Ruinous Empathy is when you care but are unwilling to be honest/frank. We say to ourselves that we want to “spare the other’s feelings”. In reality all too often it is ourselves we are sparing: we do not wish to navigate the complex and challenging waters of giving effective feedback, we do not want to risk emotional blowback, we do not want to summon up the courage to deal with difficult feelings. Often we try to “soften the blow” and end up being uselessly vague.

Radical Candor is the combination of caring AND the willingness to directly challenge. “Challenging others is difficult for many; saying anything short of positive feels impolite. We’ve all been taught ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’” Yet if you are someone’s boss, responsible for directing and training them, you have a moral obligation to give them the information, in the most helpful format possible, they need to succeed. For radical candor to work, the recipient must trust the speaker’s character and competence and know that the giver cares deeply about their success. “Radical candor is humble, it’s helpful, it’s immediate, it’s in person and it doesn’t personalize.” –  Kim Malone Scott, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Closing Quotes:

“All feedback is relevant, even if it’s not true.” – Ford Taylor

“The best feedback is what we don’t want to hear.” – George Raveling

“Criticism is the fuel by which the vehicle of success runs.” – Oscar Auliq-Ice

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” – Frank A. Clark

“Neither care too much nor too little about the feedback of others.” – Miles Anthony Smith, The Pain, Pitfalls, and Challenges of Servant Leadership

“My boss didn’t say, ‘You’re stupid.’ She said, ‘You sounded stupid when you said um.’ There’s a big difference between the two.” – Kim Scott, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier