150: Expressing Radical Candor with Kim Scott

By May 3, 2017Podcasts

 

Kim Scott shows how “radical candor” can be used in the workplace to give better feedback and meaningful praise and criticism.

You’ll Learn:

  1. How to care personally while challenging directly
  2. Three important conversations that you should be having at work
  3. An approach to giving better feedback to your boss

About Kim

Kim Scott is the author of Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss without Losing your Humanity, a NYT and WSJ bestseller, published by St Martin’s Press. Kim is also the co-founder and CEO of Candor, Inc., which builds tools to make it easier to follow the advice she offers in the book. She is also the author of three novels and co-host of the Radical Candor podcast.

Prior to founding Candor, Inc., Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other Silicon Valley companies. She was a member of the faculty at Apple University, developing the course “Managing at Apple,” and before that led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google. Previously, Kim was the co-founder and CEO of Juice Software, and led business development at two other start-ups . Kim received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Princeton University. Kim and her husband Andy Scott are parents of twins and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Kim Scott Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Kim, thanks so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Kim Scott
I am thrilled to be here.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, I’m so thrilled to have you and to get into some of your wisdom. So, could you maybe give us, first of all, a bit of your story in terms of how did you become fascinated with the topic of candor in the first place?

Kim Scott
You know, it’s really interesting. I started out my career studying Russian literature, actually, in college. And what I was really interested in is why is it that some people live a productive happy life and other people wind up miserable? The great question of Russian literature. And my very first management experience happened in Russia.
I moved to Russia after I graduated from college, and I was supposed to hire these diamond cutters, and I thought it was going to be super easy to hire them because I had dollars, which were worth a lot of money, and these guys were paid in rubles which were worthless at that time. And I learned from them that it was going to take a lot more than that. They did not just take the job, even though I was going, offering to pay them 10 times more, instead what they wanted was a picnic.

Pete Mockaitis
A figurative picnic or literally a blanket and food and beverages?

Kim Scott
Yeah, blanket and, of course, it was Russia so we needed a tarp, right? So we’re in the outskirts of Moscow, it’s pouring rain, it’s July 4, 1992 and we’re passing around a bottle of vodka and these hunks of grilled meat and these little, tart, worm-ridden apples. And, as we’re talking, they want to know all kinds of stuff. Will I help them learn English? And will I help them take their first trip outside of Russia?
And by the time we finished the bottle of vodka I realized what they really wanted to know if everything went to hell in Russia, the Soviet Union had just collapsed and it was a time of great uncertainty, would I help them get them and their families out? And it dawned on me at this moment, that the one thing that I could offer that the government couldn’t, that the state couldn’t, was not money, it was to give a damn.
And all of a sudden management seemed really interesting to me at that juncture in my career. So that was probably the beginning of my interest and what it meant to be a boss and why candor is so important.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, that’s very intriguing. And so, tell us, you gave a damn, you got the diamonds cut, what happened?

