As we commemorate Bosses Day today, I remind all bosses and aspiring bosses that one of their most important functions is to provide feedback to employees. One model that helps to frame the spectrum of feedback options was developed by Kim Scott, author of the 2017 book Radical Candor.

Kim’s premise is that for effective feedback, the person must Care Personally and Challenge Directly. If someone has accomplished both aspects, she terms their feedback as Radical Candor – where you can provide direct and helpful feedback to help the person grow.

People often Care Personally – a lot – and because of their focus on being nice, they fail to challenge directly. Kim believes this is Ruinous Empathy, luring the person into a false sense of security because they have not received the honest feedback they deserve.

The opposite extreme is Obnoxious Aggression – feedback that is given without care and thus is often ignored or seen as not helpful.

On her website (, Kim shares stories and provides many more examples of the quadrants in action, but I believe this simple diagram will provide you with some fodder to consider today.

Where do you fall on the Care Personally/Challenge Directly spectrum? Have you truly shown your employees (or colleagues, partner, children, etc.) that you care about them? Do you care enough to provide the honest feedback that they would benefit from hearing or do you avoid it to keep yourself comfortable?

We’d all be better off if we delivered feedback with Radical Candor, keeping the civility and care as part of the equation while still saying what needs to be said.

Radical Candor handout

Thanks to Meghan for connecting me with this resource!

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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