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Radical Candor
Radical Candor

Episode 74 · 1 month ago

Radical Candor S4. Ep. 15: What Do Managers (of Small Teams) Do Anyways?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What do bosses do anyways? On this episode of the Radical Candor podcast, we're starting a new series to answer that question! Is it a manager’s job to go to meetings? Send emails? Tell people what to do? Are they supposed to work alongside their teams and carry part of the workload, or dream up strategies and expect other people to implement them? 

At the end of the day, a boss’s job is to guide a team to achieve results. However, depending on the size of your team, that process could look very different. Today we’re going to talk about managers of small teams and we’re going to define “small” as a team of 10 people or less. Listen to learn three key things every manager of small teams needs to know.

Radical Candor Podcast Episode At a Glance

In order to be successful, managers are responsible for guidance, team building and getting results.

Managers listening to this podcast and thinking, “I know I should do these things, but I don’t know how,” you’re not alone. A common issue faced by managers is that they are very likely to have been, until recently, an individual contributor who was doing excellent work. Work so good that it earned them a “promotion” to a management role.

Unfortunately, many companies fail to recognize that management is a job with discrete skills that need to be learned.  In many companies, managers receive little-to-no training, and this has very real consequences.

A  2018 study by digital services firm West Monroe Partners found that 41% of small-team managers received no training before becoming managers and 42% mimicked the style of a previous manager in lieu of any training or coaching.

And if they’re mimicking bad-boss behavior because they don’t have any other models, that’s going to be a problem for the entire team.

So now you’ve got someone with no training managing a team — but the issues don’t stop there. These managers are also doing a lot of administrative tasks.

“In addition to the lack of training, managers report they’re too busy with administrative tasks to adequately oversee their team: 36% report spending three to four hours per day on administrative work. Nearly half (44%) frequently feel overwhelmed at work.”

The situation can be so unpleasant that a UK-based survey found that managers who haven’t received any management training were 36% more likely to leave their jobs in 2022 than managers who have been trained.

This isn’t just a problem for managers; it affects the entire team. The Gallup 2022 State of the Workplace report found: “Managers need to be better listeners, coaches and collaborators."

People with managers who embody these skills are noted as thriving at work. "95% of people who are thriving at work report being treated with respect all day and 87% report smiling and laughing a lot."

Listen to the full episode to get all the tips and resources!

Radical Candor Podcast Checklist

  1. Think about how you’re spending your time and make sure you’re focusing on managing your team. Take the time to get to know each person on your team and regularly show appreciation and support for your team’s work.
  2. If you’re an individual contributor “promoted” to management, assess where you are — take a step to start building competence. Consider seeking out a mentor or coach to help you develop your management skills and read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, etc.
  3. Admit you have accountability without control. Let go of control and remember that it's part of your job to be held accountable and also hold others accountable.
  4. Start by soliciting feedback. You need to find out what other people think needs to happen and what you are doing both right and wrong. 

Radical Candor Podcast Resources

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Radical Candor Podcast. I'm Kim Scott, co founder of Radical Candor and author of Radical Candor and just work, thank justice, not working all the time, and we're already off script. Jason, who are you? I'm Jason rose Off, CEO and co founder of Radical Candor, and I'm Ami Sandler, your host for the Radical Candor Podcast. Today we're starting a new series of episodes seeking to answer the perennial question what do bosses and managers do? Anyway? And Kim, before we even get started, is it anyway? Anyways? Anyhow? Anyway, It's what I say, But there's no absolute right answer to that question. All right, Well, with that as a framing, some of the questions that we have are is it a manager's job to just go to meetings, to send emails to tell people what to do? No, I'm still reading, keep going, but there are question Okay, good? Are they supposed to work alongside their teams and carry part of the workload or drops or dream of strategies and expect other people to implement them? Okay, maybe we should just do like a game show where we have Kim Scott to saying yes, and no, I love this. I'm sure to get a lot of fans. Kim. Just to cut to the chase, you wrote a book it's called Radical Candor, and in that book you say a boss's job is to guide a team to achieve results. Yes, yes, and also to get guidance. One of the hard things about being a writer. And then your book is out there is you kind of wish you could keep editing at least I do. You're not the only guider. You want to create a ulter of guidance. You want to build a team in which everyone is taking a step in the direction of their dreams, and in that swirl you achieve results. I would say, now it's less linear. When you're write. You can make things seem so certain, but really they're not so certain. Jason, how do you feel about guidance, team building and results as a swirl. I think it's a great swirl. I also think that I would prefer to read a book that attempts in some way to linearize things, even if it nods at the fact that things are more complicated than a book that it's just swirls with no linearization at all. That's the beauty of a podcast. You're allowed to swirl, you can swirl. Yeah, I am biased towards swirling, which is why I still haven't written the book. So can I do learn a lot from you and your linear focus. One of the things that we want to talk about on today's podcast is that you know, depending on the size of your team, the swirling process can look very different. And so today we're going to talk about managers of small teams, and for the sake of getting everyone on the same page, we're defining small as a team of ten people or less. Does that feel about right, Kim Jason ten, Yeah, maybe forty or less. I think the real change happens at around forty people, is my sense, But Brandy says, no, we should keep it at ten people or less. Ye, I'm Brandy. I will say, having grown in the relative recent past, having grown a company from four people to a few hundred, there were several inflection points, and it was about it was between ten and twenty people that you stopped being able to know what everyone else was doing. And that's like the first major inflection point. Twenty people is just too many people to know exactly what everybody else is doing. But up to ten maybe up to fifteen you can actually know literally know what everyone else is doing. Yeah, and Andy has research that says...

