20 July 2018

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

Listening to your team feels like babysitting or being their shrink? It's called management, it's your job!

"Boss" evokes injustice, "manager" sounds bureaucratic, "leader" sounds self-aggrandising. "Boss" perhaps easier to use because necessary to both lead and manage.

Bosses guide a team to achieve results. Guidance means feedback.

Be specific in your praise, lest it sounds insincere.

It is kinder in the long run to be direct. It's not mean, it's clear!

Be as specific and thorough in your criticism and in your praise.

Start by asking for criticism, not by giving it. Example of Toyota's big red square painted on the floor (page 35).

More praise than criticism. Avoid the obvious praise/criticism/praise sandwich. Remain sincere.

Be careful not to personalise the criticism, and focus instead on the problems with the work itself.

Praise in public, criticise in private, don't personalise (problem not due to some unfixable personality trait).

Performance x steep/gradual growth trajectory (instead of low/high potential since some people enjoy their work, are solid and stable, and are not looking for fast trajectory). Trajectory isn't necessarily just promotion, it's about having an increased impact over time.

Everyone can be excellent at something. Not saying that anyone can be good at anything. Help them find the role where they can be exceptional.

People do change. Their performance and aspirations change over time.

Don't ask for people to only come with 3 solutions and a recommendation to their problems. Also brainstorm with them and help them clarify, making it easier for others to understand. Then debate, and create obligation to dissent or force to take opposing views. Indicate deadline for decision. Decide on facts and go to the relevant person directly many layers down instead of getting the information filtered through layers.

Criticise in private doesn't apply to you as the boss: encourage people to criticise you publicly. Start with "is there anything I could do or stop doing that would make it easier to work with me?". Listen, wait in silence, don't respond. Reward criticism to get more of it. Do something to show you're trying to change.

Give feedback immediately, in just a few minutes between meetings. Don't delay.

Don't personalise. "That's wrong" vs "you're wrong".

Performance reviews; half the time on the past, half the time let them talk about the future.

Encourage team to take the time to talk to one another, not just write peer reviews.

Take notes and project them to make sure there's no misunderstanding.

Know your team's personal lives.

1) life story

2) dreams (not "long-term goals") and required skills to get there

3) 18-month plan

Thank-you notes.

Identify gurus on specific skills on your team so they develop a class or share with others, making sure they like to teach others.

Give opportunities to invisible people to present what they're working on.