Feedback is a gift and the more we get used to giving and receiving the more we will be working in teams with high trust.
Kim Scott’s book “Radical Candor” uses a very simple and powerful framework to explain how to land feedback that resonates. In a talk she gives to accompany the book she tells the story of her own boss at the time Sheryl Sandberg giving her feedback and it not being received. Sandberg commented on the fact that she said “um” after every third word when she presented. Scott waved a hand as if to sweep the feedback away. Sandberg persisted and said a presentation coach might be an idea. Still the message was not getting through and eventually Sandberg got straight to the point. “By saying um after every third word there maybe a perception that you are stupid and insecure” . Scott immediately listened.
The only reason this feedback could land was their existing relationship and the confidence that Scott had that Sandberg was being tough because she cared. The model has two axis – how much you care for the personality and how direct you want to be.
Being direct can often be misconstrued as being cruel but the reality of a clear message is that it is much kinder. Bréne Brown is quoted as saying “Clear is Kind and Unclear is Unkind”.
Radical candour within a team needs to be frequent, candid and flow up and down and even sideways. This high trust environment provides psychological safety for all members.
If we don’t care about the person and we are not direct we are using passive aggressive behaviour where on the surface we flatter some-one but behind their back we criticise. Scott calls this “Manipulative Insincerity”.
Caring for a person too much can weaken are ability to be direct and we can give feedback that maybe helpful short-term but we are not addressing possibly big flaws. On the model this is known as “Ruinous Empathy”.
Finally if we are too direct and we don’t care for the person we are aggressive and just have the label of “Obnoxious Aggression”.
Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to deliver a workshop on Feedback firstname.lastname@example.org