Radical Candor Podcast

The Fundamental Attribution Error and The Little Evil Translator 5 | 8

On this episode of the Radical Candor podcast, Kim, Jason and Amy discuss how the fundamental attribution error makes us more likely to use personality attributes to explain someone else’s behavior rather than considering our own behavior or situational factors that were probably the real cause of the behavior. This is where the “not about personality” part of Radical Candor comes into play. Plus, Jason introduces us to the little evil translator inside his head that, for many years, made him hear feedback as: “You’re terrible. You’re completely incompetent. There’s no possible way you’re going to succeed. It’s a miracle that you managed to tie your own shoes to the office this morning.” Same? Listen and nod along.

Listen to the episode:

Radical Candor Podcast Episode At a Glance

In Radical Candor Kim writes of the fundamental attribution error: “It’s a problem because 1) it’s generally inaccurate and 2) it renders an otherwise solvable problem really hard to fix since changing core personality attributes is so very difficult and time-consuming.”


@xanharrisThe fundamental attribution error 🧠♬ original sound – Xander

This is why it’s useful to solicit feedback before you give it. You might be doing something that contributes to the situation that is frustrating you.

When you solicit feedback before giving it, you are open to the possibility that there is an explanation for their behavior, and even that your behavior might be a contributing factor, rather than just blaming some fundamental personality attribute, like “she is an asshole” or “he is oversensitive” or “they are lazy.”

When an argument is about an issue, keep it about the issue. Personalizing unnecessarily will only make the issue harder to resolve.

Radical Candor Podcast Checklist

Radical Candor Podcast

  1. Remember to solicit feedback before you give it. If someone is doing something that is bothering you, remain open to the possibility that your behavior might be contributing to the situation.
  2. When an argument is about an issue, keep it about the issue. Making it about the person rather than the thing you’re talking about will only make the issue harder to resolve. Instead of saying “you’re wrong,” say, “I think that’s wrong.”
  3. Instead of saying, “you’re a genius,” or “you’re careless,” for both praise and criticism, use the CORE method to keep your feedback about the context, observation, result, and next steps of an issue versus about someone’s personality.
  4.  If you are someone who struggles with self-criticism, it can be helpful to give yourself and the people around you a greater degree of compassion.

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

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.

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.

Sound editing by Nick Carissimi.


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