How To Be a Great Boss At Work By Practicing Radical Candor Strategy

how to be a good manager and leader

How to be a fantastic boss at work, leader and manager? Demanding, but forgiving. Which person would want to work with him. They achieve the goals set together and achieve good results. They are rewarded for their work, but when their work is not good enough, they receive clear feedback that helps them do better. How to create a work environment where people love what they do and feel snug with their co-workers? Is this possible?

According to Kim Scott, the answer is what she calls “radical candor.” Kim Scott is the co-founder and CEO of Candor. In his professional career he has worked and collaborated with many companies from Silicon Valley such as Google, Apple, Dropbox and Twitter. His bosses are Larry Page, Sheryl Sandberg, Steve Jobs and Tim Cook.

According to him, the right relationship is the essence of being a good boss. Relationships with people are important for quality work. In the end, bosses are responsible for real results and goals achieved. However, they achieve this not by doing work for other people, but by supporting those they lead. What can help them perform their roles better are relationships based on “radical candor.” Let’s see what “radical candor” means and what we can gain from it.

How to be a fantastic boss? Radical candor – a demanding and forgiving boss

Providing support through coaching, building and strengthening teams and achieving results are the three key areas of responsibility for each supervisor. To perform these primary tasks well, good relationships with people based on mutual trust are essential. Boss relationships and responsibilities have a positive or negative impact on one another. Everything depends on the quality of the relationship.

What is radical openness?

In building good relationships based on trust there are not any easy rules and ready-made ways to work in any situation. Relationships between people are more complicated. The concept of radical candor takes this into account.

Two dimensions of radical candor

Radical candor is based on two pillars:

Personal attention

First of all, it is about going beyond just professionalism. We cannot limit ourselves to work and duties alone, leaving aside the purely human aspect. Relationships should have a personal dimension and be deeply human. We must take care of and take care of the people who work for us. Treat them as human beings, not as tools or cogs in a machine. We are all sentient beings with human emotions and feelings and in the workplace we want to be seen as human.

Bosses who try to be too “professional” only focus on carrying out their duties and do not show feelings causing people to stop feeling snug working. They cannot really be themselves. And as time goes by, they even start to hate their jobs.

In addition, some bosses feel better and smarter than their employees because of their position and higher position in the hierarchy. Feeling and demonstrating superiority, demonstrating “I’m the boss, you’re the bottom one,” affects relationships destructively.

Personal attention is an antidote to robotic professionalism and managerial arrogance. Personal mindfulness is about recognizing that we are all human and every of us has lives and aspirations that go beyond work. It’s about finding time for open conversation and getting to know one another on an everyday human level.

Direct confrontation

Second, it’s about informing workers about the quality of their work and what influences their work. Workers need to be clear about when they’re doing a good job. And also when the result is inadequate. They need to be told publicly if and when they will be promoted or that promotion is impossible at this time. Supervisors must be capable to provide feedback, not only in a positive way, but also in the form of a reprimand or a firm assessment.

Many managers have a problem with this. They avoid confrontation and fear that it’s going to make the relationship worse rather than improving it. Even although they’re leaders and bosses, they’re careful not to say what they really think. They prefer not to cause conflict. However, in Kim Scott’s opinion, confrontation, when done properly, shows employees that we care about them and that we care about them.

Direct confrontation is open discussion and questioning of actions and decisions we are concerned about. Challenge and encourage others to do the same for ourselves. Helps build trusting relationships in a number of ways.

It shows that you care about someone by showing them what’s going well, but also what’s not working and what’s bad. You are ready to admit your mistakes and you care about correcting any mistakes you or others make. Such an approach involves agreeing to constructive conflict rather than avoiding it.

4 quadrants – the radical candor model

Radical candor involves the two dimensions of personal concern and direct confrontation. But it is important to know what happens if we fail in any of these dimensions. If we do not show personal concern or haven’t got open confrontation.

1. Annoying aggression

If you criticize someone without even taking the time to show you care, your concern may come across as aggressive. Disgusting aggression is when the boss humiliates, mocks or even intimidates his subordinates. In the short term, this approach may even pay off, but in the long term, it does more harm than good.

2. Manipulative insincerity

Manipulative, insincere instructions are an expression of an absence of concern for workers, which makes us not want to deal with them directly. People praise and albeit criticize in a manipulative way when they want to be liked or think they can gain an advantage. Sometimes they’re too tired to care or discuss. Insincere and manipulative instructions are hardly ever an expression of true thoughts. Rather, it’s an try to influence the emotions of the interlocutor in order to gain one’s own advantage.

3. Destructive empathy

Destructive empathy is responsible for most of the mistakes in human management. People often want to avoid stressful and uncomfortable situations at work. They give too many concerts in a fantastic atmosphere the band. Some bosses can act like parents who cannot discipline their kids who misbehave. A work environment is created where the most vital thing is to be kind, meaning that people refrain from any criticism, which in turn makes it impossible for growth. The result of destructive empathy is usually below a certain level of teamwork and worse results.

4. Radical candor

The combination of personal attention and direct confrontation lends “radical candor.” Radical Candor is a middle ground between being a really aggressive boss on the one hand, and a really empathetic boss on the other. This approach is all about directing people in a way that combines praise and criticism to help people achieve better results.

What are the advantages of radical candor?

When people trust their boss and truly believe that he cares about them then:

  • more likely to accept criticism and praise
  • they’re more open about what they really think. This includes feedback on what the boss did well and what he could have done better.
  • transfer similar behavior to relationships and cooperation with others
  • share their perspective on a particular case or situation and expect the same from others
  • identify themselves with their role in the team
  • focus on achieving goals and results.

When bosses encourage employees to be radically honest, communication improves within the team. All understatements, hidden traumas surface and can be overcome. Practiced daily “radical frankness” over time affects the improvement and tightening of relations. People are more willing to do their jobs and cooperate better with others. This in turn means that teams and organizations are more successful.


To be an effective leader, it isn’t enough to rely solely on someone’s influence and authority. What is required is a better way to build commitment and leadership.

Bosses should support people to accomplish their goals. A boss’s ability to accomplish results is based more on his ability to listen and strive to understand than on telling people what to do and how to do it. More of getting people to make decisions for themselves than making decisions for them. From discussing, persuading to being right rather than giving orders. From continuous learning rather than from a know-it-all approach and throw away one’s knowledge.