Radical Candor

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing your Humanity by Kim Scott, St Martins Press (October 2019, 336 pages)

“Radical Candor is what happens when you put ‘Care Personally’ and ‘Challenge Directly’ together.” 

Author Kim Scott is invested in educating and training people to become good bosses and to grow into better bosses. Her book, Radical Candor, is a manual to do just that. And, she includes many lessons learned while growing and developing in management positions throughout her career and around the globe. Her key principle is that effective leadership stems from showing you care about a person (perhaps an employee) so, when you challenge them, they know it is with good intent. A manager is responsible for guiding a team, building a team, and producing results. How they go about it is what makes them a good or bad boss. Scott’s version of effective leadership applies to anyone whether in the military or in civilian life. 

Radical candor is the concept of being upfront and honest with your coworkers or subordinates in an effective way, that is, without being rude. Scott explains her concept, methodology, and techniquest through visual aids and real-world examples.

The concept also tackles the idea that members of an organization may have different motives, career goals, perspectives, and strong suits. And, it is up to the manager to identify the differences and lead members in a way that promotes the overall success of the business. But the key to success is in the manager realizing their impact, their influence, and their own commitment to being a good leader.       

The author does not grand stand. Scott has firsthand experience applying her principles throughout her career—from her work at Apple and Google—and wherever work has taken her, whether here in the United States or Tokyo or Russia. She includes real life examples of how she failed as a manager as well as how she succeeded.  These personal accounts give the reader perspective and insight into the methodology. And, especially relevant for today’s society, she touches on how to deliver the method without bias, while acknowledging  how gender bias affects the workplace.  

Kim Scott dives deeply into how to be a boss, how to manage a team, run meetings, how to seek feedback as well as give feedback. She offers a plan of how to be a successful leader while inspiring those you lead to be good leaders as well. I highly recommend this book for leaders, managers, and bosses who want to grow their interpersonal skills, learn how to lead individuals, promote team building, understand growth, and understand the value of employees. 

Book Review provided by Jessica Steverson.

Active duty Air Force Avionics Systems Specialist on C-17 aircraft.  Retired as of 1 Sept 2021.  Enjoys cooking, reading apocalyptic stories. Aspires to become a copy editor, technical writer, or proofreader.  Holds a degree in Sociology with the goal of earning a master’s degree in literary studies.


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