The Learning Leader Show

223: Kim Malone Scott – Using Radical Candor To Be A Great Boss

“It is important for leaders to be learners, not tellers.”

Show Notes:

  • Sustained Excellence. Common Themes of Leaders who Sustain Excellence:
    • They care about their people as humans, they care personally
    • They are honest, not worried about being liked all the time, they are willing to challenge directly
  • Can you be both liked and respected?
    • Yes, but you shouldn’t strive to be popular
  • Jony Ive and Steve Jobs story — Steve told them the team their work was of poor quality. Jony said, “Why were you so harsh Steve?” Steve asked, “Why didn’t you tell them the work was bad? It’s your job to do that.” Jony replied, “I didn’t want them to be upset or distraught.” Steve said, “You are vain. You just want to be liked.”
  • The biggest mistake new bosses make is trying to be liked by everyone and NOT being direct.
  • Your employees should never have to say, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” — A great boss gives directly feedback in a timely manner
  • A great boss creates an environment where everyone can tell the truth (up, down, and sideways in an organization)
  • Understand the framework
  • How to created this culture?
    • Start by asking for feedback. You can’t give feedback if you’re not willing to take it.
    • Go to question: “What could I be doing to make it better for you?”
    • Use a “Start, Stop, Continue” exercise
  • Create a “Speak Truth To Power” environment
  • Embrace the discomfort
  • “Listen with the intent to understand… Not just waiting to talk.”
  • Must reward the candor — When you receive good feedback, you must implement it. You must fix the problem.
  • Google/Sheryl Sandberg story
    • Sheryl’s feedback: “You said “um” a lot during that presentation, would you like a speech coach?” — “No, I’m fine, thanks.” — “Kim, when you say “um” every third word, it makes you sound stupid.”
      • Sheryl knew she need to be very direct with Kim and they built a relationship of trust and care. That’s the only way she was able to get through to Kim and help her
  • Hiring is the most important decision you will make as a leader
    • “If you’re not dying to work with that person, don’t hire them”
    • Steve Jobs – “It’s better to have a hole than an asshole”
    • Dick Costolo – “You can’t just hire great people and get out of their way. You must invest time in helping them, develop them even more.”
  • Jony Ive – “New ideas are fragile. You must create space to talk about them.”
  • “Your job as the boss isn’t to be the decider, it’s to make sure everyone knows who the decider is.”
  • The Wright Brothers — Watching birds for hours –> Learning how to build wings for human airplane flight
  • Dick Costolo — Build in 2 hours of “think time” per day in your calendar
  • Career advice:
    • “Quit talk of building a great resume, build a great life”
    • Find people to have career talks with… Recount your life story with them. Zero in on changes you’ve made. Think “What motivates you about work?” Understand what drives you, what matters, why? — Think about your dreams… Make sure your dreams and values are in alignment. Create a plan
  • “It is important for leaders to be learners, not tellers.”

“When you say “Um” every third word, it makes you sound stupid.” — Sheryl Sandberg’s direct feedback to Kim after a presentation to Larry & Sergei


Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

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