Recently my boyfriend and I got in a fight on Thanksgiving over something seemingly small, that became something big. It was very obvious to both of us the next day, that while "we talk," we weren't talking enough, and while sleeping on the couch I realized that what we needed might be what in business terms we call, "Radical Candor." Not talking almost nailed our relationship into a coffin. We both had been holding onto some very serious concerns and fears when it came to the foundations of our relationship. However, it turned out that most of it, if not all of those fears, were unfounded. So the next few days we talked, we listened, we brainstormed, cried and while a lot of it was hard to hear and address, it finally allowed us to air our grievances and frankly, radical candor saved our relationship.
So What is radical candor?
Kim Scott, an executive coach and former Google Inc. executive in online sales and operations, wrote a wildly popular book about radical candor, which she defines as giving criticism while showing genuine concern. Kim says, "'Radical Candor' means “say what you think,” but people rarely do this. Why is it so rare that such a simple thing feels radical?"
So far "Radical Candor" has mainly been utilized as a tactic used by businesses to be more transparent and direct with employees regarding their performance in the office. In effect, being radically candid in the right way is proving to increase work performance, employees feelings of job security and office comradery. Basically, radical candor has proved to greatly improve overall success in countless offices across the U.S.
example of radical candor in use:
Let's say you have a co-worker, his name is Red and you just noticed his fly is down. What would be the radically candid thing for you to do?
In this situation, you would want to be honest with Red to let him know, even though it may embarrass a bit when you let him know. However, you wouldn't want to yell it in front of everyone and embarrass him even further, so the best option would be to: Whisper, "Red, your fly is down!"
but what if we used radical candor outside of the office and in the home?
Could radical candor benefit our relationships with a partner or spouse? Are there things you never tell your partner because you worry about their feelings or what kind of backlash it may cause for you both, but it's making you unhappy? Is a lack of candor at the root of most of our problems?
Studies are proving more and more that resentment is one of the biggest reasons long term partnerships break-up and long term resentment is primarily the result of a lack of proper communication within a relationship. Maybe it's time to take the success of radical candor and try to apply it to ALL aspects of our daily lives?
Try modifying radical candor to work for your home. See if providing regular feedback, both constructive criticism and positive reinforcement, helps your relationship. If nothing else, providing a safe environment to be honest will increase trust and awareness. There should really be no reason that your partner should ultimately feel threatened by this process, as long as we're not keeping score and addressing the issues in a timely and respectful way.
Like any candor, it should open a dialogue that facilitates a two way conversation, and this means that you should also expect your partner to bring their equally candid insights to the table. Who knows, maybe we'll learn a lot about the ways we can modify OUR behavior to improve our partners experience in the relationship?
Honesty is often hard, but when we're honest about the right things, the important things, honesty can be seen and felt as a loving gesture.
If you want to learn more:
Here's a video of Kim Scott further explaining radical candor and how it is implemented!
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