Radical Candor Podcast: Listen, Challenge, Commit

Listen, Challenge, Commit 6 | 17

Kim and Jason answer a listener question addressing a critical aspect of leadership: how to ensure that feedback leads to actionable results. They dissect the listener’s dilemma about differentiating between feedback that should be considered and feedback that must be implemented. Through a detailed discussion, the hosts provide invaluable advice on maintaining a balance between directive feedback and encouraging open, constructive dissent within teams. Listen as they share techniques for overcoming resistance to feedback, setting performance standards, and building a culture of commitment and collaboration.

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Radical Candor Podcast: Episode at a Glance

Radical Candor Podcast: Listen, Challenge, Commit

Kim and Jason discuss the challenges of managing direct reports who may not accept, or disagree with, feedback Kim suggests using the phrase ‘Tell me why I’m wrong’ to encourage persuasion, while Jason acknowledges the need to balance encouraging disagreement with respecting the employee’s autonomy. Later, Kim and Jason discuss the importance of open communication, active listening, and addressing disrespectful behavior in the workplace.

  • Find an example where the direct report did something better than the manager would have suggested, and share that as evidence the manager is open to other approaches.
  • Suggest running an experiment where the next report follows the manager’s recommendations, to test if it produces better results.
  • Have an in-person conversation to explain the importance of implementing manager feedback in client reports.
  • During disagreements, ask the direct report to explain why their approach is better to persuade the manager.
  • Communicate when manager feedback is non-negotiable versus open for discussion.
  • Address any disrespectful rejection of feedback through open communication.
  • Find compromises both parties can commit to when disagreements happen.

The TLDR Radical Candor Podcast Transcript


Listen, Challenge, Commit
A strong leader has the humility to listen, the confidence to challenge, and the wisdom to know when to quit arguing and to get on board.” — Kim Scott


[00:00:00] Kim Scott: Hello everybody. Welcome to the Radical Candor Podcast. I’m Kim Scott. 

[00:00:07] Jason Rosoff: And I’m Jason Rosoff. Amy is out today, so Kim and I will answer a listener question about how to tell a direct report that your feedback is not a suggestion. The listener writes, I am a young manager of a team of four. We have a big feedback culture in our company, which has made giving and receiving feedback really manageable and somewhat easy.

[00:00:26] When a direct report is in the stages of learning something to eventually own and lead it, reviewing work and giving feedback is part of the process. For example, leading the overall strategy or narrative of a project. I have one direct report who responds to feedback quite differently than the others, and I’m struggling to know how to balance giving them feedback to implement and giving them feedback to consider. And then decide if they should accept it or not. 

[00:00:50] Recently, this person led a client-facing project and sent it to me for review. I kept in mind the story, strategy, and narrative are ultimately what I am reviewing. There were a few things that I felt misaligned, which I did comment on and shared an alternative approach. However, they didn’t quite accept the feedback. But rather explained why they didn’t agree with me, which is completely okay, I’m always open to being challenged and collaborating on the way forward. From my perspective, with this being a client-facing report, this needs to be in the best possible form.

[00:01:21] More than that, it’s not just about having a report that works, but one that’s of acceptable quality. If I’m giving them feedback so that they can lead and own this one day, then understanding what that quality looks like, Is really important. 

[00:01:33] Kim Scott: I want to pause. 

[00:01:34] Jason Rosoff: Yes. 

[00:01:34] Kim Scott: Can I pause you there? I think that’s really what this person is saying is really important. Like one of your jobs as a leader is to explain to people where the quality bar is. And, uh, I mean, obviously they may have other points of view, but part of this person’s job is to hold the quality bar high. So I’m feeling, this is a great question. I’m excited to talk about it. 

[00:01:59] Jason Rosoff: Yeah. 

[00:02:00] Kim Scott: Keep going. Sorry.

