Care personally and challenge directly!
Leadership and Giving Feedback:
‘You know, Kim, I can tell I'm not really getting through to you. I'm going to have to be clearer here. When you say um every third word, it makes you sound stupid.’
(3min read) Author: Ron Goddard Founder & CEO TechVentures.London
Do you give and receive guidance? Should you?
Kim Scott is a coach for big companies like Twitter. She is a candid, outspoken mentor whose advice includes: It’s important to look after yourself before you try to look after other people.
Ask yourself how can I improve as a leader in 2016?
This is not profound advice but it’s so simple and seemingly mundane it’s often forgotten by leaders. As we say goodbye to 2015 and our thoughts turn to 2016 it’s something to consider. How can I improve myself as a leader and be more approachable for my team?
Most of us resist feedback when we can
Scott thinks the answer to this lies in guidance. She thinks this is actually quite different from what we often term ‘feedback’. Most of us hate feedback as it normally goes like this: I liked the way you did x but’ and for most people when they hear the conjunction ‘but’ they’re waiting for, the initial praise is lost forever. We all remember criticism and often deflect praise.
Good leaders don’t hide behind the ‘i have no time for micro-management’ card
If you consider the definition of audio ‘feedback’ it’s something that is unpleasant, loud and distorted. We can’t wait to end. If that sounds like a recent feedback session you’ve experience then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Guidance, Scott argues should be very different to this. Often it’s the one thing people are absolutely desperate to receive. Leaders often resist this need and say; ‘I don’t have time to micromanage.’ And therefore, real guidance that’s meaningful and constructive is never forthcoming.
Why is radical candour good for a leader and a team?
When Scott talks about guidance she terms it: ‘radical candour’. This is something she explains by using an anecdote. While working at Google and after a particularly successful presentation to the Google founders, her immediate boss asked Scott to accompany her back to the office. The conversation began with some praise and then continued with a ‘but. The ‘but’ moment was actually quite small in Scott’s eyes. Her boss informed her: ‘ You said um a lot in your presentation’
‘You sound stupid.’
Scott was a little dismissive and relieved that the ‘um issues’ was ALL there was to criticise. To quote her she thought: ‘Oh, no big deal. I know I do that but who cares when I had the tiger by the tail?’
Her boss would not be put off and asked whether nerves contributed to this mannerism and whether a speech coach would help. Scott dismissed it by saying it was trivial and she didn’t have time for such things as speech coaches.
Her boss then delivered this killer piece of radical candour:
‘You know, Kim, I can tell I'm not really getting through to you. I'm going to have to be clearer here. When you say um every