Kim Scott on Feedback, Candor, and Gender Bias Bingo

LOVED this article by Kim Scott on First Round Review about how gender bias relates to ongoing workplace struggles with candor. She’s doing this incredible project called Radical Candor to build tools to help people be candid at work. She defines radical candor as “the ability to give both praise and criticism in a way that challenges people directly and shows you care about them personally” and breaks communication styles down via this great visual:


She goes on to explain why candor is difficult: we’re trained NOT to do it!

Most people have been told since they learned to talk some version of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” When they become a boss, the very thing they have been taught not to do since they were 18 months old is suddenly their job.

Cue Maya Angelou:


Scott’s piece links to this terrific education project about gender bias that fills my heart with both sadness and joy (yes! we know enough about gender bias to be pithy! ugh, there’s enough gender bias to make a bingo card). There’s a clickable link on the site to enter your experiences and a printable format as well.


Related to the notion of communicating with candor is this post about giving feedback, which summarizes some key points from a few leadership and management books, specifically about making sure you know what you’re trying to accomplish by giving feedback, and lists out three kinds of feedback to be aware of:

  • APPRECIATION is expression of gratitude or approval of another’s effort. It is an expression of emotion, designed to meet an emotional need.
  • ADVICE (or COACHING) consists of suggestions about particular behavior that should be repeated or changed. It focuses on the performance, rather than judging the person.
  • EVALUATION is ranking the subject’s performance in relation to that of others or against an explicit or implicit set of standards.


The end of that post recommends Getting to Yes, the negotiation book by William Ury, whose Creative Mornings talk I just linked.

Related: Link: Feedback