...it's ten people are less, So my anecdote of forty or lessons. But I'm curious, Kim, like, we'll go with ten. But what is it about forty for you that stands out? Isn't there's some number in sociology, like a band of forty people can get along without any processes, or they can just like figure stuff out as they go along. But after forty, that kind of collaboration breaks down. My hunches. The reason ten is a magic number is I don't think one leader can have more than ten direct reports effectively, and in fact, I think it's actually better at five, but ten still can work. And so after ten people you start to have quote unquote layers of management. So hierarchy becomes a thing after ten people. I would I would guess, yes, I agree with that completely. I think that's exactly the other thing I was going to mention. This is like a single manager can't pay attention to all the elements of the swirl, right, they can't giving and receiving guidance to all of those people. It's just impractical they also can't be helping each one of them take a step in the direction of their dreams. That's also becomes impractical. So ten ten feels like an upper bound for that. I think if part of a manager's job is to have a relationship with each person on their team, I think Plato would say, or Socrates are one of those Greeks, would say, and then three, but I'm going to give I'm gonna say five. You can have five relationships, five good ones, you're canna have ten okay ones, and after that you're not You're no longer having relationships alright, well, somewhere between three and ten and five people or maybe not getting to go in the direction of their dreams. If they're the tail end of ten can work. It can still work. So we're talking about guidance, team building, and results as really the job of a manager. And one of the things I can imagine people listening to this podcast who are managers saying, you know, I know I should be doing these things. I don't know how So a common issue faced by managers is that they're very likely to have been until recently an individual contributor who was doing excellent work and it was work that was so good they got a promotion to a management role. And unfortunately, many companies fail to recognize that management is a job with discreete skills. And Jason, I think you spoke about this on a recent podcast, that it's discreete skills that need to be learned, and so in many companies managers receive little to no training and this has real consequences. So, first of all, before I get into some of the data camera, Jason, this idea that the predicament of this individual contributor who gets rewarded for doing their work as an individual contributor now lands as a manager. Does that bring up any stories from your experience? Many, many, many problems. I think for some reason, we tell to treat management as like almost an extracurricular activity. So you spend years getting a credential as a lawyer or as a engineer, or learning accounting skills, or learning sales skills, or we developed these different areas of expertise, and then all of a sudden, we are good at it and we get promoted to being a manager. Very often, you get him, didn't we go to business school together and we still we still didn't. I wish you had written the book a little sooner, sure were to help? Yes, well, it was interesting, so I was. I was talking to a professor from our alma mater recently and I said, you know, when I was at business school, I literally got zero training on managing people. There was one class that was taught. It was called Power and Influence, and I found the name of the class so off putting that I didn't take it.

