Rising Leaders and The Power of Candor


“People evolve, and so your relationships must evolve with them. Care personally; don’t put people in boxes and leave them there.” – Kim Scott

Effective communication is key to success in any workplace, and for rising leaders, it is especially critical to establish strong relationships with their employees. One approach that has gained traction in recent years is the practice of "radical candor," which involves being honest and direct with others while still showing that you care about their growth and success.

Radical candor is a management technique that involves giving honest, direct feedback to others in a way that shows you care about their growth and success. It was first introduced by Kim Scott, a former Google and Apple executive, in her book "Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity." According to Scott, radical candor requires leaders to both "care personally" and "challenge directly" their employees. This means that leaders need to have the courage to provide constructive criticism, as well as the empathy to listen and understand their employees' perspectives.

Why is Radical Candor Important for Rising Leaders?

Rising leaders are often faced with the challenge of managing employees who have varying levels of experience, skills, and personalities. They need to be able to provide feedback that helps employees improve their performance while also building a trusting relationship with them. Radical candor can help rising leaders achieve both of these goals by creating an open and honest communication channel with their employees.

When leaders provide honest feedback, they can help their employees identify areas where they need to improve and provide them with the support and resources they need to do so. This can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and productivity, as employees feel that they are being supported in their growth and development.

At the same time, radical candor can also help rising leaders build trust and respect with their employees. When employees feel that their leaders are honest and direct with them, they are more likely to view them as authentic and trustworthy. This, in turn, can lead to increased loyalty and a stronger commitment to the organization.

How Can Rising Leaders Use Radical Candor to Up-level their Employees?

To use radical candor effectively, rising leaders need to be intentional about how they communicate with their employees. Here are some tips for up-leveling employees using radical candor:

Build a relationship of trust: Radical candor only works when there is a strong relationship of trust between the leader and the employee. Rising leaders should take the time to get to know their employees, understand their goals and aspirations, and show that they genuinely care about their well-being.

Be specific and constructive: When providing feedback, rising leaders should be specific and provide actionable advice on how to improve. They should also frame the feedback in a constructive way that helps the employee see it as an opportunity for growth rather than as a criticism.

Encourage open dialogue: Radical candor is a two-way street, and rising leaders should encourage their employees to provide feedback on their own performance and on the organization as a whole. This can help to build a culture of openness and trust that benefits everyone in the organization.

Show empathy: Finally, rising leaders should show empathy and understanding when providing feedback. They should listen actively to their employees' perspectives and take the time to understand their point of view before providing feedback.

Radical candor can be a powerful tool for rising leaders who want to up-level their employees. By building strong relationships of trust, being specific and constructive in their feedback, encouraging open dialogue, and showing empathy, rising leaders can create a culture of openness and trust that benefits everyone in the organization. With radical candor, rising leaders can help their employees reach their full potential and achieve success.


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