Radical Candor
Radical Candor

Episode 73 · 2 months ago

Radical Candor S4. Ep. 14: Quiet Quitting Speaks Loudly About Bad Bosses


On this episode of the Radical Candor Podcast, Kim, Jason and Amy discuss the message quiet quitting is loudly sending to bad bosses and managers of managers. 

We know that relationships don’t scale, but culture does. This means that while you can’t have a close relationship with every person who reports to the people who report to you, practicing Radical Candor with the people you manage can impact how they interact with the people they manage and so on. 

On the other hand, if toxic stew is flowing from the top and being passed down from executives to managers of managers to individual contributors it should come as no surprise that people in this type of environment are disengaged at work.

Radical Candor Podcast Episode at a Glance

A recent piece in Harvard Business Review by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman Quiet Quitting Is About Bad Bosses, Not Bad Employees shares data they gathered on almost 3,000 managers who were rated, by five direct reports on average, on two data points: 

  • Employees’ ratings of their manager’s ability to “balance getting results with a concern for others’ needs.”
  • Employees’ ratings of the extent to which their “work environment is a place where people want to go the extra mile” — what they called “discretionary effort.  

Managers who were rated the highest at balancing results with relationships saw 62% of their direct reports as willing to give extra effort, while only 3% were quietly quitting. Whereas the least effective managers had three to four times as many people who fall in the “quiet quitting” category compared to the most effective leaders.

They found that: “Quiet quitting is usually less about an employee’s willingness to work harder and more creatively, and more about a manager’s ability to build a relationship with their employees where they are not counting the minutes until quitting time.”

On this episode of the Radical Candor Podcast, Kim, Jason and Amy pose a few questions to managers of managers:

  • Are you holding managers accountable for the engagement of their team members?
  • Are you looking at relative engagement scores? Even if engagement scores for your company are lower than average deviations from the mean within your organization matter.  

If you have managers reporting to you who are underperforming on team engagement in comparison to their peers, you should be treating this as an urgent situation.

Radical Candor Podcast Checklist

  1. Get curious about why some people on your team are disengaged. If you have managers reporting to you who are underperforming on team engagement in comparison to their peers, you should be treating this as an urgent situation. Ask yourself whether or not you have truly fostered a culture of Radical Candor. Do your employees feel valued, cared for and appreciated? Are their roles clearly defined? Are there opportunities for them to learn and grow? Do they feel like they can come to you with concerns? If the answer is no, you need to focus on building a culture of trust.
  2. Have “speak-truth-to-power” meetings. If you’re a manager of managers, it’s difficult to have visibility into every single thing that’s going on. Speak-truth-to-power meetings are an effective way to get clear information from the people who report to the people you manage.
  3. Remember, relationships don’t scale, but culture does. This means that while you can’t have a close relationship with every person who reports to the people who report to you, practicing Radical Candor with the people you manage can impact how they interact with the people they manage and so on. Without a culture of trust, which has been identified as the most important factor in determining engagement, you’ve already failed.
  4. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s every authority figure ever. As the boss getting feedback from employees you might often feel like a projection screen for everyone’s unresolved authority issues. When it comes time to give feedback to your boss, it can be helpful to remember that. Take a step back from both roles and try to see everyone you're working with as simply people. When you remove hierarchy from the situation, it all looks and feels much more straightforward.  