So there really were not classes. Now, I think at Stanford Business School there's a class called Touchy Feely, which kind of tells you everything you need to know about how they feel about managing people. Managing people is really hard, and it is a skill, and it's a skill that a lot of people feel you can only learn it by doing it, and I think there's some truth to that, But I also think you can learn faster if you also are taught what you're supposed to be doing before you jump into it, and then you continue to get supportive training as you get into it. It's interesting. I was working with a team of people teaching Radical Candor, and when we taught the class to people before they became managers, they had very little idea what we were talking about. Or why it mattered. But if you taught the class to people a few months after they had become managers, then they knew, oh, now I know why this is Jason and Amy, you and I talked about this all the time. I don't know exactly where the right intervention points are, but I would like to think there's some stuff we could tell people before they become a manager, because so often they get thrown into the deep end. They just sort of are told, congratulations, you're a manager now, and they're only examples for what it means to be a manager are horrible examples. When I first became a manager, I was really thrown into the deep end. I was CEO of a company and I had this moment where I was like, you hate the man, you are the man, and you're a woman. It was very complicated moments, and so I think a lot of people have that feeling. Yeah, I never had a boss I liked. Am I going to become that person who I hate by when I become a boss? Exactly? And in fact, Kim, there was a two thou eighteen study by digital services firm West Monroe Partners. Will put it in the show note and small team managers received no training before becoming managers and mimicked the style of a previous manager, you know, instead of any training or coaching. And just like you're saying, if they've had a bad boss, they're mimicking kind of bad boss behavior. They don't have any other models and and that's a real problem for the entire team. So you've got someone that doesn't have any training managing a team. But there's this other issue, which is that, especially on small teams, managers are also doing these very same managers who don't have the training, they're also having to do a lot of administrative tasks. And that same study mentions that you know, not only is there a lack of training, but managers, they surveyed, report they're too busy with these administrative tasks to adequately oversee their team. So thirty six percent of folks reported spending three to four hours a day on this administrative work, and nearly half a frequently feel overwhelmed at work. And so if you're kind of nodding along here, if you're one of those folks that feels super busy with administrative work, don't have a lot of training, the real result is there was another study out of the UK finding that managers who hadn't gotten any management training there were thirty six percent more likely to leave their jobs then managers who have been trained. And unfortunately, this isn't just affecting the folks who are leaving, this is affecting their teams. There was a you know, from Gallop the State of the Workplace found that we're really talking about is wanting managers to be better listeners, coaches and collaborators. I'm just going to move on in a second, but i just don't want to end on a total downer that managers who do have these skills, they're actually thriving. Gallup shared that people who are thriving at work the report being treated with respect, act all day, Brandy, is this accurate?...

Reports smiling and laughing a lot? Those are driving those Okay, okay, so we're looking for some few giggles, a few smiles as well. Sometimes there's dark humor, which times of us who are not driving survive. That's experiences. That's right. So Kim, you shared how we went to business school. We didn't get training. We didn't go to business school. We just don't have training. We don't have time. If somebody hasn't read the book Radical Candor if they haven't gone to our workshops. Jason, let me ask you this first, like, what do you think a manager who's listening to this, who hasn't gotten any training, what can they do to get out of this rut where they're doing all these administrative tasks. They don't even kind of know where to start, Like where was someone like that started right to things? One are the administrative tasks, and two is lack of training. Those are two in my mind, those are two very different problems. Absolutely, absolutely let's start with lack of training and then we'll talk about busting the bureaucracy in the paperwork. And I think the thing that I wish I had done sooner earlier in my career was really focus more on soliciting feedback, on understanding what other people think needs to happen, and also what other people think of what I'm doing. Especially early in your career, there's a part of you that has to sort of dampen the noise down and move forward with confidence, maybe with more confidence even than you feel. But I think when you become a manager, you really need to almost turn that on its head and to be able to solicit the criticism and to really listen to it. Doesn't mean you have to agree with all of it, but you have to really be open to it, and you have to encourage it because when you become a manager, people start to project. We've already talked about this a bunch, but people really start to project their feelings about authority on you. And even though you may not be intimidating, your position is intimidating. Even though you may be open, your position shuts people down. And so you really need to learn how to lay the power that you just got down and to remember to have real relationships with people on your team. And that's no joke. Doesn't take infinite amounts of time, but it does take time, and that's the time of management. It shouldn't be a lot of paperwork. It should be a series of conversations that you have with each person reporting to each week. I'm going to bring back our three themes from earlier, right, So, if a manager, their job is to give and receive guidance, to build a team that where the people on the team are taking a step in the direction their dreams, and to collaborate and help their team collaborate to achieve results. You may already feel more confident in one of those areas than another. And so this is one of the things when I'm coaching someone who's new to management, one of the things that happens the feeling of overwhelmed can be huge. And so one of the first things I do for people as I was like, Okay, let's take an inventory and whether that's like a three sixty or getting other people's input or they're reflecting on for themselves, like of these things like do you have some skills already? And often people who are promoting into management are pretty good at getting results. The problem is the way they've gotten results is through their own labor, and so what they need to do is think about how to extend the way they think about getting results beyond the sort of like how do I get results on my own and now how do I help my team collectively achieve results. The first thing is like finding the place where you can take a smaller step and start building some feeling of competence. A really good example of this is a person I was working with was a really really good operational leader. They had led many...

