Radical Candor, Manipulative Insecurity, Ruinous Empathy and Obnoxious Aggression – four terms that you’ve probably never heard of! I came across these interesting terms in Kim Scott’s book Radical Candor. While they might not become part of your everyday vocabulary, it is certainly worth the time to understand the concepts and consider their application in your team.
In her book, Kim describes a grid, with four aptly named quadrants with Challenge Directly and Care Personally running along separate axes. The four quadrants in the model are:
- Radical Candor – to care personally and challenge directly
- Ruinous Empathy – to care but don’t challenge
- Obnoxious Aggression – to challenge without caring
- Manipulative Security – to neither care nor challenge
Caring personally means we as leaders need to embrace each of those that we lead to better understand their aspirations, their motivators and their lives beyond the results of the day. This means that we need to have real conversations that enable us to get to know each other at a truly personal level. This helps build trusting, caring relationships. Challenging directly requires us all to provide each other with the greatest gift we can – open, honest feedback. We need to deliver this feedback in a caring and non-judgemental way. Scott states that ‘being willing to disagree because you care is the greatest sign of respect you can show others’.
We all know that to be a successful leader, we need to establish trust and create and maintain great relationships. In order to have great relationships, we need to care about each other. This requires us to open up to each other and embrace our strengths, our challenges and our aspirations. This in turn requires us to be honest and challenge each other in a respectful, non-judgmental and caring manner. Only then can we truly demonstrate that we genuinely care about each other.
Radical Candor may well be a new term but the principle is not. It is based upon the age old practice of caring for and challenging each other through open, honest and non-judgmental feedback. Are you practising Radical Candor in your team?