Radical Candor Podcast Resources

Hello everybody, and welcome to the radical candor podcast. I'm Kim Scott, co founder of radical candor, an author of radical candor and just work, and I'm Jason Rose off, CEO and Co founder of radical candor. I'm Amy Sandler, your host for the radical candor podcast, and today we're talking about two intersecting topics. So managers who manage managers, which is a lot of managing, and quiet quitting. There's a lot of can we like to get into assonance with our words here? There's managers managing managers and quiet quitting. First let's agree on what we mean by quiet quitting. I will offer up one definition and I want to get your perspective, Kim and Jason, on this. From Gallup, quiet quitting is the idea spreading viral, e. on social media, that millions of people are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description. End Quote. And Gallant notes that this is a problem because, quote, most jobs today require some level of extra effort to collaborate with co workers and meet customer needs. So, Kim, first of all, let me turn this over to you. How does that definition land for you and how do you contrast it, maybe from a radical canter perspective, what you've described as rock star mode. Yeah, at least my understanding, I mean of quiet quitting, which is not everyone's understanding. We'll have a discussion about it, but in my understanding of quiet quitting, rock star mode is totally totally different. When people are in rock star mode they're great at their job and they are doing a great job. They're not just meeting expectations, they're exceeding expectations, but they're not necessarily gunning for the next big job or the next promotion or whatever. So they're definitely going above and beyond, but they're not going above and beyond in order to get the next promotion necessarily. But what I think people, and I've been here in my career and I imagine most people have, but there are times in our careers when we're doing the bare minimum not to get fired. We're not rocking the boat, we're not complaining much, but we're just trying to sort of fly under the radar screen and not get fired, and you're not going to do your best work and you're not going to enjoy work as much when you're in that kind of mode. I don't know. What do you all think quiet quitting is? Who knows? Jason, you know, I think since this term was just made up like a month ago, I feel we can take some liberties with how we define it. I think you are right that there's a distinction between rockstar mode and quiet quitting. I guess like the way that I think about performance with in a role at work is it's sort of like a bell curve of potential performance and people kind of bell curve, but mathematical. I'm referring to a horrible book. Anyway, please do so. We didn't do the mathematical shape right. There are some percentage of people who are not getting for a promotion who can do exceedingly well in that role because they maybe have expertise that extends beyond the sort of bounds of the role or some skill or experience that extends slightly beyond the bounds of the role that make them especially good at delivering on what's inside the role. But most of the people in a role are going to fall into somewhere towards the middle of that bell curve, and I feel like we are talking about people who are doing well in the role, maybe not going above and beyond in the way that you're describing, to be considered in Rockstar mode, but who certainly are not on the chopping block. They're not performing so poorly that they might be fired. They're performing well in the job, but they're simply not willing... go sort of like above and beyond. They're not willing to push themselves to be at the top end of the bell curve. So I would agree with everything you said except for one word. You said they're performing well, and I would say they're performing okay, like well. To me put you on the right. So if there's a line in the middle of the they're on the left of the line that's in the middle of the bell curve. They're doing okay, not well. They're meeting and not missing expectations, but they're not meeting and sometimes exceeding expectation. Yes, I feel like that's a helpful clarification. But if you can fill a role with someone who can consistently meet expectations, that is often great. That is often like a really good situation to be to be in. So I think the reason why we're having a conversation about by quitting at all is because there are a lot of people who companies were relying on their willingness to push themselves to the top end of that sort of performance curve in order to meet there the company's objectives, even though they weren't necessarily compensating or recognizing people for doing that. They were depending on them doing that without recognition or compensation, and people are now saying no. So now it's becoming very hard for teams to meet their goals because that discretionary effort, the desire to push themselves beyond the sort of somewhere in the middle of that bell curve. Is what I think, at least the opinion pieces that I've read about probably quitting, are are referring to. It's the difference between being willing to sort of stay somewhere just to the left or to the right of that middle point on the curve and pushing yourself to be towards the top end. Yeah, exactly. Just going to bring in, Jason, and a definition from what you were sharing from a recent Harvard Business Review piece by Jack's anger and Joseph Folkman, who, the introduction to this piece says quiet quitting is a new name for an old behavior and for decades they've regular you've been asking people to rate whether their quote, work environment is a place where people want to go the extra mile. So this idea of going the extra mile what they also refer to as Jason, what you mentioned, discretionary effort. So I think what's interesting, as you're talking about Jason is happy if someone meets expectations and the quitting definition is really about not just meeting expectations but going the extra mile. Kim was that where you were going or were you going? Are you going to extra mile on that, or are you just yeah, I agree with that. I mean I as we've talked about this before, but one of the least popular things that I did when I was working at Google was I said, if you meet expectations and never exceed expectations for two years in a row, we put you on a project where you will have an opportunity to exceed expectations and if you fail, then we'll try to find a different role for you where you can. Because I feel like in my experience anyway, the joy and work often comes from that discretionary effort where you're noticing something that is broken and you take a little extra effort to try to fix it, and the reason why I think that's important at work is it's important for you because if you don't try to fix it, then it becomes like a grain of sand in your shoe that's going to give you a blister and it's gonna gonna come really painful over time. Kim, can you share again what you mean by needing to review employee's performance if they keep meeting expectations? What was it for two years, if that was that the data point you were using? Yeah, I mean that's not a data point, that's an anecdote, but the Kim Scott Anecdote of two years. Okay, I mean there's nothing. In other words, sometimes it might be three years, sometimes it might be one year. It depends on this...

