We musn’t fool ourselves into believing that the majority of the world’s workplace managers have bought into the idea that caring deeply about people is essential to leadership success.

Metrics on job satisfaction, employee well-being and, of course, engagement continue to reflect an attitude about leadership that’s anything but caring. Truth be told, many of us still believe caring is equivalent to soft management.  Deep down, we remain convinced that our leadership power is compromised whenever employees feel they have a personal connection with their boss. So, we steer clear of it.

For anyone who privately holds these feelings – or needs more proof that caring deeply for your people won’t massively backfire – this podcast episode is for you.

At some of the top technology firms throughout Silicon Valley, Kim Scott repeatedly proved that relating personally to employees establishes the trust and respect that’s needed for leaders to not just set higher standards of performance, but to consistently meet them. Kim worked as an executive coach at both Twitter and Dropbox and was a training executive at both Google and Apple. She developed the “Managing At Apple” class that became the foundation for her best-selling book, Radical Candor. 

There’s a false dichotomy in the belief that managers have a choice between being a pushover softy, or a fear-inspiring jerk. The best managers know not to trip over these binary choices – they intentionally build great relationships while concurrently driving for results.

As we discuss with Kim, Radical Candor is about caring personally while also challenging directly.  It’s about soliciting criticism to improve one’s own leadership effectiveness and it’s also about providing guidance that helps other people grow. Ultimately, It focuses on praise but doesn’t shy away from criticism.  The goal of managing this way is to help leaders love their work and the people they work with.  Oh, and let’s not forget achieving great things in the process.

Listen in to learn the leadership practices many of the worlds’ top companies now embrace.  In our language, it’s a masterful balance between mind and heart.

As of February, 2023, this is the third most downloaded episode of the podcast series.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.