Direct Reports And Radical Candor: 5 Tips For Giving Guidance And Feedback

Radical Candor

What is Radical Candor?

I’m listening to you because I want to develop the skills and the team I’ll need to succeed.”

Radical Candor

1. Get Feedback From Your Direct Reports Before You Give It

Be persistent

Reward the candor

2. Remember: Radical Candor is HIP




In Person

Private Criticism / Public Praise

Not About Personality

Radical Candor

3. Think Before You Speak

  • Before you deliver feedback to a direct report, take a moment to think through the reason why you plan to deliver the feedback. If you are clear in your own mind about how your feedback will be helpful, it will come across to the other person naturally. But if you don’t understand why your feedback is helpful, how will the person receiving it understand?
  • Once you know what you want to say and why state your intention to be helpful. Perhaps the simplest advice I have to give here is for you to tell the person that you are trying to be helpful. Try a little preamble for hard criticism. For example, try saying, in words that feel like you, “I’m going to tell you something because if I were in your shoes I’d want to know so I could fix it.” Simply exposing your intent to be helpful offers clarity to the other person about your intentions. Most people will want to hear whatever it is you’re going to say.
  • Show, don’t tell, is the best advice I’ve ever gotten for writing good fiction — but it also applies to feedback. The more clearly you show what is good or bad, the more helpful your feedback will be. Often you’ll be tempted not to describe the details because they are so painful. You want to spare the person the pain and yourself the awkwardness of uttering the words out loud.

I’m going to tell you something because if I were in your shoes I’d want to know so I could fix it.”

4. Manage Your Emotions, Not Those Your Direct Report

  • The clarity of your feedback gets measured not at your mouth, but the other person’s ear. So if you can’t see the reaction, you won’t really know if the other person understood what you were saying. If you don’t know whether what you said was clear to the other person, you may as well not have said it.
  • Most communication is nonverbal. When you see a person’s body language and facial expression, you can adjust how you are delivering the message so they can best hear it. The best way to tell if the other person understands you clearly is to look into their eyes, notice if they are fidgeting, folding their arms, etc.
Radical Candor

5. Have Regular Career and Professional Development Conversations With Direct Reports

I’m telling you this because I want to help you develop the skills you need to succeed and because it’s not fair to your peers if I don’t tell you.”

Need more help practicing Radical Candor?

Kim Scott’s New Book, Just Work, is Available for Pre-Order

Just Work Kim Scott



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Radical Candor

Radical Candor

Tips from the NTY + WSJ bestseller to help you kick ass at work without losing your humanity. Visit to join the movement.