...situation. But the question is, and I love your all thoughts. My feeling is that if someone is never exceeding expectations, that they're always meeting expectations, it's a red flag about their boss, that their boss is not giving them the right opportunities, are creating the right environment for them to really excel. I believe that one of them. There's no such thing as a B player, and a B is a pretty good grade I think everybody can be exceptional at their work and it's doing great work that usually creates a lot of the pleasure in work. It's hard to be enthusiastic about a job where you're just meeting expectations, I think, but I don't know. What do you all think? I want to hear what Jason has to say, but if I can just share a personal story, because I think it gets into who is defining the expectations and are the expectations clearly and fairly assigned? So I will go back if I made to the fourth grade when, apparently, as family lore goes, rather than getting a check plot whatever the top score was superior, amazing or whatever, I got like a very good old star. You got. Yeah, and so this wasn't apparently a huge shock. And so, upon learning at the parent teacher conference that for amy to get a gold star, an example would be like there was a new student and amy welcomes the new student and takes the new student around. So, in other words, because I had achieved a certain amount of success, there was like a new bar of what expectations were set, and so I guess it just came as you were defining that what was on my mind was our expectations clear and equitable, sort of in an organization. Is One thing that's on my almost never, but so that's a problem. That's a problem. The thing that came to mind for me is is whether or not the exceeding expectations thing is required to be good at the job, because if it's required to be good at the job, then it should be the expectation, not exceeding expectations, and I think that's it sort of feels pedantic, but one of the things that I found was really helpful when I was thinking about how do you create equitable job descriptions and equitable reviews is you have to make the actual expectations of good performance in a job very clear, and so if there's something that people really need to do to do well at the job, that that should fall in the expectations. I think there's still a gradient right. There's still the difference between someone who does everything that's required of them within the bounds of the job, does a good job with that and then stretches beyond the job into other things to like make the team better, for example. Now you don't have to be career ambitious, meaning you don't have to be gunning for the next job in order to do that. A lot of people do that because it makes them happy. To your point, Kim, like the excellence that comes from contributing in other ways beyond the bounds of your role is really exciting for a lot of people. It brings them joy and happiness, makes them feel more productive and successful at work. But I think in my perspective, gets recognized on evaluation of performance, but it doesn't get recognized in terms of how well you are doing your job. It gets recognized in terms of like discretionary bonus and things like that, because you have gotten beyond the bounds of the job and done something else. So, like if I had someone who's beating expectations consistently and by meeting expectations, were delivering excellent results in their role, because that's what I would say. Like meeting expectations to me is like delivering great results for the role that you're in. Let's meet more concrete let's take a salesperson, right. So, like a salesperson who meets or sort of closely exceeds their goal on a regular basis. I would be happy with that. So I think that what we're saying is similar, although it may sound different. I think rule number one from manager to get great results...

