Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Book review: Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity – Kim Scott

The author Kim Scott worked at both Apple and Google and was very much part of Silicon Valley and the massive success that has been driven from there.

  • Do you shy away from those awkward conversations at work?
  • Do you struggle to get people to do what you need them to?
  • Do you feel that it’s all on you and you have no support?

Then this might just be the book for you.

The basic idea is that by developing an environment of “radical candor” within your workplace or society you can create a kinder, more supportive workplace where all people are free to speak their minds and raise issues without fear of reprisals.

The primary driver for Kim Scott was to show what she has learned and to let you know that being a good boss is hard! Everyone finds it hard despite what you might think or see. And that you being a nice person is a good thing and is a real asset to good leadership.

The book covers a lot of ground but it also gives plenty of examples so that you can think about similar scenarios you may have to face or can relate to. I personally found that a bit annoying but for others it helped to clarify the concepts and methods for them.

Radical Candor is described as the ability to be open, honest, direct and kind.

This is the ideal and let’s be honest isn’t that what we all want?

However, this is not a pass to be blunt and harsh, Scott maintains that we cannot exercise our “Radical Candor” until we have demonstrated that care personally for the person or people concerned.

As with most change it has to start with you and Scott suggests you start by asking for criticism from your team, ask them for direct, honest and clear feedback and keep doing it. You will need to show you can take the feedback before you start to dish it out.

This coupled with showing that you genuinely care about your team will be the best place to start.

Scott gently guides you through her philosophy and examples of where and how it can work for you. She gives clear tools and techniques to use and then a final reminders section that will help to guide you through.

There is also a bonus section which details how to deliver a performance review with “Radical Candor” – very useful for people who like to have a structure in their 121 sessions.

Overall, I liked this book I am a big fan of speaking clearly and making sure that you are not making assumptions so this was always going to be a winner for me. Even if you don’t want to live your life with “Radical Candor” then there are certainly a lot of good learnings around how to be clear and not let “being nice” get in the way of the message you are trying to get across.

I would recommend this book to most small business owners, and those working in a manager, leader or boss role.

Visit radicalcandor.com for more info and some videos to help support the concepts.

Mhairi Richardson
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Mhairi Richardson

Mhairi specialises in coaching teams to help them achieve more and improve their wellbeing. Her focus is on building trust within the team and a combination of coaching, mentoring and facilitation and she can tailor the program to the needs of your business. She enjoys working with newly formed teams, established team or teams who just feel they should be achieving more. Mhairi is also a coach with a strong SME background, a focus on the detail, a high level of emotional intelligence and a strong desire to develop talent and grow high performing teams.