[00:02:01] Jason Rosoff: Okay. No, that’s great. I get the sense that my feedback is never well received by this person, they’re referring to the, this individual. And they more often than not reject it instead of receiving it as a learning opportunity, especially when it comes to quality, and quality matters. Am I overthinking it? Am I being nitpicky? I did listen to your podcast about this and don’t feel that I was. How do I balance giving them openness to challenge and letting them know that it’s feed, versus letting them know that it’s feedback that must be implemented? What do you think, Kim? 

[00:02:31] Kim Scott: This is a great question and a difficult one. I think at a certain level, I have found kind of the way, one of the ways out of this conundrum is to say to the person, it seems like you disagree with my feedback. And I’m wide open to you disagreeing with it. But since I’m your manager, what you need to do next is to persuade me that I am wrong and you are right.

[00:02:58] And you haven’t persuaded me yet that I am wrong and you are right. I still think that the quality bar that I have, uh, that I have laid out is the right one. So tell me why I’m wrong. I think that phrase, tell me, please tell me why I’m wrong, is helpful in this kind of situation. I don’t know, Jason, what do you think?

[00:03:18] Jason Rosoff: I completely agree. Like, I know this isn’t an exact one to one. But I often think of the sort of like new ideas are fragile. Um, when it comes to disagree, encouraging disagreement, which is you want to encourage disagreement, but that might be a new behavior for some people. They might be very nervous about disagreeing.

[00:03:36] So I understand this manager’s apprehension about squashing what he sees or she sees as a very positive behavior. Which is the willingness to disagree with them, right? 

[00:03:47] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:03:47] Jason Rosoff: But, and so it’s, I think that your phrase, tell me why I’m wrong, is an acknowledgement that I could in fact be wrong and I’m open to changing my mind. And I think that that is one of the best ways to encourage that conversation. But not to acquiesce to the other person, you know, automatically to the person disagreeing with you being right. 

[00:04:08] Kim Scott: Yes, yeah. And I think there’s another nuance in the way the person asked the question, the person who wrote in. Uh, because they’re looking for, you know, the line where I’m not really open to you disagreeing with my feedback. This is a, this is an order, just do it. 

[00:04:28] Jason Rosoff: Umm-hmm. 

[00:04:29] Kim Scott: And we’re, and I think that if it is just in order then they should just say that. They shouldn’t say, I’m not, they should say, this is something I’m not open to feedback on. But I think a manager should almost never say that. 

[00:04:44] Jason Rosoff: Yup. 

[00:04:44] Kim Scott: Um, and you and I had a conversation recently, Jay. I don’t even remember what the topic was. But I remember saying to you, often when I have a strong opinion, it’s loosely held. This one is not loosely held. So you’re going to have to work really hard to change my mind about this. And then you did change my mind, but you did work really hard to change my mind. And you’ve done the same thing for me. 

[00:05:08] Jason Rosoff: Yeah, I can remember several instances, even over the handful of years that we’ve worked together, where we were in like very vigorous disagreement. 

[00:05:14] Kim Scott: Yes.

[00:05:14] Jason Rosoff: But both remained open to changing our minds. I think you’re right that the nuance here is that the manager in the way that they’ve told this. I think the reason why they’re asking where is that line where I just tell this person it’s in order is because they feel like they have failed to impress upon the other person how important their feedback is.

[00:05:35] So I still think your first piece of advice is the right one, which is it sounds like this is happening a little disconnectedly, a little asynchronously, like that it would really benefit from like a sit down. Voice to voice or sort of like eye to eye. 

[00:05:51] Kim Scott: Yes.

[00:05:51] Jason Rosoff: Kind of conversation to say. I, and maybe even sharing that because the managers observe this more than once to say, you know, I’ve noticed this happening and I would like to find a way for us to disagree, but then come to a solution together. And I want to use the next instance of this happening, right? That I’m sure this will happen again. I’m going to use this as an opportunity for us to try to find a pathway through this, and then they can apply your advice, which is to say, so I’m going to say to you this time that I do not agree with the approach that you’ve taken. But I’m open to changing my mind, but you need to convince me before we move forward. And we, and when we walk out of this room, we need to be in agreement about how we’re going to proceed. 