...out of their employees is to make the expectations explicit and clear and also not to get too tied up in not over the extrinsic part of the expectations. If everything gets graded, then you remove the pleasure of great work for its own sake. So that's some of the interest. You want to make sure that you're creating space for people to get that intrinsic satisfaction out of their work. Does that make sense? Yeah, I really like that framing and I think it helps us move sort of double click into why people might want to leave their jobs, why quiet quitting is so important, especially now. And so going back to this piece and Harvard Business Review, in which the title was quiet quitting is about bad bosses, not bad employees, and Kim, I feel like that's a topic that is near and dear to your heart. So they gather data from about three thousand managers who are rated by fiber so direct reports on average, and they were exploring two data points. One was employees ratings of their manager's ability to quote balance getting results with a concern for others needs. So that was one data point. The other one was employees ratings of the extent to which their quote work environment is a place where people want to go the extra mile and this is what they call discretionary effort. And so what I think is really interesting is that managers who are rated the highest at balancing results with relationships. I don't like the way they put that. I don't like the way they talked about it because it implies a false dichotomy. I either worry about results or I worry about my relationships, and it implies that anything I do for my relationships is going to hurt my results. But, Kim, what do you think this data suggests? Since we want to talk about managers of managers, how can managers of managers read through this article, look at some of this Ata and check in with their direct reports who are managing other people? Yeah, so I want to say I totally agree with about quiet quitting that you just read. So I think one of the things that managers can do to take a look at their direct reports and understand how their relationship is going with their teams is to warn each of their direct reports about the problems of power and to teach them because very often, I was thinking about this on my walk today, very often when a person becomes a manager, they view themselves as a nice person, as a person who's easy to get along with. They don't view themselves as intimidating. Usually they don't aspire to intimidate others. But very often what happens is that the fact that the person has some authority, has a little bit of power, makes people around them inclined to interpret what they're saying, even though they're intending to be radically candid. There's very high likelihood that the kind of things they're saying are landing as obnoxious aggression for the team and that the team is unwilling to challenge their authority. And so, if you're a manager of managers, one of the most important things you can do to create an environment where that doesn't happen is to have speak truth to power meetings, and these are the meetings where you sit down with the direct reports, of your direct reports and you ask them you know. So let's say that amy you're doing this for me. Well, hopefully I have five direct reports and you sit down with my five director reports. I'm not in the room and you say what could Kim do or stop doing that would make it easier to work with her? And then it's not for attribution meetings. So you're gonna tell me what happened in that meeting and but you're not going to tell me who said what, but you're gonna tell me what was said and you're gonna take no and...'re going to project them so that others can read them, so that if someone says something that is going to be attributed to them in a way they're not comfortable with, they can ask you to delete it. And then you're gonna sit down with me and you're gonna talk to me about the three things I'm going to change, the three things I'm going to do differently to communicate to people that I heard what they said and to make my listening tangible too, that I heard what they said and I'm changing. I'm open to this feedback and that is, I think, one of the most important things you can do. One of the dangerous things that managers of managers do is they take a look at employee satisfaction surveys, employee engagement surveys and they start acting on the numbers rather than investigating. I think having actually these often called skip level meetings, I prefer to call them speak to to power meetings, is one important thing that a manager managers, can do to make sure that they know who on their team is having trouble. And you want to do this in the spirit of helping people become better managers, not creating some sort of Stalinist, I'm going to report on you behind your back way. Is there something, Kim, that you learned as a manager of managers from the skip level meetings? In other words, did you have a boss who led one of these meetings and shared feedback with you and what you found was a helpful way to lead that meeting? Of How do you debrief your direct report with those now alignings? Not have such a boss. I wish I had, but I did get advice from someone named Roxanna Wales who worked with me at Google. She was in learning and development at Google and before that she had worked at NASA, and she was the one who explained to me about skip level meetings, and so I did it. I took her advice and I had her do it for me. So she met with my direct reports and told me what I was doing wrong. So you did do it. Yeah, she wasn't my boss, okay, but yeah, what would you want that person to do for? How did she give you the information? What made it presented in a way that could land for you? Well, I mean I asked her to do it and so hopefully I was open to the feedback. But the basically what she did was she took notes during the meeting, projected it for each of my direct reports so they could watch what she was writing, so they knew exactly what she said. This is what I'm telling Kim. I'm going to get him this report. So there was more transparency, which created a little bit of trust in the process. And then she shared it with me and she asked me, what are you going to do based on these notes, and I came up with some things and she said, well, I think you should do more of this less of that. But I think if you a manager managers and you're going to roll out these speak to to power meetings, it's important that you describe the process to your team, to everyone and say I'm going to do this for all of Y'all, and then you get questions, you answer concerns and then you get them to describe what's about to happen to their teams so that everyone knows that you're doing this as part of helping your direct reports be better managers. You're not doing it to try to figure out who sucks and fire them. It's got to be presented very carefully to your direct reports and then you want them to own the messaging to their teams that you're going to come in and meet with them, chasing any reflections from your own experience on speak truth to power skip level meetings. Well, I was just going to say that. I was thinking. I've had people do this for me, but none of them have been my manager either, although there was one situation him where it was... an anniversary that I had and we were all out to dinner. My boss was there and it was sort of a joke, but he said we all love Jason, stuff like that. People were saying such nice things about he's like we all love Jason, but like, what's one thing that Jason doesn't really ticks you off? And then someone told the story about how, when I interviewed them, that I gave them nothing, no emotional reaction to work with, and they were so flustered by this they felt like I completely derailed them in like the rest of the interview process. They're like you're just inscrutable, like I couldn't tell what you were thinking. By the end of it, I just assumed that I had done horribly, like I assumed at some point react positively to something and I remember thinking like wow, that is probably one of the most helpful, clear and insightful pieces of feedback that's ever been given in and it sort of like happened as a joke, but it was in this context, or sort of like trust had been established and I think the fact that my boss was asking and that I was there, and I demonstrate it already. It's very open to feedback, it created sort of a different environment. So I was just that was the let their alcohol involved and it was a little bit of there, a little bit involved. Please consult with your medical professional before trying this at yours. I cannot drink anymore because I like to drink too much. So I'm not encouraging drinking at work, but I acknowledge it does sometimes help. I think it's very interesting that neither of you had your quote managers bring this up and you almost had to proactively. Yeah, it was interesting on my team at Google. Once I started doing the skip level meetings and I did them in a way that was support everyone wanted to have more skip love. Like I could have spent all my time doing skip level meetings. So I will warn you, especially if you have a big team like there were, I don't know, seven hundred people or something on the team, you want to make sure that you set some boundaries around the skip level meetings, because pretty soon you can spend all your time doing them. So you say I'm going to do it once a year, I'm going to do it for my direct reports. Their direct reports are going to do it for that their direct reports. And then you also want to provide some way for to make sure that people who are brand new in your organization. Depends on how big your organization is, but people who are five levels quote unquote below. I don't know how to talk about hierarchy without this above and below language which I hate. But anyway that are five levels reporting up through you. You want to make sure you create opportunities for them to come to you and that's where sort of having an open q and a at an all hands where anyone can stand up and ask you a question and we're kind of walking around. Helps yeah, I just want to make something explicit that I believe has been implicit for during this conversation and in order to make these skip level meetings really actionable, the expectations of what a good manager does also need to be clear, not just to the manager but to the team that they are supporting. Um and I think this is one of the things that a lot of organizations miss, in part because management is not seen as a discipline onto itself. It is often seen as sort of your side job that you do in addition to some other technical work that you are responsible for. So a lot of managers of people are sort of project managers with a side job of managing the humans on the project also. Those are the perfect conditions that to lead to quiet equipping, because something is going to give and it is often the really hard thing that gets pushed. And the really hard thing between project management and people management is people management, like the actual projects don't talk back exactly, like there's a sketch well and things are...