Kim Scott
I gave a damn, I got the diamonds cut, or I didn’t, they got the diamonds cut, I didn’t know how to cut diamonds, and I got to know their families, and two years later they had cut diamonds worth over a $100 million. So I felt like I had learned something about management but certainly not everything. I felt way ahead of myself and behind myself at the same time, and went off to business school and wound up starting a software company where I learned another important lesson about management.
A big part of the reason why I started this software company was, in addition to having a great idea for a great product, I had had a few bosses in my career who were just awful. They were sort of so belittling, one of them, that I literally shrunk half an inch while I was working for this guy. He would sort of drove me nuts, and incredibly rude sort of person, lots of typical boss stories, and I didn’t want to be that kind of boss. So I thought, “Maybe if I started my own company everything would turn out differently.”
And I didn’t become like that guy. I became a very different kind of bad boss at this startup. I was never rude or mean, but there was a guy on my team, we’ll call him Bob, and I liked Bob a lot. He was smart. He was funny. He was charming. He would do things. Like we were at one of these management offsites, we were playing one of those endless get-to-know you games that everybody hates but nobody has the courage to admit they hate it.
And Bob finally spoke up and he said, “You know, I’ve got an idea that will be really fast. Why don’t we just go around the table and everybody can confess what candy our parents used when potty training us?” Weird but fast. Even weirder, everybody remembered Hershey Kisses right here. And for the next 10 months, anytime there was a tense moment in a meeting, Bob would whip out just the right piece of candy for the right person at the right moment, right?
So that was Bob. I found him funny. I found him charming. I liked Bob. Only one problem with Bob. His work was absolutely terrible. He was doing atrocious work. I learned later actually that the problem was that he was smoking pot in the bathroom. Maybe explained all that candy, there you go. But I didn’t know that at the time.
And so I kept trying to buck Bob up with false praise, “Bob, you’re so smart, you’re so awesome. I think if you worked just a little harder maybe you could make this just a little better.” And, of course, things never really got better. And after 10 months the inevitable happened, and I realized if I didn’t fire Bob I was going to lose half my team.
So, now I have to sit down and have a really hard conversation with Bob. A conversation I probably should’ve started 10 months previously. And when I finished telling Bob where things stood, he sort of pushed his chair back from the table, he looked me right in the eye, and he said, “Why didn’t you tell me?” And as that question is going around in my head, with no very good answer, he looked at me again and he said, “Why didn’t anybody tell me? I thought you all cared about me.”
And now I realized just because I’ve been trying to be nice to Bob, I’m having to fire him. Not so nice after all, right? I had failed Bob in six really important ways. I had failed to solicit feedback from him. I never asked him what I was doing right or wrong from his perspective. Maybe I was doing something that was driving him so crazy he was forced to toke up in the bathroom. I’ll never know because I never asked.
I also never gave him the kind of praise and criticism that was meaningful. The praise I gave him was really just an emotional head-fake and the criticism I gave him I never gave it. I never told him when his work wasn’t really nearly good enough. And I also had, perhaps worst of all, failed to create the kind of environment in which everyone on the team would tell Bob when his stuff was really good and when he was going off the rails.
And as a result of this I’m having to fire Bob, right? Because of my mistakes I’m having to fire him. It was too late in that moment to fix things for Bob. All I could do was to make myself a really solemn promise that I would never make that mistake again. And that was really why I spent as much time as I spent writing the book Radical Candor and really thinking about why I had made that mistake and how to help other people avoid that mistake, because it’s a mistake that so many new managers make. I’ve seen make it over and over and over again.

Pete Mockaitis
Absolutely. Yes. But you mentioned you failed in six ways. You gave us three. Are there three more?

Kim Scott
So the three ways I failed where I failed to solicit praise or criticism, so that’s two; I failed to give real praise or criticism, that’s another two; and I failed to create an environment in which everyone, I failed to encourage an environment of guidance where everyone would give Bob praise and criticism.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, I see. The praise and criticism doubles it up on each.

Kim Scott
Yes.

Pete Mockaitis
Understood. Well, that is a powerful tale and that really would get you going in that direction.

Kim Scott
Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
And so, I’m intrigued to hear then, so folks don’t do it. Why don’t they do it?

Kim Scott
Yes, it’s a really important question, and I spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about it. So I spent 10 weeks at McKinsey and two years of business school so I’m a strong believer that all of life’s problems can be boiled down to a good two-by-two.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, yeah. I’m a Bain guy. Yes.

Kim Scott
Yeah, here you go. Here’s my two-by-two that explains all of this. So on one dimension is caring personally, and on the other dimension, on the horizontal axis, if you will, is challenging directly. And so the question is, “Why would anybody fail to care personally or fail to challenge directly?” So let’s take it one dimension at a time. Let’s first look at caring personally.
Nobody begins their career as a manager thinking, “I don’t really care about people at all so I think I’m going to be a great boss.” Right? That’s not the way it usually works. What happens is we get told when we were about 18, 19 years old, around the time we get our first job, we get told, “Be professional.” And for an awful lot of people, that somehow begins to mean, “Leave your emotions. Leave who you really are. Leave the very best part of yourself. Leave your humanity at home and come to work like some kind of robot or something.”
And that’s really a terrible mistake. You can’t possibly care personally about the people who you work with, with only some fraction of yourself. You have to bring your whole self to work. You have to be more than just professional. And I’m not saying be unprofessional but I’m saying you’ve got to bring your whole self to work if you’re going to do great work and build a team that allows everyone to do great work. So that’s one dimension. That’s the care-personally dimension.
On the horizontal axis, imagine challenge directly. Now, this is what I think of as the willing-to-piss people-off dimension. Colin Powell said that leadership often means being willing to piss people off. Now, it hardly seems worth asking, “Why aren’t we willing to piss people off?” It’s such a profound instinct to avoid doing that. And I think this begins really not when you’re 18 years old but when you’re 18 months old.
Almost all of us, in almost every culture I’ve ever worked, have parents who tell us some version of, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all.” And this is pounded into our heads from the time we learn to speak. And now, all of a sudden, when you’ve become a leader of some sort it’s your job to say it.
And undoing instincts that had been pounded into our heads since we were 18 months old, that’s hard. That’s really hard. So those are the two reasons why we’re often reluctant to do the right thing for the Bobs of the world and tell them when they’re screwing up or tell them what’s really genuinely good in a very specific way.
So two things, starting at 18 years old you start to be professional, you start to leave your humanity at home instead of bringing it to work with you. Starting at 18 months old you’re told some version of, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all.” Now, all of a sudden it’s your job to say it.
Does that make sense, by the way, before I launch into what I did to make it easier?