[00:06:35] Kim Scott: Yes. And we can’t argue endlessly, you know, at some point, that’s why what you’re, what you said, when we walk out of this room, we need to be in agreement. I think that Andy Grove, when he was the CEO of Intel often would say, uh, of the culture there that he was trying to create their listen, challenge, commit. And this is something we also talked about at Apple, listen, challenge, commit. You as a leader, you want to listen to the other person’s point of view and that means that you’ve got to be open to being wrong. You do, you’re not telling someone what to do. 

[00:07:13] Jason Rosoff: Right. 

[00:07:13] Kim Scott: There should be very, I mean, there may be a time for a direct order, nothing is absolute. But in general, you really do, I think, need to be open to the other person’s point of view. Uh, so that’s listening. And then you’ve got to invite that other person to challenge you and you’ve got to be willing to challenge them. So you’ve got to listen to each other. You’ve got to be willing to challenge each other. But at a certain point, you’ve got to commit to a path forward.

[00:07:41] And it often feels like that listen and challenge part is a waste of time because you feel as the leader that you know what the answer is and so you don’t want to waste time trying to convince this other person. But there, if you sort of take a deep breath and realize that there are two reasons why it’s not inefficient to have this conversation.

[00:08:05] One is that you may in fact be wrong and that it’s very useful to know, for, to give the other person an opportunity to explain to you that you are in fact wrong. And two, even if you’re exactly right, if the other person is not convinced that you’re right, if you haven’t taken the time to persuade this other person that you are right, uh, then you’re, then they’re not gonna, they’re just not gonna, telling people what to do doesn’t work. They’re not gonna do what you want them to do. So I think that that’s, that listen, challenge, commit can be very helpful in this case. 

[00:08:40] Jason Rosoff: Um, there’s another, there’s a sub thread in the note, which is that this, from the manager’s perspective, this person seems to be resistant to feedback generally, not just about quality, but there’s some resistance. 

[00:08:55] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:08:56] Jason Rosoff: Uh, to, to feedback. And so I think there’s a couple of opportunities for this manager to consider. One opportunity that jumps to mind is to find a place where they did something differently than you would have done, but that you thought was actually better. 

[00:09:11] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:09:12] Jason Rosoff: You’re like, this is a great example of a place where I would have done this differently, and I actually think the way that you approach this is better than the way I would have suggested, which is why I am saying that we need to have these conversations. 

[00:09:22] Kim Scott: Yes.

[00:09:23] Jason Rosoff: So, I think, and it doesn’t have to be a thousand times better, even if it’s five or ten percent better. Like find that thing that you think that their approach was actually better than the one that you might’ve suggested. Because part of what we’re doing is we’re trying to, I think to help with the potential resistance to committing to something that they, maybe they would not, wouldn’t be the approach the employee would’ve taken on their own, is to show that you are actually open to going the other direction.

[00:09:51] Kim Scott: Yes. I also, I think that’s really important, is you’re making your list, your listening tangible by looking for that example where you’re listening resulted in you changing your mind and doing it their way. One of the things that Russ Laraway used to say to his team, which I always loved, he turned Jim Barksdale’s, if we have data, let’s do what the data says. If all we have are opinions, let’s do mine. Russ turned it on its head and said, if we have data, let’s do what the data says. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with yours. And I think that’s really a useful way to think about this is I’m, you know, I’m willing to defer. And the benefit of being willing to defer to someone else’s opinion when you’re not, when it’s not clear what the right answer is A, they’re gonna try harder, and they’re gonna own, they’re gonna own it, uh, in a way that they won’t if you try to force them to follow your opinion too soon at some point. Again, listen, challenge, commit. 

[00:10:55] Jason Rosoff: Yeah, and I think that the data point is also worth hammering on a little bit, which is part of what I read in this manager’s account, is that from their perspective, they believe that they have data that would show that that there are other approaches which would be better. 

[00:11:14] Kim Scott: Yes.

