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Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

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Written by a successful person from silicon valley who has worked for the likes of Facebook and Apple and likes to name drop a lot, seems she did well in her work and wants to help you become a good boss.  One of the main points is to care about people on a personal for all people you interact with, particularly at work.  Book refers to this as radically candid guidance.

Be aware that at work different cultures have different ways of learning and communication styles.  Mentions for example that Israelis may communicate as appearing to argue whereas Japanese people may appear reticent to provide negative feedback, it may take a different approach and persistence to obtain feedback from the Japanese firm. 

Give feedback in a timely fashion, otherwise a problem may occur more frequently in future. Try to make this specific and make sure they understand the issue is about the work, not about them. Make it clear that the problem is not due to some unfixable personality flaw. Share stories when you’ve been criticized for something similar.  Feedback given in a way that does not call into question your confidence in their abilities but leaves not too much room for interpretation that their particular work needs improved. Blaming the other person rather than their external behaviour leaves no room for change.

Try to give specific sincere praise.  In other words be humble, helpful, offer guidance in person and immediately, praise in public, criticize in private, and don’t personalize. Give sincere praise and make sure you don’t accidentally cause the person an issue when sharing praise and not acknowledging others contributions.

Be aware that people have different ambitions and this varies from person to person and where they are in their life at that moment. Find out what people want and help them achieve that, it may not be a promotion. Workers who are content well performing in the same job should be praised.

Fire people only after thinking of these 3 things:

Have you given Radically Candid guidance,

do you understand the impact of their performance on her colleagues

have you sought advice from others?

Remember retaining people who are doing bad work penalizes the people doing excellent work. Morale improves when you remove a poor performer.

Steve Jobs once said “It is better to have a hole than an arsehole.”

Team culture is important, have regular walkarounds to find out from the ground how the team is functioning.

Communicate swiftly, care personally and challenge directly.

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