...objective. It's like very attractive to like focus on the project and not and not as much on the people, because I think it is helpful when you're dealing with people who have some experience with being managed, to ask a broad question like what could Kim do to make it easier to work with her? So again, as a manager of managers, that kind of question I think works reasonably well when you're doing skip levels for someone who maybe has less experienced people on the team, maybe this is their first job. For example, I dealt with a lot of managers who are managing people. It was their first job out of college, like what a manager is supposed to do, and giving that to them, saying I want you to think about this. Is The job description for your manager. Does my goal, came to your point, is to help your manager get better. That's the spirit that I'm having this conversation with you. That's spirit in which I'm having this conversation with you. But that really did help ground things because like very tactically, you sort of a throwaway comment, but I think it's quite important. Kim is like the question of like how do you spend this time and who do you do the these meetings? For What cadence? How do you prioritize? If if you don't have time to do it all at once, how you prioritize. I do think engagement surveys are valuable sources of data. They're not sources of answers. Their sources of sort of like their heat detection. Yes, exactly, that's what I was going to say. They are as smoke alarmed. They are not the fire department. You manager managers, you are the fire department. I think if I were a manager managers listening to this, I'd be sweating right now because I'm like, Oh, ship, now I gotta go and I got to write a job description for the people management partner. I don't know what to write. I'm going to write it for you right now. You can take it or leave it, but here's what your managers, who are working for you, ought to be doing for their teams and here's what you ought to be doing for them. Soliciting feedback. You ought to be giving praise, you ought to be giving criticism. You ought to be encouraging a culture of feedback, a K A preventing backstabbing. You ought to be having rear conversations. You ought to be thinking about sort of growth management. You ought to engage in some sort of growth management process if that seems if you don't know what I mean by that. Just skip it for now. We'll talk about it on another podcast. You ought to be having one on ones with each of your direct reports, ideally on a weekly basis. You ought to be having a very clear decision process. The decision process on your team ought to be transparent and clear to everyone, and you want to be setting goals. And if you do those things as a manager, there's more to it, but if you do those things you're at least meeting expectations. If only there was a book that outlined these steps. Kim imagine a wow, radical candor. What are what are the odds? The T L do read? Version is what I just said. Like it's not going to take you for average to write job description for your people managers. It's about soliciting feedback, giving feedback, helping people, helping understand people's career aspirations and setting goals. If you wanted the even shorter version, well, I think that's really helpful. I like it a lot too, and I think what's interesting, both in our definition of quiet quitting this whole conversation around do people need to meet expectations exceed expectations? Number One. Have we clearly defined what what expectations are and what good looks like? And have we defined what the role of a people manager is? So clarity is obviously a big part of radical candor. One of the problems with being a manager is that you, as a manager, are likely to be the projection screen on which all of your employees project their unresolved authority issues. And what I mean by that is you are are very likely to be perceived as an asshole. And...