...many complex projects and things like that in the past with no direct management responsibility. They're great at keeping a schedule. They were really really good at making sure that the result that they got the end of the project was a high quality. But the difference was that they were often directly contributing to the work, and now they had to take a small step back from that. And so a lot of the practice that we did together was how can you make sure that you're pushing decisions that are happening and work that's happening down to the experts on your team. And we've just done a series of podcasts that's talk all about how to actually work with the team to make decisions. And so I think starting with something like that, like going through our Getting Ship Done podcast series, would be a great way to start thinking about what small steps can I take in order to get better results. And there are lots of other sources like that out there. If you have not listened to that series, you can start there. But there are other people who have written quite eloquently about how to work with a team to get stuff done, as well as guidance and team building. Kim, you're sharing makes me want to ask a question, and Jason, I'll start with you, which is that for a small team, which we're focusing on today, what advice do you have for someone who was at a level with peers who are probably friends, right, and a small team in that camaraderie, and now you are a new manager managing someone who was your peer, maybe they even wanted the job that you got, And so not only do you not really know what you're doing, you also are having to navigate these interpersonal challenges of going from peer friend quote equal even though we don't like hierarchy, to now you're having to manage this person. And by the way, this can happen on large teams of course, to this absolutely happens all the time. I'm just curious from a small person active if there's anything different to call out. Well, I just want to say that I think building a little bit I want, Kim said, answers your question from my perspective, which is that it's important to approach the role of manager, especially if you have existing relationships with people with humility, with real humility. And I think what's so brilliant about Kim's advice of like start by soliciting feedback is like that's true whether you're in a seasoned manager you have management experience, but you're taking on the responsibility for a new team, or if you're new to management. But it's especially helpful if you're new to the role of management to admit that you're new to the role of management, to actually say, like, I am learning in this job, and the humility can come in the form of it is my goal to be as good of a manager for you and for this team as I possibly can, and I know that I don't know exactly how to do that. So part of what I'm going to do other beyond sort of like edguc myself, is to ask you are what can I be doing differently in order to help you thrive in your role and make me more effective as a leader for the team. More broadly, starting from that place makes a huge difference because one of the other dynamics that often happens when you get sort of promoted into management is that you're managing people who may have more experience than you in the technical role that you just came from. I think that, in addition to what you said, just asking for help like I need your help, I still need your help is one of the most important things you can do. I mean things that I've observed where I've been in the situation where someone became my manager who maybe I kind of wanted the job or whatever. Two things that were said that really meant a lot to me. One of these people said to me, I need a friend. I need a friend, I need our relationship not to be hurt by this. And of course that may not be effective for everyone, but that was exactly the right thing to say to me.