Pete Mockaitis
Well, so far so good.

Kim Scott
Okay. So here’s what I did for myself to make it easier and what has seemed to help a lot of other people as well. I thought very crisply and used some sort of emotionally-charged language to describe what happens when you fail in one dimension or another.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, bring it on.

Kim Scott
Yes, so let’s imagine this two-by-two axis. So challenge directly on the vertical axis, sorry, care personally on the vertical axis, challenge directly on the horizontal axis. When you do both, when you’re in the upper right-hand box that’s radical candor. Now, when you do challenge directly but you fail to show that you care personally, I call it obnoxious aggression. Nobody wants to be obnoxiously aggressive.
Now this quadrant is often called the asshole quadrant or the jerk quadrant, right? But I don’t want to call it that for a very specific reason. I don’t want people to use the radical candor framework to judge themselves or others. Don’t start writing names in boxes. I beg of you, please, don’t start writing names in boxes.
What I want you to do instead is to use it to guide conversations that you’re having in the right direction. So if you feel that you’ve been obnoxiously aggressive with somebody, or that they perceive that you’ve been obnoxiously aggressive, the right thing to do is to move up on the care personally axis to show them that you care.
Now, let’s take a look at the upper left-hand box. What happens when you do show that you care personally but you fail to challenge directly? This I call ruinous empathy. That was the mistake that I made with Bob was ruinous empathy, and this is where 90% of mistakes at work get made. Most people are pretty kind people, they’re good people. The question is, “Why do good people become bad bosses?” And, nine times out of 10, the reason is not because their behavior is obnoxiously aggressive, it’s because their behavior is ruinously empathetic. Because they care so much about people that they can’t bear to hurt their feelings, and so they don’t say what needs to be said.
Now, there is, of course, the worst place of all to be where you neither show that you care personally nor challenge directly, and that I call manipulative insincerity. And that’s where you see sort of political behavior creeping again, passive aggressive behavior, backstabbing kind of behavior. Does that make sense?

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, certainly. Yes. The worst of all. Understood.

Kim Scott
Yes.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, so, now I guess I’m wondering, in practice, so let’s start with the easy one first. I think it’s probably easier to bring more of yourself to work and care personally. But what have you found are some, I don’t know, easy or digestible ways, practices, habits that folks can start adapting quickly and get some momentum on this?

Kim Scott
Yes, it’s a really great question. So one of the most important things you can do is to begin having career conversations with your team. And by this I mean three really important conversations. First of all, have a conversation that is around getting to know somebody. You’ve got to be careful. Make sure the person is comfortable but ask a question, like starting with kindergarten, “Tell me about your life.” Right? And if somebody doesn’t want to tell you about their childhood don’t force them to by any means. Just say, “Okay, let’s start with grad school, or 10 years ago,” or whatever.
And what you’re looking for in this conversation is, first of all, just to get to know the person a little bit better but also to understand pivots. Listen for changes the person made. Let’s say this person was in academic and then they left academia and took a job on Wall Street, or whatever. Why did the person make that change? Ask to try to understand. And what you’ll usually learn from these pivot points in a person’s life is what motivates them at work. What do they really care about in life and at work?
And that’s interesting to know because when you understand what people care about you begin to put them on the right projects, you begin to sort of instinctively do the right things for them. So that’s the get-to-know-you conversation.
The second conversation I recommend that any manager have with each of their direct reports is a conversation about the person’s dreams. Very few of us really know what we want to do when we grow up, and those who do confuse the heck out of the rest of us.
So ask each person who works for you, ask them, “Imagine your life when everything is going great, and come up with two or three or four different scenarios for what that looks like and describe that to me. Describe those dreams to me.” And when you understand what somebody really wants in the future, again, it’s going to really help you link up their past, what motivates them, with their future, with what they really hope for.
And, again, you’re going to do a much better job figuring out who are the people you could introduce this person to to help them take a step in the direction of their dreams, what are the kinds of training the person might need to develop skills, and you’re just going to care about the person more because people’s life stories are interesting, and people’s dreams are really interesting. This is kind of what makes life worth living.
So this is the way out of the tedious sort of career conversation where you just talk about why they’re not getting promoted as fast as they want to, right? You have these two conversations, and then you have a third conversation where you come up with a career action plan, “Who’s going to do what by when? What are the things that you can do and what are the things your direct report can do to start tying their work today to the future that they want to build for themselves?”