...even if you're like, not a bona fide that, but you're very likely to be perceived that way. And if you can talk, if you're a manager, managers and you can talk, and that is an isolating, upsetting thing and very often, when we are what is isolating to be a manager, managers are to be an asshole, perceived as to be perceived asn't ask. Okay, I just want to be clear. I mean both things are but what I'm in in this case was and very often, unfortunately, what happens is when someone is perceived as an Asshole, they get frustrated by that and they start to behave like an asshole. So don't let that happen to you. And if you're a manager, managers, one of the things you can do to help your team deal with this sort of upsetting and isolating thing is everybody thinks you're a jerk, is to talk to them about it. Talk to them. How are we, as a team going to manage this unfair situation that most people who are managers are going to have with at least half the people on their team are going to be projecting their sort of unresolved authority issues onto you. So I think that just having that conversation and holding space for a little group therapy on this situation is another really good thing that you can do because if you read there's great book written by Bob Sutton called the asshole survival guide, and he offers a lot of suggestions, many of which are basically quiet quitting. Like that's a coping mechanism if you're working for and so if you understand the problem that it causes for your team and their performance when they perceive you as it may not be fair that they perceive you as an Asshole, but fair or not, it's your problem to solve if you're a manager, and so just talk to your team about that, have a little group therapy on that topic. Jason, you're nodding. Anything more to add on the s whole anonymous or not so anonymous meetings? Have you ever been involved in any of these? That can speaks of I feel like I have been guilty of this at various times because, to Kim's point, like if you think of yourself as sort of a nice person or a good person, there's a temptation when you're told that you're not living up to your own expectation of yourself. Often this is not something someone else is setting for you, but there's a temptation to be like, okay, well, you think I'm a jerk, now, really good. I'm like help, really mean you can, you can get Um. I do think there's real merit to helping, especially new managers, sort of distance themselves from the role of management. Like it's very tempting to conflate management with parenting, for example. There's often metaphors that are the parenting metaphors are very common in management. It's problematic for a lot of reasons, but not the least stuff, which is like, for many people, being a parent is a part of who they are and so some of that carries over. He starts use that metaphor carries over into management, but like seeing it as a set of skills that are separate from yourself, the things that you can get better at. I think that goes a long way to helping the sort of like asshole's anonymous problem. I'll give you cannot share a story. So I was getting someone some feedback one time and his response was just once, just once, and his response was don't worry about it, I don't listen to anyone starting with my mother. Yes, so what do I wish I had said in that moment, like just because you had a problematic relationship with your mother doesn't mean you have to have a problematic relationship with every woman you encounter thereafter. But I think this kind of thing happens and I don't think that I was being an asshole...

...when I gave him the feedback, but he perceived me. I don't think he would have called it asshole, he perceived me. I he thought I was being a bit just like his mother, and so it was like one of those moments where, and probably his mother wasn't a bit, by the way, but there were many levels to how problematic the moment was. One was the gender neutral you know authority issue and then the other. Then you layer gender on top of it and it became much more complicated, and so I think that's an example of what is happening to your managers are getting these comments. It was a hard situation for me because I was the one in the situation who had the power and yet I felt like I was sort of being attacked unfairly. And so if the more you can share stories like that with your team and and talk about how to manage those moments, the better. It's a complicated moment. Yeah, I am going to say something which I hope we'll edit out, but I'm gonna be like, let me dad what he thinks of that. Jason Yam, I think the story is sort of a perfect encapsulation of why it's so important to try to separate, are to build create some professional distance, like from the job of management and the projections that people have about authority. Like, I do think that the relationship between authority and engagement is that when authority is used as a way to sort of protect a team's ability to get work done, when you use the power you have to sort of elevate the people on your team, that is what gets you the sort of discretionary effort that we've been talking about, but people are just are waiting for you to use that authority in a way that feels unfair so that they can then project onto all of those unresolved issues that they have. And that's the part that feels so crappy about being a manager. It's like I slipped up for one second. I used my you know what I'm saying, like and as you become aware of this, as you become aware of like the moments when you're throwing your power around, for example, I remember in a design review meeting there was this moment where I was like I just expressed very bluntly something like my dissatisfaction with the direction that something had taken, and I was really sitting in my own opinion. I wasn't speaking for the company, I wasn't even saying that I'm right. I was like it's just like a bummer that we wound up right here, and I could tell, I could see in that moment the crestfallen expressions on all of the people's faces and I was like, damn it, like this is just like human emotion coming out like in the moment and I knew that I was going to have to walk that back, like I was going to have to contextualize where that came from, and it was like it was very hard because I knew people felt as though I was disappointed in them when that's not what was happening, and I knew that I was going to have to manage that reaction. So I was opposed to like even saying this is my intention and I know that's not the outcome. That wasn't enough because the disappointment was still going to be there, like the feeling they've been scolded was still going to be there, even though I wasn't talking about what they did, I was talking about how I felt. So I feel for managed out there and find themselves in that situation and find it really hard to dig out. I actually think this is a really important topic, but I wonder if the whole our job work is a family, this team is a family, like, how often that can how often that can be manipulated right to sort of to go to Jason's point, like I guess when you hear people saying that company, saying we're a family here, how would you instruct individual employees to respond to that. Yeah, I think it's problematic even when it's not being used in a manipulative way, but when it's being used in a specifically in a manipulative way, it's designed to create a sense of obligation. You are, because we are a family, you are obliged to do certain things without recognition or reward because we're a family, because who you don't reward your family for doing things? It's just part of being a family. Whenever anybody says that, I...