And another time, and then I have used the same line myself. I've said, in a slightly different world, you'd be the boss and I'd be working for you, and that would be cool with me. But just call out the awkwardness of the situation, and I think also acknowledge to yourself and to that other person that it is an awkward situation. Like in the military, they will not allow this to happen. It's a big that's a big organization, at least in this country, and so they'll move you to an a whole other team where you don't know anyone, where you weren't peers with people, and so that's kind of an acknowledgement of how hard this is. Now in a small team that's not a luxury that one has of just moving someone to a whole other organization. Yeah, I think all of those tips are really helpful, the humility and also the naming it. You know, there's a real power in naming the awkwardness. Just to speak about radical candor. We definitely fall into this small team category, and I'm curious we think about it might seem easier to manage a small team than a large one. It's not always the case, especially if people feel like they're really being stretched too thin. There's things like recognition, coaching, communication, and even taking time off that can kind of be left behind on small teams so that we can meet objectives. Because one of the things the research shows, and I think we can speak to a radical candor, each person is likely responsible for more than one role, and the manager is often responsible for part of the workload and these administrative tasks. I'm not sure if the time is to get into the administrative tasks, but we know we want to cover it. So the managers responsible for part of the workload, you know, maybe some of those individual contributor items on a smaller team as well as managing the team, and this can be really hard and often leads to burn out. So Jason, as the CEO of Radical Candor and current boss of a small team, what do you see as the biggest challenges vis a vis small team management, both now and anything coming back from other rules? Hm. It really depends on the nature of the work that the small team is doing. But as a manager, I think one of the most challenging parts is figuring out where your time is best spent. And what I'll say is that it took a long time for me to develop the instinct that can refer to earlier of like spending time building relationships and really seeing that as valuable because in a small team there's a lot of work to be done. In fact, you probably have a whole list of things that you wish were happening are but are not yet happening, which we lovingly refer to as our proactive poor Bearance Directive cobearance list. But it can be really tempting, especially because management is hard. Like the people side of things is, the skills require real practice in order to feel confident in using them. It can be very tempting to go and pick a technical task where you know you're competent and like focus your energy those and then before too long you realize I'm spending all of my time on like technical administrative things and very little time on actual management. I'm making sure that I'm building relationships with people, that people have clear goals, that they know what they're supposed to be doing. Like all of that stuff, it becomes very easy for it to slip to the wayside. So the first thing that I think of when I think of small team challenges is actually sort of reorienting yourself to how you should spend your time. And from my perspective as the leader of a small team, I'm thinking like forty percent of my time is on like management or leadership responsibilities, ten percent of my time on administrative responsibilities, and of my time on my work, the things that I am uniquely contributing to the team. So it's like between the general pool of work. And I think that that is if this was early on and I had to build a team from scratch like I did at con Academy, I actually do...

...you think that and quickly? So, like let's say the team is five people today, is going to be ten people by the end of the year. That's too little time on fifty percent of your time is actually too little, because what happened is I would then expand now include recruiting, So I'm gonna be spending twenty percent of my time making sure that we're getting great candidates and interviewing people effectively, and that we have a writing job descriptions and all the other things that we need to do in order to make sure of the team is growing. But I think most people think, as Kim said earlier in the podcast, that management is somehow an extracurricular activity and it fits in like it doesn't even fit. It is all of your work and administrative tests, and then it's somehow like an extra ten percent of your time it's spent on management. Yeah, it's so tempting to feel like you're one on ones or calendar clutter, and you're one on one. Meetings that you have with each of your direct reports are the most important meetings that you have every week, and you need to treat that it's more important than your meeting with your board of direct actors, if you have more and more important than your meeting with your investors. If you have those, if you're unlucky enough to have those, I want to pause on that, because that is I think a real mindset shift for people. For someone's like, yeah, but they're not the ones writing the check and that I have to report to, etcetera. So can you explain in your inimitable style, like why is this the most important meeting? Well, I mean it's like saying, if money is like gasoline, what difference does it make if you have gasoline if you don't have a car. Like your people are the reason why you need the money, because they're building the thing and you need to pay them to build the thing. So I think that the most important meetings you have each week are your one on one meetings with each of your direct reports. And the purpose really, I mean we can talk about some details of those meetings, but fundamentally the purpose of those one on one meetings is to build a relation and ship. I mean, my husband and I have date night and that's a really important Actually we haven't done it in a world it's a good reminder, but COVID has made it harder to go out to restaurants. But that time that we have every week, it's not a long time. It's an hour a week, like well, maybe an hour and a half but we just go to dinner. And it's important because there's all this other stuff. We're collaborating on all these other things, and it's important. So that time is to your relationship with your direct reports. But don't date your direct reports, please. But this is dangerous, this literally, but that time and building I'll never forget. And I think I've told the story before, but it bears repeating. There was this time when I was starting to build up Juice, this software company, and I had to make an important pricing decision. I walked in. I had blocked like two hours in morning to make this pricing decision. And I walked in and one of the guys on the team ran up to me. He had a major health issue and I had to address it or talked to I didn't have to, but I wanted to talk to him. He was upset, and I finished talking to him. And then I walked by someone else who had a child in the intensive care unit, and I wanted to talk to him and encourage him to either go to the hospital or go home and sleep. And then I walked by a third person whose daughter had just won some major math prize. And so now I'm going from like sort of sympathy to celebration. And by the time I got to my desk, I was wrong out a a lot of time, you know, one of my two hours was gone and too. I was just emotionally exhausted and I didn't feel like I had the capacity to make the pricing decision. And I called my coach and I said, what am I some kind of emotional babysitter, armchair psychologist or something. And she said, of me,...