[00:11:14] Jason Rosoff: And I, but they may not have shared that data effectively with the, uh, with their direct report. They made them, they may not have made the case for why they’re, why it’s not purely subjective. 

[00:11:25] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:11:26] Jason Rosoff: Because there’s some additional context that was provided, um, that I’ll read now. So the manager writes, we do have guidelines on how reports should look, and how the content of the report should be presented. Feedback in this sense feels easier to give because the guideline that shows what success looks like is very clear, right? 

[00:11:44] Kim Scott: Mm-hmm. 

[00:11:45] Jason Rosoff: Like, it’s right. But with the overall narrative of the report, there isn’t a guideline that exists because it’s different with each one. 

[00:11:51] Kim Scott: Yeah.

[00:11:52] Jason Rosoff: Each story is different. So in that sense, it is subjective. Um, so I think there’s this, it’s sometimes it feels like harder to give firm, uh, direction on something that is somewhat subjective. But I think if the manager sort of like reaches into their pocket and really like digs for the examples of when they’ve seen the types of suggestions that they’re making work really well, that that might go a long way to convincing, uh, helping the other person appreciate that their perspective is not purely subjective, like they’re basing it on data experience that they’ve had.

[00:12:29] Kim Scott: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s right. I think that another thing, if I read between the lines, so I’m, I may be wrong about this, but I think that the person who wrote in seems to feel that this person doesn’t respect them, isn’t open to feedback. Maybe they’re not open to feedback more broadly or maybe it’s a problem with the relationship between these two people.

[00:12:54] Jason Rosoff: Yeah. 

[00:12:54] Kim Scott: And that is really tricky, like when you feel disrespected by your direct report, uh, that is a difficult thing to deal with. And I think finding a way to have an open communication, like I feel like you, you know, especially if you’ve noticed this person being open to feedback from others, I feel like you’re shut down the feedback from me. Is there something I could do in the way that I share my feedback with you that would make it, that would help us work together better? 

[00:13:30] Jason Rosoff: Yeah. 

[00:13:31] Kim Scott: Or what could I not, is there something? But what could I, you know. And so, in this case, you’re sort of soliciting feedback on your feedback. Which feels like it’s hard enough to have to give feedback, but then, but I think it can be very helpful. 

[00:13:49] Jason Rosoff: The positive side of the subtext in this note is that it’s clear that they think this person is capable. 

[00:13:55] Kim Scott: Yeah.

[00:13:55] Jason Rosoff: And so from a manager, management perspective, the reason why you make that investment, why you do the difficult thing of soliciting feedback on your feedback and trying to be humble so that you can find a way to build that relationship is because the potential is for this person to be really good at their job. 

[00:14:09] Kim Scott: Yes.

[00:14:09] Jason Rosoff: And to make you and the team stronger. And so that’s the positive to me, that’s the positive subtext of the note. It’s like, 

[00:14:16] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:14:16] Jason Rosoff: I’m willing to invest. I think there’s value in making this investment. I’m just trying to figure out the path forward. Um, one tactic that I’ve used with experts in the past who, where, so I’ve managed people who are far more skilled at the discipline that they are directly responsible for than I am. 

[00:14:35] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:14:35] Jason Rosoff: Uh, I’ve had the privilege of doing that many times over the course of my career, especially around like engineering and operations and there, there’ve been lots of places where the skill of the person that was reporting to me vastly outranked mine.

[00:14:50] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:14:51] Jason Rosoff: Uh, and at the same time, I had the advantage of having an outsider perspective. And so some of my ideas, even though they weren’t the way that this person might do it, were actually potentially very useful, like very powerful and helpful. 

[00:15:05] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:15:06] Jason Rosoff: Um, and so one of the ways that I’ve approached that when it’s happened, and I’m thinking in particular, uh, of, uh, of a moment, uh, where I was working with an engineer where I wasn’t making specific technical recommendations. But I was suggesting that, um, the way that we were organizing a code review process, uh, was actually causing things to take longer without noticeable improvements in the quality of our output.