...always joke of like my family is like pretty dysfunction my team was as dysfunctional as my family, like that would be a serious problem. Like I would see that it's like a like a real issue to be sold. I've been therapy for many years trying to deal with the unresolved problems of my family. So I feel like even when it's done with like the best intentions, it can be problematic because it sends the sort of wrong message. But the manipulate version of it is really terrible because it is an excuse. Like often roles inside of families are unclear. So like that's a great way to say, well, we don't have to put everything in a job description because, like we all carried the weight and like. Isn't it fair? Because, just like in a family, in those situations, the work it's unfairly distributed. So that's why you want to create like that. That's why it's important to recognize the value of the differences between a team at work and a family, because a team at work can be designed in a better way to make it so that more of the work has distributed more equitably and people can be great at what they do, which is not a thing that a lot of people feel in the context of their role inside their family. I agree with everything you just said, Jason. I would add the great thing about a family is that it's all intrinsic. Intrinsically, I mean there may be some, I don't know, there may be some extrinsic, but for most families it's intrinsic motivation. You do things for each other because you love each other and that's good. And so, in terms of wanting to get to intrinsic motivation, I applaud that. But the other thing about a family is you don't get paid for any of that, and you're getting paid at work. So and furthermore, the other thing about family is it's quitting a family is really, really, really a big deal and quitting a job should not be that big of a deal. And I don't want to say you can't quit your family, because people can and do, and sometimes as necessary, but as by and large, hopefully you don't have to quit your family and hopefully you stick with it in a way that would be unreasonable to expect of your job. And so I think that to me like one of the great things about work is that, as you say, Jason, the boundaries are more clear there and the roles are clear and if it gets bad you can leave without feeling terrible about it. Hopefully. So you do not want to confuse the other thing I would say is read acceptance, this memoir acceptance. It is so beautiful and she writes a lot about there's a chapter on why you're why your work can't be your family. Yeah, well, I think it seems especially relevant now. So just to touch briefly on engagement, gallop notes of the proportion of employees who are not engaged at work. It's actually the highest in a decade, about half of the U s workforce, and in fact eight consider themselves actively disengaged. These are people who quote, tend to have most of their workplace needs unmet and spread their dissatisfaction, and a lot of that is related to what we were just talking about. Clarity of expectations, people not feeling like they have opportunities to learn and grow, they don't feel cared about or connected to the organization's mission or purpose, and so Jason, when when you look at some of the data from gallip will put it in the show notes. But what does this data suggest for managers of managers, who were really focusing on for this podcast? Well, first of all, I think it's really easy to see. Well, half of employees aren't engaged. So, like, can I really even use this information that I'm getting back from my engagement? The engagements so bad, like, is this even really a signal anymore? And to them I would say relative engagement is still really valuable. Even if you're in an industry that is declining, for example, that's going to drive engagement down. So let's pretend that the average was...

...much higher and you're in an industry that's declining in your area. That often drives engagement down because people feel like career prospects aren't great and things like that. There's not a lot of opportunity for growth. It's still valuable to look at relative engagement, like the engagement of one of the team the people reporting to one manager, versus the engagement of people reporting to another manager. That's still a valuable signal. Again, it's the smoke alarms, something lighter, but it is still really valuable to look at that and that's why I found it so useful to make sure that the tools that I selected when I was a larger organization allowed me to differentiate between managers, for example, like the engagement square on one team versus another. And the other thing that I will say is that it's really important to treat negative deviations in engagement seriously, because the point about the sort of contagion of bad relationships with a manager, like how that affects those individual team members is one thing, but how they talk about it to their to like other people in your company, it's like it's going to cause a problem and maybe you get in there and when you realize is like after you do some some skip levels speak to the power meetings, like you realize, oh, they just had a really tough quarter, they didn't need expectations. Something went wrong. Great proof. So you can wipe the spread out sweat off your brow that are collecting there and say, okay, we're gonna keep pay attention to this, but we'll revisit it next quarter. But often what will happen is you will find very clear, specific things that that manager needs to do differently in order to help his team feel or her team feel more engaged. And that's a gift, because my experience with running skip level meetings is that the feedback is often very clear and very actionable, like there's literally stuff that person can start doing tomorrow that's going to make a difference in how people perceived, that, not even just perceived, but experience their leadership. Can I weigh a purple flag? Yes, their team. I think often when I am saying is and then I say his or her what the it is better to I prefer now to say there. My daughter has taught me this, because not every there's plenty of non binary managers out there and also non binary managers and managers. Thank you. They're welcome. Thank you and Kim. For folks that are just hearing about the purple flag for the first time, that is a biased disruptor. You can read more about that and just work. All right. Well, we're going to get into our tips in just a moment. So, Kim, you have many turns of phrase that one learns to love, and one of them was about being a ship umbrella for your team. Now the issue is if what's trickling down from the top is toxic, if you're the manager of a manager who is not doing their job well, you don't really want to be a ship umbrella in that case. You don't want to be protecting the poorly performing manager who's reporting to you. Team has a boss that's a jerk and this us that to jerk reports to you. How do you feel? How do you get the umbrella? Your job in that situation is to hold that manager accountable. Who Protected me? Okay, now I'm tracking. Sorry it took your tracking. It took me a minute. Yes, you're correct. Your job as a manager of managers is to hold the managers who work for you accountable for being good bosses. And you want to hold them accountable, but also you want to give them the coaching that they need to become better, to get better as bosses, and so the point of speak truth to power meeting is to get more information about what you can do to help the managers who work for you not either be assholes or be perceived as assholes. And if a person is not making changes you, you need to hold accountable. Yeah, I think the reason why this came to mind is that I have...

