but you want to make sure that when you do that, when you give that radically candid criticism, that they’re being humble about it. Uh, that they may be wrong that, you know, there’s not one way to manage, uh, everybody. In fact, it’s one of the things I really struggled with in writing the book is that I didn’t want to come across as this arrogant know it all, here’s how everyone should be like me! You know, that’s not what I was trying to say in the book. 

[00:30:41] And then of course, so solicit feedback, give praise, give radically candid criticism, gauge how it’s landing, like, I think in the roleplay Jason and I did, you know, we were both open to each other’s, and it’s good that this person has a good relationship with their co-manager.

[00:31:00] Amy Sandler: And I would say that, you know, Jason in the role play, he said, you know, it was clear that you were annoyed and it wasn’t clear why, and that can come across as you’re annoyed that James’s child is sick. And I thought that was a really great example of providing radically candid criticism in a way that was actually helpful. Like this is actually, it was almost like Jason was gauging it for you for the group in some way. 

[00:31:28] Jason Rosoff: On your behalf. 

[00:31:30] Kim Scott: Yeah. Yeah. Um, and Jason was saying it, and Jason was gauging how I was responding, you know. Jason was willing to pause and talk about some other stuff and acknowledge that bad news early is important before he went in to complain that I was, or to give me some radically candid criticism. Shouldn’t say complain.

[00:31:53] Amy Sandler: Yeah. It did not feel like a complaint at all. I mean, I think again, Jason, with the word coddling and you’re not sort of going down that potential rabbit hole, I feel like the conversation went in a very different direction. 

[00:32:09] Jason Rosoff: Yeah, look, I was basing that on the relationship that was described in the email, but also on an observation that I have from many years of trying and failing to give feedback effectively. Which is that there are moments where you as the person who wants to give feedback should expect that it is a, it is normal for people to respond defensively. And one common defensive tactic is to sort of try to turn the tables on you and make it about you.

[00:32:44] Um, and I think that when the relationship is good, we should well, we should be very open to those moments and say, well, okay, let’s talk about me for a second and let’s figure out, like, what I could be doing differently. Um, if the relationship was bad or this person had acted in bad faith, I probably would have said, sorry, like, I’m not, I don’t think that was, like, the way that you phrased that, I don’t think it was fair, like, is there, tell me what you mean.

[00:33:09] To some extent, like, I think you have to have enough sort of self-management to be able to, uh, allow some of these things to sort of like roll off your back. You know what I mean? I think if the more you sort of focus on the unhelpful parts, the more unhelpful the conversation is likely to become.

[00:33:30] If you can instead try to refocus the person on something helpful, then I think you can, you’re more likely to like, to, at the end of that, to build, uh, to be in a conversation that builds that relationship as opposed to sort of gets in the way of it. 

[00:33:44] Amy Sandler: Great note. And I think just to add the importance of being helpful. And I really felt that in the conversation that you were having with Kim, that you really were sharing to be helpful. So in the spirit of being helpful, let’s get into our Radical Candor checklist so we can start putting Radical Candor into practice. 

[00:34:02] Kim Scott: Tip number one, if you are co-managing a team or project with a peer, don’t force each other into roles where one of you is all care personally and the other is all challenge directly. Practice a Radical Candor order of operations with your co-manager regularly to acknowledge and hear one another’s perspective and to avoid creating feedback gap. 

[00:34:25] Amy Sandler: Tip number two, if you want to practice Radical Candor with people who don’t report to you, you can do it in two-minute impromptu development conversations.

[00:34:34] For example, in between meetings, at the start of a meeting, you can check in with someone and say, hey, I want to see, uh, you know, how I did presenting this executive summary. Do you have a few minutes at the end of the meeting? It doesn’t have to be a big deal. And I think the biggest point here is that someone does not have to report directly to you in order to engage in radically candid conversations.

[00:34:55] Jason Rosoff: Tip number three, even if you and your co-manager don’t agree on everything, which is one hundred percent what’s going to happen, try to find common ground on what you do agree on, the norms that you want the, uh, for your team to operate within, and share it with each other first, come to alignment on those things.

[00:35:15] Discuss any areas of disagreement so you both understand why you disagree, but commit to a shared course of action so that when you go out to the team, you don’t commit the cardinal sin of confusing people by one leader pulling in one direction and the other one pulling in the other direction. 

[00:35:31] Amy Sandler: I thought you all did a great job on that. I wanted to thank again the listener for writing in and their commitment to practicing Radical Candor and to being a compassionate and clear communicator. Thank you so much. 

[00:35:44] Kim Scott: Yes, thank you. We love getting people’s scenarios. So if you have one, send it to us. 

[00:35:51] Amy Sandler: That’s right, and you can go ahead and send it to us, You can also send criticism for us at Of course, if you like what you hear, please go ahead, rate, review us wherever you listen to podcasts. And finally, for more tips, go ahead You’ll find show notes at

[00:36:18] Bye for now. 

[00:36:18] Jason Rosoff: Take care. 

[00:36:19] Kim Scott: Take care, everyone. 

Radical Candor Podcast Resources #theoffice #viral #office #michaelscott #fypdoesntwork #jim #jimhalpert ♬ original sound – Cips🤣


Have questions about Radical Candor? Let's talk >>

Follow Us


Radical Candor Podcast Listeners Get 10% Off The Feedback Loop

Improvising Radical Candor, a partnership between Radical Candor and Second City Works, introduces The Feedback Loop (think Groundhog Day meets The Office), a 5-episode workplace comedy series starring David Alan Grier that brings to life Radical Candor’s simple framework for navigating candid conversations.

You’ll get an hour of hilarious content about a team whose feedback fails are costing them business; improv-inspired exercises to teach everyone the skills they need to work better together, and after-episode action plans you can put into practice immediately.

We’re offering Radical Candor podcast listeners 10% off the self-paced e-course. Follow this link and enter the promo code FEEDBACK at checkout.

Watch the Radical Candor Videobook

We’re excited to announce that Radical Candor is now available as an hour-long videobook that you can stream at LIT Videobooks. Get yours to stream now >>


The Radical Candor Podcast is based on the book Radical Candor: Be A Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott.

Radical Candor podcast

Episodes are written and produced by Brandi Neal with script editing by Amy Sandler. The show features Radical Candor co-founders Kim Scott and Jason Rosoff and is hosted by Amy Sandler. Nick Carissimi is our audio engineer.

The Radical Candor Podcast theme music was composed by Cliff Goldmacher. Order his book: The Reason For The Rhymes: Mastering the Seven Essential Skills of Innovation by Learning to Write Songs.

Download our free learning guides >>
Take the Radical Candor quiz >>
Sign up for our Radical Candor email newsletter >>
Shop the Radical Candor store >>
Get Radical Candor coaching and consulting for your team >>
Get Radical Candor coaching and consulting for your company >>
Meet the team >>