Radical Candor

August 14, 2020

Despite the challenges these current times have brought on, here at The Stahl Companies we continue striving for excellence in all that we do. This quarter, the women of Stahl came together to begin a book club, with a great desire to learn and grow and to come alongside and support each other in the process. Specifically focusing on books related to the world of business, Radical Candor by Kim Scott was the book chosen for this quarter.

What does it mean to care personally and challenge directly? Kim Scott would refer to this combination of qualities as the embodiment of radical candor. These two traits come across as very simple concepts, yet when put into practice they often present numerous challenges that take you away from radical candor and into obnoxious aggression, ruinous empathy or, manipulative insincerity. In her book Radical Candor, Scott shows us the dangers of having one of these qualities while lacking in the other or falling short of both.

“Bring your whole self to work.” If you try and take on a leadership role and leave behind your humanity in the process, you will inevitably fall away from radical candor. Life and work must go hand in hand.

To be a leader, it is vital to know the people you are working with, not just their roles in the office, but their personhood, what motivates them to come to work each morning. Once you have built the trust that is required of a personal relationship, then you can easily challenge directly knowing that you desire to help them become better employees and better people. Not only do you need to pursue being radically candid in your relationships with those around you, but you must also encourage people to become radically candid with you.

“Radically Candid” relationships help create a trust that facilitates the ability to give and receive better guidance. To create a “culture of good guidance” at The Stahl Companies, we have incorporated Radical Candor into our performance reviews.

Having consistent career conversations allows for the individual to make known their desires for future growth. The book recommends having three regular conversations with each person who reports to you. Once these conversations have occurred, you can then create a growth management plan for every individual.

The main objective of Radical Candor is to help focus your team on accomplishing great results. Scott does a phenomenal job discussing the insights of the challenges which emerge when caring personally and challenging directly. This balance can be difficult if one of these qualities does not come naturally to you. Take heart, and do not give up when facing this obstacle, if you work on becoming radically candid in all of your relationships, you will come to find that “you are a part of something larger than yourself,” and ultimately, that is empowering.


Photo Credit: Kim Scott

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