So those are three conversations you can have that really will help you bring your whole self to work but also get to know the people who work for you so that they can bring their whole selves to work. So that’s sort of one really specific actionable piece of advice.

Pete Mockaitis
Understood. Yes. So, now, let’s talk about perhaps the trickier one is doing the challenging directly when your sort of personal survival safety instincts are fighting against it.

Kim Scott
Yes, so one of the things that I recommend is think about that Bob story. Think about what happens when you fail to challenge directly. Think about your version. When is the time when someone failed to tell you something that you really wished they had told you? And that will help you build the courage and the discipline to just say it.
Another thing that you can do to challenge others directly that really helps is to begin by asking them to challenge you. Don’t dish it out until you’ve proved that you can take it, right? So when you ask others to criticize you, it gives you a couple of really important things. First of all, the people who you work with are watching you very closely, and you’re going to learn something that’s going to help you improve, so that’s really good.
But it also allows you to model that you value feedback and that you can treat it as a gift, so that when you’re offering criticism you’re offering it in the spirit of a gift. It’s something that you’re offering to help other people improve. The purpose of criticism is to help others improve. The purpose of praise is to help others know what to keep doing more of.
And I think it’s really important not to think of praise as the way that you show you care personally and criticism as the way that you challenge directly. Both praise and criticism should show that you care and show that you’re willing to challenge directly at the same time.

Pete Mockaitis
Understood. Those are so good. Well, now, I’d like to kind of shake things up a little bit in terms of just the context. So it seems like we’re kind of manager-centric so far. If you are the person being managed, or I’m thinking listeners here are in their respective workplaces and a healthy proportion of them don’t have their own direct reports but are reporting to someone else, how would these folks put some of these principles into play? It seems like it might be a little risky business to begin having some radical candor with your direct supervisor, for example?

Kim Scott
Yes, with your boss, being radically candid with your boss. In the book, there’s a whole section on being radically candid with your boss and, in fact, in our podcast, my co-founder Russ Laraway and I host a podcast about how not to hate the boss you have or be the boss you hate. So I think one of the most important things you can do not to hate the boss you have is to get to a place where you’re comfortable giving your boss feedback.
Because when you store it up, when you repress criticism, when you repress praise also, but when you repress feedback in general, it starts to pollute your relationship. It kind of builds up like a dirty bomb and eventually it’s going to go critical and explode. So don’t let that happen to you.
I think the basic rules of engagement for radical candor are the same sort of just like hierarchical language – but I don’t know how else to talk about it – up, down and sideways. So the things that I recommend that you do with your boss are the same things I’d recommend that you do with your peers, are the same things I’d recommend that you do with your employees.
And the first thing that you should do is to start by soliciting feedback. Ask your boss, “Is there anything that I could do or stop doing that would make it easier to work with me?” And if that question doesn’t fall trippingly off your tongue, come up with one that does. So, right now, as you’re listening to this podcast, come up with what your go-to question, what’s the way you’re going to ask your boss for feedback.
And when you get the feedback make sure that you don’t get defensive, right? Welcome it. If you agree with the feedback, act on it and tell your boss that you acted on it. If you disagree with the feedback, find that 5% of whatever was just said that you can agree with. Focus on that in the moment and then go back to your boss a couple of days later and say, “You know, I thought more about what you said, and there is something I disagree with there.” But make sure that you don’t disagree in the moment because it’s so easy to get defensive when you hear that feedback, so do whatever it takes not to react defensively.
Russ Laraway, my co-founder, likes to say, “Don’t get mad. Get curious.” So make that be your mantra for soliciting the feedback.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that is excellent.

