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Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity (2017)

by Kim Scott

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416842,974 (3.88)15
From the time we learn to speak, we're told that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. When you become a manager, it's your job to say it -- and your obligation. Author Kim Scott was an executive at Google and then at Apple, where she developed a class on how to be a good boss. Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring, it's obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging, it's ruinous empathy. When you do neither, it's manipulative insincerity. This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you're all proud of.… (more)

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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
For years I’ve been referencing and sharing Kim Scott’s Fast Company article about Radical Candor, yet put off reading the book for years. I wish I had read it earlier! About halfway through I decided to stop underlining since I was underlining 80% of the book.
It’s the balance of caring personally to earn real trust that allows for a level of candidness that I think is hard for most workplaces to achieve. She has lots of good examples and data as well as very specific ways to implement ( )
  strandbooks | Oct 30, 2019 |
I read this book based on a recommendation that stated that it is not just empty Silicon Valley chatter, and this recommendation was mostly proven right. While it was not able to completely loose the over-the-top style of all US self-improvement books ("Do this and your whole life will benefit from it! Your work will be better, your relationships will be improved, and your dog will like you more!") and contained a moderate amount of Silicon Valley name-dropping, I found it quite interesting and helpful. (And, in fairness, the name-dropping was mostly in the context of telling stories about the observed behaviour of other managers, so it was actually a useful part of the book).

I'm not a manager, but as a PhD student, I supervise a number of student theses each year, so I read this book with the intent of seeing which of the techniques may be transferrable to my situation. In my situation, establishing a good relationship with the "direct reports" (i.e., students) is both easier (we are almost the same age, and my supervision style is fairly informal and non-authoritarian to begin with) and harder (the students are only around for half a year).

I have taken a few of the tips about meetings and feedback style to heart, and it has actually already proven helpful with one of my students. On the other hand, many parts of the book were irrelevant to my situation (I don't write yearly performance reports, I grade a thesis) and in some cases, the hints were impossible to do (at a certain point, I am discouraged from working directly with the students to find a solution for their problems, as their problem-solving skills are what I am supposed to grade - so there's a fine balance between being helpful and being able to gauge their problem-solving skills).

In the end, I'm going to go with 4.5 stars (half a star deducted for the over-the-top style and a few other nitpicks), rounded up to five stars for the simple reason that the book describes the sort of boss I would want to have (and I would hope to be, if I ever end up being a boss / manager somewhere). ( )
  malexmave | Oct 3, 2019 |
Really could have been covered in a brief article. ( )
  rebecca.aaberg | Jul 17, 2019 |
This is a pretty solid leadership/management book. The main premise is to "care personally and challenge directly". Lots of good advice on how to communicate with your team.

FYI there is also a podcast that covers the info in this book and I find it even more effective than the book. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 6, 2019 |
There were a few things that bugged me about this book—the name dropping, the use of emoticons—but overall it was excellent. I'm kind of on the cusp of moving into management/leadership in my career, so the first half was extremely relevant and helpful. The second half focuses more on how to put the Radical Candor principles in place. I'd recommend this book to anybody, whether they're a boss or not. ( )
  AngelClaw | Mar 22, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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For Andy Scott, the miraculous mixer of romance and stability in my life. For our children, Battle and Margaret, who give us daily surges of crazy joy and sane inspiration. For our parents, who taught us everything. And for our siblings, who helped us find each other.
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Like most of us, I once had a terrible boss - a person who thought that humiliating people was a good way to motivate them.
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