5 stars for Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott published by St. Martins’ Press-New York 2017
Teaching you, my fabulous reader, about how to be a kick-ass boss without losing your humanity is Scott’s goal for this book and boy did she accomplish it. Her radical candor language and style wraps you into the Radical Candor world. Scott focuses on the manager and their relationships with their direct reports. She goes against the grain saying that we need to make things personal, get things done, and understand why it matters. Her argument is that as a boss you should make it your effort to be personal AND professional.
Throughout the book, Scott backs up her arguments with situations from years of experience as a successful manager at Google and Apple. She applies her knowledge and skill to various management issues that many of us face on a daily bases. Some of which are:
- giving and receiving feedback
- driving results from your team as a group and individually
- building trusting relationships with your direct reports.
So get this, she not only provides you with ideas on how to do these things but she also gives you concrete examples that you can implement immediately. When I first heard of Radical Candor I was in my car searching for a good podcast. Guys, I listened to all of the episodes of the podcast in one day. I immediately put Radical Candor on hold to listen to the audiobook. Kim and Russ are both subject matter experts that are enjoyable to listen to in addition to providing great knowledge. The podcast and the book are fabulous. Both provide actionable ideas on how to apply knowledge to things that we as bosses face daily.
What Makes it Remarkable
What really makes Scott’s book different than other professional development books is her challenge to care personally and challenge directly. She is also extremely aware of how different people may perceive things differently stated, “Radical Candor is not a personality type or a talent or a cultural judgment. Radical Candor works only if the other person understands that your efforts at caring personally and challenging directly are delivered in good faith.” Overall, this book is great for managers no matter the experience level. In my opinion, it is worth your time to dig into the idea of becoming that boss that many of us only dream of becoming. Happy Reading!
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As a leader, one must be able to work in an environment effectively and stick to their values and ethics. In addition to this, they must be able to communicate openly with their team. The path of being a good leader can be challenging and comes with many things that could go right or wrong. Kim Scott addresses these issues in her new book, Radical Candor, Be the Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity.
Leadership as a Vocation
Kim Scott is a co-founder of Radical Candor Inc. and has led at major companies such as Apple, Google, an YouTube. She has taught leadership at Apple University and has created followership with her experience, knowledge, and leadership understanding. Her following started at a national level with the publishing of her New York Times Best Seller and Washington State Journal bestsellers with her book Radical Candor. Radical Candor strives to teach people “how to be the boss that you want to be and not the one you hate” (Scott, 2017).
Qualities to Emulate
In Radical Candor, Scott discusses topics a boss needs to be or work towards throughout their career; some of those qualities are honesty, caring, productivity, innovation, and critical thinking which are qualities that many wish to emulate. She discusses self-care for leaders and creating time and space for creativity; these aspects show that she uses a combination of authentic and adaptive leadership (Scott, 2017).
Authentic leadership is the predominant style of leadership that Kim Scott proposes to use throughout Radical Candor. Authentic leadership theory suggests “four distinct but related components: self-awareness, internalized moral perspective, balanced processing, and relational transparency” (Northouse, 2016). In Radical Candor, Scott discusses the importance of having a transparent conversation without being “obnoxiously aggressive” or “ruinously empathic”. She has a tool for leaders to use in conversation to be able to guild conversations in the direction of Radical Candor (Scott, 2017).
Adaptive leadership works towards being able to adapt to different environments, company, and direct report needs. There are many advantages to this leadership style, such as: thinking out of the box regularly, the expectation of change to happen, diversity, and a focus on the moment. Scott discusses the use of Adaptive leadership when she talks about team meetings and how to have hard discussions with direct reports. She also discusses how to manage talent growth in teams to ensure that as a leader keeps people with a slow growth projection at their slower pace than the alternative of those with a fast growth projection. A goal of a Radical Candor leader is to work with both types towards their goals. Keeping in mind that people do not always have to become a manager to promote and make a positive difference in the company. (Scott, 2017)
Shortcomings to Overcome
In these leadership styles, there are disadvantages when applying them. As an adaptive leader, it is challenging to create the right mixture of freedom for direct reports without breaking the rules. It is vital to ensure that boundaries and duties are clear when assigning a team to a task with this leadership style (Lombard, 2019). In order to help teams to be able to adapt without issue will be useful to give the team an idea of what the leader’s idea of what the project looks like completed at the beginning of the project (Brown, 2018). The positive thing is that authentic leadership and open communication will help elevate some of the issues that one could face with the adaptive leadership style.
Scott discusses how one shortcoming of Radical Candor is that not all people and companies are ok with the use of it. Some cultures do not want people to share how they feel or what they think, regardless of if they are professional and appropriate. Scott believes that if this is the case and one does not want to work in this environment, then it may be time to move on to something that is a better fit (Scott, 2017).
As discussed above, Scott makes points in her book Radical Candor that help leaders apply knowledge about authentic and adaptive leadership. She works through various situations in which leaders encounter in their environment and how to work through those using “Radical Candor”. Combining her skills and techniques into a book for the public has helped give leaders a guild on how to be the leader that they want to be and not make mistakes that they have been negatively affected by in the past. Overall, Radical Candor is a great guild for theoretical leadership.
Sarah Brock is the founder of Unremarkably Remarkable. She is a wife, mom, trainer, healthcare advocate, writer, and editor.