Employee Development: How to Give a Radical Candor Feedback

Marina Agranionih
How to give a radical candor feedback

Feedback is a very used word to define pieces of a company’s culture. But it’s much feared by most employees and leaders. It is taken as “hard” because people tend to take feedback in a personal and critical way, impacting our inner centers, which makes it difficult to receive and also to give.

That’s why at Pipefy we understand that the “Radical Candor” methodology is the best one. Because it celebrates open and direct communication, always respecting teammates and pushing up our execution bar.

Before I tell you what it is and how to practice it, let’s understand some concepts.

Feedback vs Radical Candor

  1. Feedback: When we read at the dictionary, it is an “information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement”
  2. Radical Candor: By Kim Scott’s words (She is the one that came up with this methodology), it “is what happens when you put ‘care personally’ and ‘challenge directly’ together. It builds trust and opens the door for the kind of communication that helps you achieve results.”

Mixing both concepts, we have radical candor feedback.

How to give Radical Candor feedback

It happens when you react to someone’s performance/behavior communicating them in a caring and direct way. Feedback is important and it should be given frankly, immediately, and face-to-face. It can pass from colleague to colleague, from boss to worker, or even from worker to boss.

This reaction can be both positive or negative. We can have: good feedback–called praise by the Radical Candor methodology, or negative feedback: called criticism.

When we talk about criticism, we need to be aware of how we are communicating that; otherwise, it can be considered disrespectful and aggressive. So, when you face a situation when someone did something in an inappropriate way, you need to give the feedback following these steps:

  1. Get clear about how you intend to help: Think about how your feedback will be helpful and have it clear in your mind.
  2. Call the person to talk face-to-face – The methodology says to give feedback in person 2 min after the situation happened. Allowing people to fail when everyone else is watching isn’t kind, it’s cruel. As Kim says: “One of the greatest gifts you can give those you work with is the truth about where their contributions can improve.”
  3. State your intention to be helpful: Show that you care about it “I’m going to tell you something because if I were in your shoes I’d want to know so I could fix it.”
  4. Show, don’t tell: examples.

It’s important to avoid long wind-ups and don’t sandwich the hard message to soften it. As the methodology says, “Bad news doesn’t get better with age.” Just be direct about the situation – don’t try to say something good about the person, because the feedback is not about the person, it is regarding a situation or specific behavior. We aren’t judging anyone, only giving guidance for development.

How to receive radical candor feedback

Receiving feedback is also so important. Don’t take it personally, take it as a gift to improve. When you receive it:

  1. Embrace the discomfort of not reacting in a defensive way – Listen with the intent to understand, not to respond to the person.
  2. If you disagree with the feedback, the thing that I recommend is to find that 5% of what they said that you can agree with, wait a day or two so you’re sure you’re not in a defensive frame of mind, and then explain to them why you disagree.

We can also be radically candid giving someone’s praise. The purpose is to help people know what to do more often and show the expected behaviors your organization celebrates.

Check out these tips for offering it for your colleagues:

  • Be helpful and humble
  • Give praise immediately
  • Don’t praise personality
  • Give praise in public: different from the criticism, praise is important to be given in front of the team to recognize, motivate, and also guide their behaviors.

It is good to emphasize how important it is to give more praise than criticism to have an environment that celebrates those recognitions and guide your team.

Remember: feedback is always constructive for both parties. When we practice this, we are improving our relationship, and it is raising our company’s execution bar.

* written by Marina Agranionih, HoneyBadger from the Curitiba office, People team, and responsible for the Pipefy Culture team.


Written by
Marina Agranionih
HoneyBadger from the Curitiba office, she is responsible for the Culture and Endomarketing at Pipefy's People Team.

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