...worked with other managers of managers who get confused about the ship umbrella metaphor and they don't understand that the reason that's important is you're trying to shield your team, in this case a team of managers, from the unfair influence of things that are out of their control. You're not trying to shield them from the fair consequences of things that are in their control. And it can feel sometimes like the team because, I mean, we did this earlier, right. We were like, oh, it's so hard to be a manager. You sort of relate to them, you're like this is a really difficult situation. It can be easy to kind of like take on that protective stance even when it is actually very like they're experiencing the consequences of actions that were under their control and you need to hold them accountable for those. Yeah, I think the reason amy that I wasn't tracking your question is that I'm such a visual person. I'm thinking of an umbrella, and when you're a ship umbrella, you're shielding your team from stuff that's coming from sky, from above you, right, and so the idea of ship coming from under you. The last thing you want to do is hold your umbrella up and let the ship pile up underneath it. You know what I'm saying? Like that's why I was having a hard time tracking your question. I'm like, but the ship doesn't come from underneath you. But of course the ship actually can come from underneath you, and it's your job to be the ship sweeper for your managers. Managers. Unfortunately, Kim, that umbrella has hierarchy and levels implicit and I know, I know, that has gravity. Gravity is involved. So look, a hierarchy is a thing, as is gravity, and it's a useful thing as long as you remember that your job is a boss and that you teach the managers who work for you that their job is to be a boss and it is a job for which you have get held accountable. It's not a value judgment on who you are as a person. Well, now it's time for our radical candor checklist tips you can use to start putting radical candor into practice. Tip Number One. Get curious about why some people on your team are disengaged. When you look at your engagement metrics, don't assume that all of the managers who have teammates who are engaged or doing the right thing. Don't assume that all of the managers who have disengaged teams are doing the wrong thing. Take time to have these speak truth to power meetings and get curious about what's going on in these teams. So what is the speak truth to power meeting? This is an excellent segue to tip number two. Number two our manager of members. It's often difficult to have visibility to everything that is going on among the team members that each of your managers is managing. So speak truth to our meetings, which Kim described in this episode, are really helpful way to scale your ability to understand what might be working for a team and what might not be working for a team, and to use that information to help your managers grow and get better. Tip Number three, remember, relationships don't scale, but culture does. This means that, well, you can't have a close relationship with every person who reports to the people who report to you. Practicing radical candor with the people you do manage can impact how they interact with the people they manage, and so on and so forth. Without a culture of trust, which has been identified as the most important factor in determining engagement, you're not going to be able to build these critical relationships. Tip Number Four. Have a little group therapy meeting with your team about how they are a projection screen for everyone's unresolved authority issues. Very often managers are perceived as obnoxiously aggressive or as assholes, even though they're not really...

...assholes. And fundamentally and very often, when a team perceives their boss as a jerk, they respond with manipulative insincerity, and I'm going to end this by saying manipulative insincerity is another form of quiet quitting. So help your managers learn how to prove to their teams that they are radically candid and not obnoxiously aggressive. All right, for more tips, radical candor dot com slash resources. You can download our learning guides for practicing radical candor. To see the show notes for this episode, head to radical candor dot com slash podcast. If you like what you hear, go ahead rate and review us on Apple podcasts. New Book. Forget to order the latest hardcover copy of my second book. It's actually my sixth book, but my second published book. Just work how to root out bias, prejudice US and bolling to create a kick ass culture of inclusivity available everywhere. Books result. Looking for radical candor swage? GO TO RADICAL CANDOR DOT COM. Click the shop link for Coffee Mug, sweatshirts, stickers and more by for now. Thanks for joining us. Our podcast features radical candor co founders Kim Scott and Jason Rosoff. Is produced by our director of content, Brandy Neal, and hosted by me, Amy Sandler. Music is by cliff Goldmacker. Go ahead and follow us on twitter at candor and find US online at radical candor dot com.

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