Kim, this is called management, and it is your job, and those words like, that's what I mean when I talk about the importance of building relationship, having these conversations, caring about what's going on with people is really important. But it's tempting. I remember I had another boss at one point who something was going on for someone and he kind of rolled his eyes and he said, Hey, everybody has a story, and you know what, it's your job to listen to those stories. That is part of your job and a really important part of your job, and one that you should give real time to. Kim as you share that reflection in that story, and yes, it does, I think it does bear repeating. There's two things that are coming to mind for me. One is this idea of administrative tasks, and Jason's percentages really illuminated this for me is which is, maybe there's a reason why managers are spending all this time on their administrative tasks. Not so much that they have to they have to, but there's almost some human psychological comfort in ticking off the box of I did the checklist, I did the task. Who look at me really accomplished versus oh, I got to go talk to the person whose child is in the emergency room, and now this person has this and it's just gonna drain me. And so there's a sense of the short term win of the to do list rather than the sort of why am I quote wasting my time on building this relationship? Yeah, I don't even necessarily think it has to go all the way to the place where someone thinks they're wasting time building the relationship. I think people are just sort of paralyzed. They don't know exactly what to do. And there's some combination of like social conditioning and like work that makes people think that somehow the human stuff is like not meant to be here. It's most like the human stuff stays outside and like what's inside is the work stuff, and in that world it can feel like Kim's question, I think a lot of managers, especially new managers, asked themselves, which just like is this wasted time? Like if I'm listening to this person's problem and trying to help them resolve this is like, is that not my job? Because it seems like it happens a lot. You know what I'm saying, It seems like, if not clear, but actually my job. And what we're saying, hopefully in a way that feels supportive and the similar to what Kim's coaches has said to her, is like, no, it is your job. It is your job. That there's no clean way, and even if there were a clean way, I'm not sure that we would want to use it. To separate the sort of how the human condition affects individual people on your team from the job of management, because their condition affects their ability to be productive, it affects their ability to grow in their role, it affects the long term the likelihood that they're going to stay with your company over the long term, like has a direct impact, and so part of it, I do think that there's comfort in retreating to the familiar and sort of the things that are easy to check off the list. I think that that part is true. I don't think that people necessarily discount the value of those relationships, but I don't think they feel confident spending their time there. And I think that has to do a lot with like the fact that, as we've said, many companies don't show those sort of like respect for the amount of time and effort management is going to take by failing to train people when they are when they do take on management roles, and by over assigning work to people who are managers and basically expecting them to continue to do a full time individual contributors worth of work and manage the team, which is just it's not possible to do both of those things. I think also on the administrative tasks, Amy, I have a theory. I have a well, it's not a theory. I have a hypothesis which I may disagree with by the time I'm finished explaining it. But I think that the volume of administrative tasks tends to increase with the size of the company. I think adm there tend to be on a small company, these you know, under ten certainly relatively few administrative tasks I mean...

...there are some there's a sweet spot where a company gets big enough that the bulk of the administrative tasks are taken on by people who are hired to do like they like those administrative tasks, Like right now, Jason, you have to deal with stuff like payroll, and when we get a phishing attack, you have to deal with that. And a slightly bigger company you could hand those things off to someone else. So there are more administrative tasks for the leader of a small team than for the leader of a team maybe people. But then once the company starts to get bigger, sometimes what happens. Often what happens is the CEO of the company wants more information, and then you get a big HR department and they want to make sure that managers are doing their job, and then the job becomes filling managed. I used to call it management by filling out forms, management by answering surveys. And at one point, I remember at Google, people started to call the performance review cycle perfcrastination because there was a whole month where it was really hard to get your work done because you had to spend all your time writing performance reviews. Some process is necessary as you get bigger, but you want to make sure that you're minimizing the amount of time that people have to spend filling out forms and answering surveys and doing that kind of stuff. In for example, in the second edition of Radical Candor, there's a bonus chapter on performance management systems, and I write a lot about designing them explicitly to take as little time as possible. So very often here's that I'm talking and talking and talking. And here's my hypothesis. I think CEOs who want or leadership teams who want to try to control things too much, create a lot of paperwork and administrative tasks, and that rob's managers of the time that they need to build relationships and to be great managers. So that's the t L d R. I actually saw two things on Twitter Kim yesterday that validate your if not hypothesis theory. Swirl one is on one side of things, the head of Stripe announcing this was previously done, but I just discovered it yesterday that new things that Stripe are almost always started by tiny teams. Any product announcement you've seen, it was probably a team of less than ten people when it launched, and then goes on to say, the classic big company mistake is to throw people at a problem and have them executing for three years before getting any market feedback. So that's one example of the value of small teams. We've got some other in the show notes. But the other thing I thought I would mention, and I say, this is someone who's worked in universe cities and this one got almost three hundred thousand likes yesterday, which is that universities pay staggering salaries to president's chancellors, vps and provos by the dozens, etcetera. And in every administrative office there's a fifty seven year old woman named Peggy with a title like admin associate assistant too, and that's the person who actually runs the university. And then there's a whole cascade of comments of like I am coop Peggy, and of course this person isn't paid nearly enough. And then this person leaves and the whole thing falls apart. And this happens not just in universities but in across industries. So is that kind of validating what your hypothesis is or is that I'm not sure if if that's helpful. I think those are great anecdotes, but and related second cousins of my hypothesis and cousin not My hypothesis is I'll try to be more succinct this time. My hypothesis is that as companies grow, leadership teams start to feel like they need to control things,...

...and rather than relying on managers to build good relationships with their team, they try to manage by requiring filling out a lot of forms, a lot of paperwork. They try to replace relationships with bureaucracy. And I think that's a mistake. Anytime you're spending too much time filling out forms, there's a problem. Here's a specific anecdote. My husband was working at a large company and we had gone to the country, out to the country to have a family vacation on a lake, and he spent the whole damn time working on an escalation for a promotion. And it was like, this should not take that much time, and it definitely shouldn't take the whole weekends. He was one ft out the door by the end of that weekend. Yeah, Kim, I think you're pointing to maybe the pattern maybe more universal than you're giving a credit for it, which is like there or control you try to exert over the work of many people, the more administrative work appears. Yes, I don't think it has to be a lot of people. It doesn't have to be the CEO making this mistake. I think we talked about one tendency of managers to sort of like at the very beginning of the episode, Aby, you're asking that list of questions and Kim kept saying no, And one of the things that you asked her was is it a manager's job to tell people what to do now? And I think that that's the answer is no. But like when a manager feels like it is their job to be some kind of like flow control device that's really like directing exactly what's happening on the team, and maybe even to the level of telling people what to do, that does create a lot of administrative work because people are going to be saying, well, can you write down what exactly it is that I'm supposed to be doing, and then you're going to want a report back to find out did the person do actually what it was I asked them to do. So I do think that there's a relationship between sort of the desire for control and bureaucracy because most people are not going to like choose brutality, you know, like a brutality as the way that they get people to do things. Instead, they're going to create bureaucracy. That's much more acceptable to create some bureaucracy around your desire to control what is going on. And I think that I have seen that affect small teams. Also, you don't doesn't have to be a big team. Yeah, you're right. So part of your job as a manager is to let go of control, build trust with people, and to be held accountable and to hold accountable. Yes, I think that what you just described as the thing that terrifies most people, Like I am accountable, but I have to relinquish control in order to achieve I think, like especially if you've taken the path of successful individual contributor, especially if there's some sort of like technical or underlying skill that you're using as an individual contributor to manager, there's a terror that ensues when you realize, like, oh, I can't just like jump in and fix it, because if I jump in and fix it, it's going to like blow up this relationship that I have with the person who's actually responsible for this thing. Like I need to coach, I need to do something different in order to get the results that I'm looking for. And it's those moments that I think people it's sort of like make or break moments. And I'm saying this as a person who's chosen wrong, like like to do the work, to dive in and do the thing. One of the things that Steve Jobs used to talk about a lot and when I was at Apple is that if you are a leader, you have accountability without control and just accept it. The sooner you accepted, the better off you'll be. And that is very counterintuitive. At business school, I was taught you can't give people accountability without giving them control. But this notion of control is illusory, I believe. And so the sooner you admit as...