[00:15:31] And I, said, look just for a week, can we run an experiment where we tried it this other way, and you can tell the team that’s an experiment, you can tell them that’s my idea, and if they hate it, they can blame me. 

[00:15:46] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:15:46] Jason Rosoff: But if it works, I want you to just be open to the possibility of trying something new. And I think that idea of like, I’m accepting that this might be a bad idea, but I’m looking for a way to try it, that is low stakes. But gives us some data that we can both look at together and make a decision on, was really convincing to that person. Because they were like, well, it’s just a week. 

[00:16:08] Kim Scott: Yeah.

[00:16:08] Jason Rosoff: Like, you know what I’m saying? 

[00:16:09] Kim Scott: Yeah, yeah.

[00:16:10] Jason Rosoff: And so maybe there’s a way to approach that similarly in this situation to say, here, could we just follow, let’s, as an experiment, let’s try integrating my recommendations into the next report. And let’s see if it turns out better. Like, let’s see if you like the results. Let’s see if the client likes the results. Let’s see if it turns out better and then we can have a conversation because we’ve done it your way a couple of times, right? 

[00:16:34] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:16:34] Jason Rosoff: That’s the good news. We’ve tried it your way a few times. Can we try it my way once and see what happens? 

[00:16:39] Kim Scott: Yes, and I think that’s really useful to say that, uh, opinions are hypotheses. And hypotheses are really valuable if you try to prove or disprove them. And so, making sure that you’re, when you’re asking someone to do it your way, that it’s clear to them, how you’re going to determine whether it worked or didn’t work. Like what’s the data that we’re going to collect to prove or disprove my hypothesis. I think it’s really, really helpful. 

[00:17:09] Um, another thing I think that is tricky about this question from this listener is when you are the manager and you’re trying to prove that you’re open to feedback from other people. And then they disagree with you, but you still think they’re wrong. Like it’s, it can feel like kind of a catch 22. How do I prove that I’m open to feedback while rejecting what this person is saying to me? Uh, it’s very, I mean, and so I’m going to tell a story from radical respect, um, that, that is, it’s a totally different situation, but I think shows some of what happened.

[00:17:53] So I was working with this guy, and he was failing to deliver on a particular project. And so I was giving him some feedback about how the project was going. And I said to him towards the end of the conversation, what can I do or stop doing that would help me help you get this project back?

[00:18:15] And he leaned in, and he says, the problem here is you are the most aggressive woman I ever met. And again, I want to be open to feedback, but I sort of feel like if I’m the most aggressive woman, I’m not even on the list of the top one thousand most aggressive men. And we’re in an aggressive industry. And part of his job is to deal with aggressive people.

[00:18:35] And so his problem can’t be my aggression. His problem is my gender, the combination of my gender and my aggression. And in my case, my gender is not going to change. So what should I have done in that moment to say, I’m open to your feedback, but I’m not open to bias, you know, that was not feedback. I don’t know, how would you have handled that if you were in my shoes, Jason? 

[00:19:00] Jason Rosoff: I mean, I feel like, I don’t know. Uh, I’ve never quite been in the same position even in reverse, like there’s never been a time where someone, you know, accused me of being, like failing to be masculine in a way, 

[00:19:18] Kim Scott: Yeah.

[00:19:18] Jason Rosoff: That they expected me to, so, um, uh, I don’t quite have that experience. But what I will say is like, I think the, in the heat of the moment, like saying you’re the most aggressive woman, like, there’s probably something else underneath there. And what I would have, I think if you had said exactly what you just said to me, it was just like, hey, you know, my gender is unlikely to change, but I would like to understand if, what specific behaviors you are talking about.

[00:19:45] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:19:46] Jason Rosoff: To see if there’s something that I can do to actually address it. So I reject the sort of like the premise, but I accept that there might be behaviors. Um, and so I’m interested in that. Can we double, double click? Like what’s an actual example of that happening? Because maybe it turns out that. What he really meant was not that you’re, he was feeling like you’re an aggressive woman and that was maybe challenging some gender bias that he had. But what he was actually saying was that he felt like you discredit, you discounted his perspective or opinion and sort of steamrolled him in a conversation, you know what I’m saying?

