Book Report: Radical Candor

Radical Candor Book Cover It’s a challenge to think of useful things that I can tell you about this book that you don’t already know from listening to the Radical Candor podcast (and you are listening to it, aren’t you?) — much of the book will be very familiar. The podcast often references the book and the book often references the podcast, so there’s a bit of a ouroborus trying to talk about one or the other.
The premise of the book and podcast is simple: by providing honest feedback (and especially not shying away from negative feedback) you will lead your team to better results. That’s not quite enough to fill a book, but that’s really at the core of all the advice: whether it’s getting to know what motivates your team or how to run effective collaborative meetings, it all relates back to create a culture of useful feedback.
There’s plenty of good advice to be followed here, and I would strongly recommend the book for new leaders (or even leaders moving into new roles) looking for good advice on getting started: there’s even a “Getting Started” guide at the back of the book to walk you through implementing the books’ ideas. Here’s one of my favorite bits, which is a typical example of the obvious (once it has been clearly stated) advice that the book is full of:

One of the funniest things about becoming a boss is that it causes an awful lot of people to forget everything they know about how to relate to other people. If you have a beef with somebody in your personal life, it would never occur to you to wait for a formally scheduled meeting to tell them. Yet, management has been bureaucratized to the point that we throw away effective strategies of everyday communication. Don’t let the formal processes — the 1:1 meetings, annual or biannual performance reviews, or employee happiness surveys — take over. They are meant to reinforce, not substitute, what we do every day. You’d never let the fact that you go to the dentist for a cleaning a couple times a year prevent you from brushing your teeth every day. Don’t use performance reviews as an excuse not to give impromptu in-person feedback.

I’m a reader and I liked this book quite a bit, but if you’re not a reader, fear not! You can get plenty from tuning into the podcast each week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *