The one sentence summary
Bosses can get what they want by saying what they mean – if they do it the right way.
- Radical Candor means you have to care personally and challenge directly.
- Challenging directly without caring personally is just obnoxious aggression.
- Caring personally without challenging creates ruinous empathy.
- Neither caring nor challenging leads to manipulative insincerity.
- It is vital to understand what motivates each person on the team. To understand people better, you need to:
- Ask them for their life story
- Ask them what their dreams are
- Ask for their 18-month plan
- Superstars are change agents, who are ambitious at work and want new opportunities. They are on a steep growth trajectory.
- Rock stars prefer gradual growth. They are a force for stability, are ambitious outside of work or simply content in life, and are happy in their current role. Effective teams require both types of people.
- The Get Stuff Done wheel shows how to do it without telling people what to do:
- Listen: give the quiet ones a voice.
- Clarify: create a safe space to nurture new ideas – they are fragile.
- Debate: keep the conversation focused on ideas, not egos.
- Decide: this is usually team consensus, not the job of the boss.
- Persuade: use emotion, logic and credibility – see below.
- Execute: “keep the dirt under your fingernails” – leaders should not be above executing things.
- Learn: openly – avoid being in denial if the outcome was unexpected.
- Then repeat the whole process again.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- If you want to be persuasive, follow Aristotle’s elements of rhetoric – pathos, logos and ethos. These translate loosely to emotion, logic, and credibility. That’s the listener’s emotions, not the speaker’s, demonstrating expertise and humility, and showing your workings.
- As a boss, work towards partnership. Avoid the extremes of absentee management and micromanagement.
- Hands-on, ears on, mouth off is the mantra.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- The origin of all this is Silicon Valley, so although the advice tries to suggest broad appeal, it remains pretty clinical and cut-throat. This may not suit all company cultures.