[00:20:21] Kim Scott: Yeah, yeah.

[00:20:21] Jason Rosoff: Like there might’ve been an actual instance of something useful. Anyway, that’s a thought. 

[00:20:26] Kim Scott: In fact, I was talking to Kieran Snyder, uh, who until recently was the CEO of Textio and who has done a lot of linguistic analysis and she’s gathered data that the people who interrupt most often are powerful women. 

[00:20:45] Jason Rosoff: Hmm.

[00:20:45] Kim Scott: And so she’s double clicking on that too. And I certainly, I was like, oh, that’s me. Yeah. Yes. I’ve gotten that feedback before. Not that I’m powerful, but when I was in positions of authority, I got that feedback. And so I think that, you know, that might have been one case. Actually, in this case, in this story, I think part of what was going on was that this guy was using sort of gendered language to reject my feedback. 

[00:21:18] Jason Rosoff: Yeah.

[00:21:18] Kim Scott: He just was, he was trying to push back against my feedback at a sort of instinctive level and using this kind of gendered language. And I think the problem, of course, I didn’t say what I just said to you, I said nothing because I didn’t know what, I didn’t know how to deal with that.

[00:21:36] And then the problem, of course, was that he was then much, uh, harsher in his, in the gender language he used with the women, who are not his boss on the team, you know, the women who worked for him were. 

[00:21:49] Jason Rosoff: Yup.

[00:21:49] Kim Scott: And that became a big problem later, um, so I think it is important when you, when a person is, rejects your feedback disrespectfully, uh, I think it’s important to stop and say, look, I’m, I am open, and you suggested a good way of doing that, I am open to specific feedback, but the way you said that was really not acceptable.

[00:22:17] Jason Rosoff: It was, it was biased. 

[00:22:19] Kim Scott: If you’re feeling or bullying, I think it was more, more bullying than, I mean, it was a combination. There’s, it’s not as we’ve discussed, it’s not me, see. 

[00:22:29] Jason Rosoff: Right. And like, because the way that you described it for the people who aren’t watching on video, you start talking about the person leaning in and pointing at you and in a fit in a space, if you’re in a shared physical space, that could also just be very intimidating, like from a body language perspective, like that which would be bullying. 

[00:22:44] Kim Scott: Yeah, he was pointing at my chest, like, like this. 

[00:22:46] Jason Rosoff: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That would be bullying from my perspective. Totally agree. Yeah. 

[00:22:50] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:22:50] Jason Rosoff: Um, yeah. Look I think the, you know, going back to the top, new manager to this team, new manager in general, like trying to build these relationships, it can feel very scary to get into a, sort of like, a strong disagreement with, a person on your team.

[00:23:14] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:23:14] Jason Rosoff: But what he’s, uh, or they are describing in this situation, what they are describing is a pattern that is going to cause the deterioration of that relationship to the point that they cannot, it’s going to be almost impossible for them to work together. 

[00:23:29] Kim Scott: Yes. 

[00:23:30] Jason Rosoff: Better to have that awkward conversation now than six months from now when you’re both so frustrated that, you know, the person’s thinking about quitting, or you’re thinking about quitting, you know what I’m saying?

[00:23:42] Kim Scott: Or you’re thinking about firing them. 

[00:23:44] Jason Rosoff: Correct. 

[00:23:44] Kim Scott: Yeah, you want to have the conversation now. And I think the tricky thing about that sort of feeling this person is not open to my feedback or this person does not respect me is hard because that, as soon as you feel that way, the temptation is to get very harsh. Uh, and, uh, and, and to sort of exert your authority in a way that is not going to be productive.