Kim Scott
But don’t stop there because you also have to give the feedback, right? Because your boss is probably doing something that’s driving you crazy if you’re like any other normal person and you’ve got to find a way to tell your boss about it, so start by soliciting it. Then offer some praise. Make sure it doesn’t sound like kissing up but there’s probably more good stuff than bad stuff so focus on the good stuff and then you’re safe to ask your boss, “Hey, I see something that’s bothering me. Is it okay if I tell you about it?” And if your boss is worth anything, your boss will say yes. If your boss says no, then maybe you start polishing up your resume.

Pete Mockaitis
Right. Well, I think that is a fine sort of pre-feedback question that we’ve heard, I guess, suggest before, is, “Hey, are you up for changing this?” or, “Would you like to hear this?” It’s almost like you have to say yes. It’s like by some sort of code perhaps some say no. And maybe there’s a bit of a distinction between those who say yes and those who mean yes, but nonetheless, I guess, they’ve said it and so you have ostensibly permission to proceed.

Kim Scott
Yes, and start with something small, right? Start with something that’s not likely to elicit some giant negative reaction and see how they react. And if they react well then it’s safe to, next time, maybe talk about something that might be a little harder to talk about. I think the most important thing when giving feedback is don’t make it about personality. Don’t go to your boss and say, “I have some feedback for you. You know, I hate working with you and I don’t trust you at all.”

Pete Mockaitis
Very helpful. Thank you.

Kim Scott
Yes, personality transplants are not something that your boss can probably offer so make sure it’s something that could be changed.

Pete Mockaitis
Like a behavior as opposed to an overarching kind of tendency and belief system.

Kim Scott
Well, and also if you’re judging, like somebody asked me a question the other day, “What if you think the problem is that the person is just not smart enough?” And I said, “I think the problem here is you’re not analyzing the problem.” Like that’s never the problem in my experience that the person is just not smart enough. Try to get specific.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Well, while we’re on this subject here, is there any other sort of pre-work that one should do before they begin just saying it? You’ve highlighted a few things associated with asking first and starting small. Any other tips to lay the foundation or the scaffolding to enable the just-say-it freedom?

Kim Scott
I think another thing that can be helpful is to start by thinking through what are the elements of good praise and good criticism, and I think it’s useful to focus on six things. First of all, as you just pointed out, make sure that you’re offering your feedback, whether it’s praise or criticism, in the spirit of being helpful. You want to either help the person know what to do more of or know what to fix.
You’re not trying to show that you’re smarter or better. You’re not trying to kick them in the shins or anything like that. You’re trying to be helpful. And make sure that you go into it with that mentality. You also want to go into it realizing that you could be wrong. You want to be humble. Often people, especially when they have critical feedback for their boss, part of the problem is that they don’t have the whole picture, and what looks crazy to them looks a lot saner when you have the whole context.
So, go in realizing that you may be wrong and that’s okay, and being open to learning something. Feedback is a gift in one of two ways. Either you’re pointing out a problem that the other person can fix, or you’re pointing out something that’s not a problem and what the person has to fix is your point of view, and go into it with being open to either outcome.
So be helpful, be humble. Make sure you do it right away. As I said before, feedback, especially feedback for your boss, tends to kind of pile up and they can explode like a dirty bomb. I mentioned before I had this boss who I felt was so belittling and was so awful I literally shrunk half an inch my doctor was starting to get worried.
And I bumped into this person a decade later and had a drink with him, and I realized something really important. The person was not actually him or his behavior, although that had been bad, but the reason why I was so angry that I shrunk half an inch was that I hadn’t challenged him. I hadn’t stood up for myself or my team and I was really angry at myself. And it’s way worse to be angry at yourself than at somebody else so don’t let that happen to you.
Speak up. If your boss is doing something you don’t like, speak up and speak up right away. Don’t let it become debilitating. Also, you want to talk in person. You want to offer feedback, both praise and criticism, in person. The vast majority of communication is actually non-verbal. When you see a person’s facial tic, when you see them fold their arms, or hunch their shoulders, or their eyes get wide with surprise, you learn so much. So don’t give feedback over email or text or anything like that. Do it in person. If you can’t do it in person, at least use a video call if you possibly can. So there’s a hierarchy of medium, but try to do it in person.
You want to make sure that you give praise in public and criticism in private. And, last, but not least, something I mentioned before but is worth repeating, don’t make your feedback about somebody’s personality. Don’t say, “Oh, you’re so smart,” or, “You’re so stupid.” Get more specific with your feedback and make it about something that the person can have a hope of changing. It’s pretty hard to change your personality.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Well, so could you also tell us real quickly what’s the story behind the Candor Coach app?

