Radical Candor; Thinking Ahead to the Kind of Team I Want to Build

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Given that I’m currently a company of one (solo founder, no employees), it may seem odd that I chose NOW to read Radical Candor, by Kim Scott. To be fair, it was more happenstance than foresight – a (super-smart, super-successful) friend from college had recommended the book, so I placed a hold for it via my library, and when it was available, I figured I may as well read it before my turn was up. Once I began reading, however, I realized how important and timely this book actually was for me. Here’s why.

  • Just because I’ve managed people (and been managed by people) doesn’t mean I know how to be good at it. In fact, I’d argue that I’ve got some baggage, and maybe a little PTSD… things I need to actively work at overcoming, in order to lead an effective team.
  • Right now I have a clean slate to work with. This will not be the case for long (I hope!), and I want to be intentional about what I’m building. An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure and all that jazz.
  • I’ve found myself using the principles introduced in Radical Candor when communicating with my developers, other people at the iLab, and even my husband. I tend toward “ruinous empathy” — and the book was a good reminder (or maybe wake-up call?) that being “nice” is not the same as being good, or effective, or respected.
  • Along the same lines, I had falsely understood “radical candor” to just mean “blunt,” and I didn’t like that idea at all. I now understand that radical candor is far more nuanced than that, and there’s even a kind of formula for giving hard feedback. It’s totally doable, even for a person like me who  has to battle the internal people-pleaser.
  • There’s a whole segment on the kinds of meetings to have, and on how to run them. Again, I’ve been in my share of meetings, but this book really opened my eyes to the fact that just because I’ve “been there, done that” doesn’t mean I’ve been there, done that WELL.

I’m not an affiliate or paid in any way to endorse this book; this is basically a PSA 🙂

Let’s all learn to be radically candid. The world will be better for it.

 

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