...a manager that your job is to have accountability without control, the better off you'll be. So building on this idea of accountability without control, Kim, I would say, and let me know this, do it to just get a resounding no or yes. That the fundamental idea of radical candor is that the way we handle that potential fear of how do I hold myself? How am I held accountable without controls? Through building relationships, through building these kinds of one and oh, I gotta yes, yes, all right, so I'm gonna keep going. So the importance of building relationships small teams, large teams, across the board. But also one of the things we found in the research was around taking the time to acknowledge people's work and showing appreciation. I'm curious how you all feel about the distinction. You know, we have a specific definition of praise, context observation result, next steps, just like we have with criticism, specific and sincere praise. How do you look at praise versus appreciation? Do you distinguish between them? And if so, how like I can really tell you Amy and Jason about the specific things that I really enjoy about working with you, which is different from praise because to me, praises more specific, it's more context observation result, whereas appreciation is, Ah, thank god, Jason that you just dealt with that fishing attack because I couldn't have cooked with bit not like I really when you did this that happens. Do more of that kind of thing. That's praise, whereas like, thank you for being there. I feel like you got everybody's back. I feel more secure in the world knowing that you're in charge of our infrastructure. I think that that's a great example, and I would just done that slightly by saying it's both of them are important. I think being appreciated is something that human beings really need. We don't want to under invest in them. The challenge, I think arises when people are doing a lot of appreciating but not a lot of praising of like specific work. And the issue with that is that it gets in the way of people's professional development, because the praise is the thing that helps to accelerate specific behaviors that are going to make that person more successful in their role, or help them get to the next role or whatever else. And that I think is something that we've seen a systematic sort of under investment. The research is fairly clear that it's the thing that people are really looking for. And I think the reason why this resonates for me when we talk about small teams is that, again, especially if you're a new manager, you probably we're doing well at a job where you're a big part of your job is to solve problems. Was like identify and solve some kind of problem. Discrete jobs sort of like boil down to being able to identify and solve problems quickly. But it's a bad attitude to take towards management, which is like, if your attitude about management, it's like, my job is to identify and solve problems. You're gonna be looking at your team, at the human beings on your team as like potential problems to be solved as opposed to one fully formed human beings, and two it often leads to ignoring the really great things that people are doing or under emphasizing the really great things that people are doing that are going to help them be successful. Like for example, Amy and Brandy, I really appreciate you set as a goal I really want to restart the podcast a couple of years ago, and I was like, it takes a lot of time. I'm writing this book, you know. I think I kind of was discouraging. And then Brandy you jumped in and you said I can do this, Like there's a lot of things I can do to make this happen, and between the two of you, you commenced us to restart it. So listeners out there,...

...if you like the podcast, give Brandy and the Amy some appreciation for making it happen, because it would not have happened, and I appreciate that. I think that's appreciation, not praise. For example, well that's a great example, and I appreciate that. And the only other thing I'll say how sometimes constraints can help you go from you know, sort of the great being the error of the good. Before the pandemic, we were going to do it outsourced and make this really big thing. And then we're like, let's just do it ourselves. So kudos to Brandy for making that happen. All right, So now it's time for our Radical Candor checklist. Tips you can use to start putting radical candor into practice. Tip number one, think about how you're spending your time and make sure you're focused on building great relationships with each of your team members. Take the time to know each person on your team and regularly show appreciation and support for each person's work. Tip number two. If you are an individual contributor promoted to management, first of all, congratulations we've cut your back and assess where you are. Take a small step start building some competence. So you could start by seeking out a mentor or a coach helping you develop your management skills, but also you can access a variety of books, listening to podcasts not just ours of course, watching videos, etcetera. There's a wealth of information out there and it will help you feel less alone and help you get some real practical next steps. Tip number three admit you have accountability without control. Let go of control and remember that it's part of your job to be held accountable and also hold others accountable. Tip number four start by soliciting feedback. You need to find find out what other people think needs to happen and what you are doing both right and wrong. For more tips, you can go to Radical candor dot com slash resources download our learning guides for practicing Radical Candor and that might be a great next step. We've got some learning guides just for managers that could really help you get started. Also, the show notes for this episode go on over to Radical Candor dot com slash podcast. If you like what you hear, go ahead rate review us on Apple Podcasts. Kim, this is that moment we all look forward to every time. How are you going to describe your book? Just work how to root out bias, prejudice, and bullying to create a kick ass culture of inclusivity. Available everywhere, books are sold. Also, we've still got that Radical Candor swag. Go ahead to the website Radical candor dot com. You can click the shop link. Mugs, sweatshirt stickers, and all of them with two bite two's not would not would Frameworks for guiding your conversations to a better place. Yes, bye for now, take care, Thanks for joining us. Our podcast features Radical Candor co founders Kim Scott and Jason rosof is produced by our Director of Content, Brandy Meal 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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