[00:24:11] And so I think it’s really important to take a deep breath when you’re feeling that way. And then to be willing to address it. And I think part of the thing that part of the reason why, at least in my career, I’ve not been willing to address it is I’m afraid the person will say to me, no, I don’t respect you.

[00:24:29] And like, and then what, you know, but better to deal with that, better to get it on the table. And then you can do it. Like if you don’t respect me, then you need to find a different boss, you know? 

[00:24:41] Jason Rosoff: Right. I think there, as a person who has had, uh, uh, a direct report tell me that they did not respect me, I’ll tell you that it is like flabbergasting in the moment. But to your point, 

[00:24:54] Kim Scott: Yes.

[00:24:54] Jason Rosoff: It, it’s sort of like having a cyst or something like the, 

[00:24:58] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:24:59] Jason Rosoff: You know what I’m saying? The, like the lack of respect. 

[00:25:01] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:25:02] Jason Rosoff: Better off You better off lancing that thing. 

[00:25:02] Kim Scott: You’re better off knowing about. Yeah. 

[00:25:04] Jason Rosoff: Than living with the cyst. Like, I, it feels counterintuitive, um, but like, it’s much, you’re much better off, uh, in the end because you can address it. And in my case, for, to, as a, to encourage this person, we were able to find a way to at least, like, get along better together without disrespect. 

[00:25:28] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:25:28] Jason Rosoff: Like, it wasn’t that the person had a huge, like, very high opinion of me or something like that, but they did not disrespect me, um, after we addressed hat issue directly. Because it turned out there were some things that I was doing that was, for them, felt very disrespectful, even though in my mind it wasn’t. So they felt that they were meeting disrespect with disrespect. Yeah, which is like, was not good, but by. Admitting that’s how I felt, it opened up the possibility of coming to some, um, what we say, common human decency. 

[00:26:00] Kim Scott: Yes.

[00:26:00] Jason Rosoff: Like we were able to treat each other with common human decency. 

[00:26:03] Kim Scott: And I think that is often the case. When a person is disrespecting you, it is because they feel disrespected by you. And that may be as a result of something you’ve done, or it may be sort of unresolved authority issues. But either way, you’re better off, you’re better off addressing it.

[00:26:22] Jason Rosoff: All right, should we do our tips? 

[00:26:23] Kim Scott: Let’s do the tips. 

[00:26:25] Jason Rosoff: All right, so now it’s time for our Radical Candor checklist tips you can use to start putting Radical Candor into practice. 

[00:26:34] Kim Scott: These tips are going to follow the Listen Challenge Commit, I think. So tip number one, listen and be open to being wrong. If you are misaligned on subjective feedback, ask the other person to persuade you why their idea is the best one. Consider running an experiment to identify which idea is actually most effective for the project in question. 

[00:26:59] Jason Rosoff: Tip number two. Discuss your disagreement. Make your disagreement.

[00:27:03] Kim Scott: That’s the challenge part. 

[00:27:04] Jason Rosoff: That’s the challenge, right. Discuss your disagreement. Let the person know what you don’t agree with and why. Ask to discuss both your thinking and theirs. This is where you need to employ both your challenge directly and care personally skills. 

[00:27:17] Kim Scott: Tip number three, commit to a course of action. Even if you can’t agree on everything that was said, work together to find and commit to a course of action that you can both live with. And it may be, if you’re the boss, that they have to do what you have, they have to do it your way. It may be that you’ve decided to do it their way. It’s not always about compromise, but I think that this commitment is really important. 

Radical Candor Podcast Checklist

  1. Listen and be open to being wrong. If you’re misaligned on subjective feedback, ask the other person to persuade you why their idea is the best one. Consider running an experiment to identify which idea is actually the most effective for the project in question.
  2. Discuss your disagreement. Let the person know what you don’t agree with and why. Ask to discuss both your thinking and theirs. This is where you need to employ both your “challenge directly” and your “care personally” skills.
  3. Commit to a course of action. Even if you can’t agree on everything that was said, work together to find and commit to a course of action you can both live with.

Radical Candor Podcast Resources 

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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.

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