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A Summary of

Thoughts on Gender and Radical Candor

First Round Review
First Round Review
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Co-founder and CEO of Radical Candor Inc. Kim Scott explores why gender issues make it harder for both men and women to be candid at work and suggests some ideas for addressing the problem.

  • Gender politics and fear of tears push men away from being as radically candid with women as they are with other men.
  • Gender bias pushes women away from being radically candid in a way that is also bad for men, women, and the truth.
  • Radical Candor is the_ _ability to give feedback in a way that challenges people directly, and at the same time shows you care about them personally.
  • Obnoxious Aggression is what happens when you challenge, but don’t care.
  • Ruinous Empathy is what happens when you care, but don’t challenge.
  • Manipulative Insincerity occurs when you neither care nor challenge.

Why Gender Politics & Fear of Tears Makes Radical Candor Harder for Men

  • Men often shy away from radical candor because gender politics and the potential for tears put them in uncomfortable and challenging positions in academic, professional, and other realms of life.
  • Gender politics must be stopped.
  • Moreover, everyone cries; tears are a valid emotional response; you cannot control how others feel; and crying is not a disaster.
  • The key takeaway is to shift the conversation away from gender politics and be kind when the tears do flow.

Why Gender Bias Makes Radical Candor Harder for Women

  • Gender bias is tricky because women can also be biased.
  • One common bias women fall prey to and perpetrate is 'The Abrasive Trap.'
  • Essentially, the more competent a woman is, the less her colleagues tend to like her.
  • The abrasive label gets placed on women by other women as well as by men.
  • When gender bias plays out over a whole organization, the impact on women leaders is profound as they struggle personally and on an organizational and leadership level.

What Can We Do?

  • We need to figure out some solutions and coping mechanisms to cool the gender politics and bias down.
  • In terms of tears, emotions can often lead to the heart of an issue, so curate an environment that accepts them and pushes them toward meaningful dialogue and change.
  • In terms of men avoiding "pulling punches," women should demand criticism to receive meaningful feedback and fuel growth and development both personally and professionally.
  • In terms of telling women they're "too aggressive," be specific in your criticisms, switch genders to check your biases, and be mindful of the language you use.
  • In terms of women being told they're "too aggressive," never stop challenging directly, care personally, and be mindful that you can make mistakes and be honest about them.
  • At the end of the day, slow down and be deliberate about how you engage with one another.
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