The “Give a Damn” Axis

Yeah, I love this regarding Radical Candor and giving feedback or “guidance” to your staff and employees:

To help teach radical candor — this all-important but often neglected skill — to her own teams, Scott boiled it down to a simple framework: Picture a basic graph divided into four quadrants. If the vertical axis iscaring personally and the horizontal axis is challenging directly, you want your feedback to fall in the upper right-hand quadrant. That’s where radical candor lies.

… Caring personally makes it much easier to do the next thing you have to do as a good boss, which is being willing to piss people off.

Most people, especially leaders, have exactly what it takes to piss people off and I’ve met many people who were wrongfully proud about their ability to be “honest” and “forthcoming” but very few leaders also have the ability to ground that feedback with caring for the person at the same time.

This is because telling someone the truth is easy and requires very little work, if at all. What’s hard is getting to know someone because it takes time (which can be in very limited supply) and growing a strong enough relationship to create an environment of trust and mutual respect.


Radical candor, then, results from a combination of caring personally and challenging directly.

I love that a lot. Great organizations always take care of their people and it’s what your employees are thinking about more than their actual work. Sometimes, as founders or leaders, we forget what it’s like to be care for, to be invested in personally; we’ve spent so much time leading that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be lead.