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Video: A Ruinous Empathy Story

Kim shares a story about a time that she describes as the worst moment of her career. She learns a hard lesson after being Ruinously Empathetic with one of her employees for a period of several months. Although she Cares Personally and tries to be "nice," her lack of Direct Challenges causes issues for her, for the employee, and for her whole team. Watch her story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN0DQRqmQNs Listen to episode 4 of the Radical Candor podcast to hear Kim and Russ discuss this story…

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Resolve to Be a Better Leader in 2017

It’s that time of year. A time for new beginnings. A time for renewal and resolution. Like many, you may be feeling inspired and committed to a set of New Year’s Resolutions. But have you committed to any that will help you be a better leader in 2017? Maybe you’re not sure where to start, what leadership resolutions to choose. John Farmer, one of our engineers, and I developed a list of “Leadership New Year Resolutions” to help you start…

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Video Tip: Praise in Public, Criticize in Private

When thinking about how to best deliver feedback, think not only about the manner in which you give it, but also the setting you choose. Radically Candid praise is delivered in public and Radically Candid criticism is delivered in private. When you share specifically what was great and why it was great publicly, not only does it have more meaning for the person being praised, it helps the whole team learn something new. If you're criticizing a person, it's much kinder…

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Praise And Manipulative Insincerity

Praise & Manipulative Insincerity

Manipulatively Insincere praise is given not because it is genuine, but for another motive or agenda. Here’s a story about how realizing you have been Obnoxiously Aggressive can lead to a worse place, Manipulative Insincerity — a not uncommon path. A couple months after joining Google, Kim had a disagreement with Larry Page about his approach to an AdSense policy and wrote an openly critical and arrogant email (watch the video here). Kim still didn’t understand why her assessment of Larry’s…

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Challenging Conversations

Praise & Ruinous Empathy

Praise can be Ruinously Empathetic when bosses try to be “nice” and get things wrong. Below are a few cautionary tales of how trying to make a person feel good without taking the time to understand the details of their work to challenge them appropriately can go astray. Wrong assessment Perhaps the most famous example of praise gone wrong was when Bush said on national television to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during Hurricane Katrina: “Heck…

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Video Tip: Radically Candid Praise is Immediate

Radically Candid praise is immediate. You'll remember the specifics much better when you see something great and point it out right away. At Candor, Inc. we of course think great feedback is extremely important, and so in addition to trying to help others improve their feedback, as a company we're internally focused everyday on building a culture of great feedback, a culture of Radical Candor. We give feedback frequently and think about how it is received, both through in person…

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Praise & Obnoxious Aggression

Praise can be Obnoxiously Aggressive when it is given without any care for the recipient. Belittling compliments are one of the best examples of this. Below is a perfect example: an email that a boss at a legendary Silicon Valley company sent out to his team of about 600 people, 76 of whom had just gotten bonuses. It sort of screams, “I’ll praise you if it gets more work out of you but I really couldn’t care less how you…

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Praise & Radical Candor

Radically Candid praise acknowledges the good work that someone has done and challenges them to do even better. Kim learned that praise can be Radically Candid from Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, one day in front of the Executive Management Group (“EMG”). Google’s “EMG” spent hours every day listening to presentations — some new ideas, some updates on old ideas, some requests for additional resources — from various teams. Kim was presenting details about how the size of the business was…

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Tips to Avoid Manipulatively Insincere Praise

If you think you've given praise that was Manipulatively Insincere, check out these tips for moving towards Radical Candor! Praise specifically and sincerely The more vague your praise is the less genuine it feels. If somebody has rated your praise as Manipulatively Insincere, you’re not showing you care or challenging them directly enough. Try saying “I like the way you ___” It’s hard to be non-specific after that opening. And when you’re precise about something you admire and why, your sincerity…

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Tips to Avoid Ruinously Empathetic Praise

If you think you've given praise that was Ruinously Empathetic, check out these tips for moving towards Radical Candor! Praise Specifically Just saying “good job” is not helpful, and saying, “you are great” can actually be counterproductive. If somebody has rated your praise as Ruinously Empathetic, you’re not challenging them enough. Try being specific enough to show how to build on the success. Your job is not to be a cheerleader It’s to offer praise that shows exactly what was great…

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