Pulse June 2017 - Page 29

If you want to be a boss because you want “power and control” you also shouldn’t be a boss. Power and control work well in a baboon troop or a totalitarian regime, but none of us want to work in those kinds of environments. In general, though, anyone with the right motivation to be a boss—because they care about the work and the people they are working with—can learn to be a great boss. P: What did you learn about being a boss from your time in Silicon Valley and how can that be applied to another industry? S: I don’t think that the core responsibilities of a boss—build good relationships with each employee so that you can create a culture of feedback, build a cohesive team, and achieve results collaboratively—vary from industry to industry. The thing that is similar in Silicon Valley [to the spa industry] is that the war for talent is intense. People don’t have to pay the incompetence tax. People join companies but leave managers. Companies literally cannot afford to have bad bosses, so there should be a lot of focus on what makes a good boss versus a bad boss. P: Can your advice be used by both female and male bosses? S: My advice can be used equally by men and women. There’s a chapter on gender and radical candor. The short version is this: male bosses tend to be more ruinously empathetic with female employees because they’ve been taught since they were little boys to pull their punches with women. If you’re a woman working for a man, I suggest that you not only solicit feedback, work extra hard to get it. It may sting a little bit in the short term, but it’s good for you! On the flip side, female bosses tend to get unjustly accused of obnoxious aggression when they are in fact being radically candid. When gender bias causes a distortion in the way that people hear you, this is a special case to the “feedback gets measured at the listener’s ear” rule. If you’re getting unfairly accused of being “abrasive” or “bossy,” the key is not to back off your willingness to challenge directly. That’s moving the wrong way. Instead, take a moment to share you care personally. But don’t overdo it. You don’t have to bake cupcakes for the whole office, do the office housework, or as one desperate woman put it to me, “breast feed the whole office!” Don’t accept ridiculous demands that get put on you because you are a woma n. n Scott’s Four Quadrants of Giving Employee Feedback According to Scott, there are two dimensions to good guidance: care personally and challenge directly. When you do both at the same time, it’s radical candor. When coaching CEO clients, Scott uses this quadrant model as a framework to help them be more conscious of what kind of guidance they are getting, giving and encour- aging. Here’s a breakdown of the model: l l l l OBNOXIOUS AGGRESSION: When you challenge directly but fail to show you care personally, that is Obnoxious Aggression. When you’re rude (and we all are from time to time), you’ve made the Obnoxious Aggression mistake. It doesn’t mean that you are obnoxiously aggressive. Don’t use this term as a label to judge yourself or another person—just use it to guide a conversation to a better place. RUINOUS EMPATHY: When you show you care personally but you fail to challenge directly, that is Ruinous Empathy. Generally, when you make this mistake it’s because you’re just trying to be “nice.” But when you fail to tell somebody about a mistake they are making because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, they’ll continue to make that mistake and ultimately underperform or even get fired for it. It’s not so nice after all. It’s deeply unkind, and unproductive. MANIPULATIVE INSINCERITY: When you fail on both dimensions—when you neither show you care nor challenge directly—you’ve made the Manipulative Insincerity mistake. This is when passive aggressive or even political behavior creeps in. Those are strong words, but they’re also nearly universal mistakes at work. RADICAL CANDOR: This is the sweet spot. You show you care personally, but you challenge directly, resulting in guidance and interactions that benefit all parties. You’re not being mean, you’re being clear. June 2017 ■ PULSE 27