Alexander Debkaliuk's Reviews > Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Radical Candor by Kim Malone Scott
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it was amazing
bookshelves: management

An all-around great collection of management advice for pretty much everyone. Many things resonated, found no weird or inappropriate recommendations.

The book is also full of stories (examples).

One thing I keep mixing up is the titles «rock stars» and «superstars.» So synonymous! :)

Some highlights:



telling people clearly and directly when their work wasn’t good enough.

Relationships may not scale, but culture does.

Just remember that being a boss is a job, not a value judgment.

A good rule of thumb for any relationship is to leave three unimportant things unsaid each day.

“It’s not mean, it’s clear!”

when giving praise, investigate until you really understand who did what and why it was so great.

it makes sense to begin building a culture of Radical Candor by asking people to criticize you.

I was struck by the deference given to people who had been in a particular role for years at Apple. At Google and many other Silicon Valley companies, being in the same role for too long was a badge of shame. Some companies even have a so-called “up or out” policy and fire these people. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, paid close attention to retention and talked warmly about people who’d been with Apple for a long time.

One of the least popular things I did with my teams at Google was to insist that people who had not done exceptional work for more than two years be given an opportunity to work on a project that would let them shine. If their work still continued to be mediocre, we began encouraging these people to look for jobs elsewhere.

“He understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.”

Too many bosses think their role is to turn it off—to avoid all the friction by simply making a decision and sparing the team the pain of debate. It’s not.

Create an obligation to dissent

the importance of providing a clear explanation up front about the purpose of debate and creating a positive space in which it can occur—not

Block time to execute

I think a lot of Dick’s mental toughness came from his ability to stay centered, to do things like block two hours of think-time on his calendar every day.

“Is there anything I could do or stop doing that would make it easier to work with me?”

Situation, behavior, impact.

Really imagine a man on your team doing exactly the same thing the woman did. Now, how would you react?

One manager I know does this by simply asking each person on the team to give their peers a √ −, √, √ +. Most people get a √, and if they do that’s the end of the conversation. If one person gives a peer a √ − or a √ +, he asks a couple more questions.

There’s a world of difference between saying, “Wow, I can tell this is stressful. I’m sorry about that. Let’s see what we can do to improve the situation,” and saying, “Wow, your boss is a micromanager. Don’t worry—I’m going to put a stop to this!”

Remember, the reason you have to fire them is not that they suck. It’s not even that they suck at this job. It’s that this job—the job you gave them—sucks for them.

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Reading Progress

July 19, 2019 – Shelved
July 19, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
July 19, 2019 – Shelved as: management
Started Reading
February 1, 2020 – Finished Reading

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