Kim Scott
Yes, the Candor Coach app. So as I was writing the book Radical Candor, I was also coaching a number of leaders in Silicon Valley, and I kept thinking that it would be so much easier to take the advice in the book if there were a software system that would give you just the right piece of content at the right moment.
One of the things that I found in coaching, and most of the people who I was coaching had actually read drafts of the book, but you don’t remember every page in a book you read right at the right moment. And so as I would go in and have these coaching conversations, I would, when we were finished with the conversation, go back and copy and paste the right page or the right paragraph or just to write sentence from the book and send it to them. They’re like, “Oh, that’s so helpful. How did you write that so fast?” And I realized it was just because I had the right context.
And so one of the things that we’re doing with Candor Coach is really helping people to change their behavior. It’s so easy to read the Bob story or to see the Radical Candor framework and to think, “Yes, I agree with that,” but then to keep on doing the thing that you always do and not giving the feedback. And so what we’re really trying to help people to do is to build the habit of feedback, and to get it in the right order, and to track it with the people on their teams, and to gauge it so that they know how it’s landing for others. And then once we get that information we can give you tips, the right flavor tips for each person on your team on a daily basis really.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, it’s so cool. Thank you. Well, now, could you share a few of your favorite things with us and starting off with a favorite quote?

Kim Scott
Yes. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from John Stuart Mill, and he talks about how everything that is great about people – he says men but I’ll say people – either morally or intellectually is that our errors are corrigible but we can’t see our mistakes ourselves. We rely on others around us to fix our mistakes and that’s why feedback and dialogue is so important.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite study or experiment or a piece of research?

Kim Scott
One of my favorite experiments, it’s such a sad one, is Skinner’s box where they put these dogs in a box and they would shock them at random. If the dog knew what was causing the shock then when they took the walls of the box down the dog knew to run away. But if the dog couldn’t understand what was shocking it, it was so traumatized it didn’t run away. It just stood there and kept getting shocked. And I think, in some ways, bad feedback puts us all in kind of a Skinner’s box. If you don’t know what you’re doing well and what you’re doing badly, it’s impossible to know what direction to head in.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite book?

Kim Scott
My favorite book of all time is Middlemarch by George Eliot who, of course, actually is Mary Anne Evans Cross. It’s so wise in terms of human consciousness and helping people move in the direction of their dreams. I really find that novels, I get some of the best management advice of my career from the great novels, from George Eliot, or Anna Karenina, or even from another of my favorite books is actually an essay, Virginia Woolf’s Angel in the House. And that’s about how the role of female writers is to kill the angel in the house.
And she’s referring to this poem by a Victorian poet who talks about how the role of women is just to serve the man around her. She has no wants or needs of her own which, of course, is not true. We do have wants and needs of our own. And Virginia Woolf said the role of a female writer is to kill the angel in the house, to begin to assert sort of equality of relationships. And I think that, unfortunately, part of what has happened is women have entered the workplaces. The angel has left the house and come into the workplace. So killing the angel in the office is also important.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And how about a favorite habit, a personal practice of yours that helps you flourish?

Kim Scott
For me, the recipe to sort of remaining sane is to get eight hours of sleep every night, to get an hour of exercise every day, and to have breakfast and dinner with my kids and husband. If I can do those things then, no matter what craziness is happening in my life, I can endure it. And if I can’t get enough sleep, or if I can’t spend enough time with my family, or if I can’t get exercise, then even when things are pretty or should be even-keeled, I feel like I’m going nuts.

Pete Mockaitis
Right. And how about is there a particular articulation of your message that really seems to resonate like a quotable gem or nugget?

Kim Scott
My personal favorite line in the book is that, “Power and control work really well in a baboon troop or a totalitarian regime, but that’s not what you’re shooting for.” Relationships work much better for creating a great work environment.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And if folks want to get in touch or learn more, where would you point them?

Kim Scott
RadicalCandor.com is our website and you can learn more about the book, you can find our podcast there, you can read a number of blogposts, and you can also download the Candor Coach from the App Store.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And do you have a final challenge or call to action for those seeking to be more awesome at their jobs?

Kim Scott
My challenge is to have one conversation with each person you work with in which you are either giving praise or giving criticism or soliciting criticism. Have one of those three conversations, with each person you work with, in the next week.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Well, Kim, thank you so much for taking this time. It’s been a whole lot of fun. And good luck with what you’re up to there.

Kim Scott
Thank you so much and good luck. My goal in everything I do is to help people be more radically candid at work and live happier, more productive lives.

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