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We're "ZOOMed" out. We're exhausted. We're uncomfortable. Is it time for Radical Candor?

Updated: Nov 21, 2021


“Balancing between caring personally and challenging colleagues directly during the pandemic is more important than ever, as many employees find themselves being informal coaches/mentors for their team members.” – Kim Scott, the co-founder of Radical Candor LLC.

To keep your workplace resilient, it is important to improve your internal communications. Employees are needing honest radical candor to support their clients, teams, and quite honestly themselves during this challenging and unprecedented time.

Scott highlighted five tools to promote Radical Candor in the workplace:

Don’t withhold information

When you are feeling exhausted, uncomfortable, or simply burnt out it is easy to avoid conversations. People who are less stressed about their work situations are those who have been clearly communicated about the state of the company and are actively invested in their employees’ well-being. One of the simplest ways to show that you care is, to be honest in your communication and open to learning and hearing their concerns.

In times of crisis, it can feel downright paralyzing. But, when you do have information that affects your team, commit to delivering it as soon as possible in a clear kind manner. For example, if you know your revenue is down, but you have reserves your company can tap into to wade through the next 6,9 or 12-months, communicate to your team to settle their fears of immediate layoffs.

Give them a voice

Be mindful of how much time you are speaking versus other people in a meeting. If you are taking up more than your fair share, try to pause and listen more. If you are leading the meeting, Scott suggested occasionally going person by person in alphabetical order, to ensure everyone has a voice on the call.

Start by checking in with each member of your team, and give them a chance to talk or respond, ask questions, and share with their team what they need from one another.

Ask what can be done better

The majority of the workforce today has never lived through a pandemic, so it can be hard to know what is going right, and what could be done differently. By simply asking from feedback from your team, is a great way to test your assumptions and make improvements within your control. By asking what can be done differently to help your team, or even what do they need, opens the door for dialogue.

And whatever you do, fight the urge to respond. Silence is okay. Allowing your team to process their thoughts, is a great thing. It demonstrates you are genuinely curious and open to listening. They will speak up when they feel safe to do so, or simply because the silence makes them uncomfortable.

Once they do respond, listen to understand, not to respond. Do feel open to clarifying what you heard or don’t be afraid to repeat it back to them.

Thank them for being open and sharing, this is rewarding their candor and promotes a welcoming environment for them to share in the future.

Scott add’s “If you agree with the criticism, make visible changes based on the feedback. If the change is hard or will take some time, show them you are working toward it. If you disagree with the criticism, try finding something they have said that you do agree with and point it out. Offer your full, respectful explanation of why you disagree with their other statements. This is a way to reward their feedback and allows them to consider your perspective.”

Take a break

“All over the world, leaders are being called upon to listen to stories that are hard to hear and to respond to emotions that are hard to witness.” Stated Scott.

If you do not show up for yourself and give yourself the break you need to process what you are going through both emotionally and physically you will be unable to show for others. As the saying goes “caring for others starts with caring for yourself.”

Release judgment

If you are having a difficult time and find yourself frustrated, try releasing judgment. Pause before going into tough conversations and remind yourself to assume positive intent.

Remember, things are challenging for everyone right now. Try practicing Radical Candor, it is more important than ever. It allows you to provide feedback in a way that is honest, clear, kind, and most importantly non-judgmental.

For more information about Radical Candor check out https://www.radicalcandor.com/radical-candor-not-brutal-honesty/ or interested in discussing programs to help support your employees Well-Being contact me at tarynmconsulting@gmail.com

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