Several of us just finished reading Radical Candor. I can say without reservation that it is one of the best management books I’ve read in a long time. At the same time, I’ve never read a book that pointed out my managerial shortcomings so quickly.
The quick summary of the book is that to be an excellent boss, you need to care personally and challenge directly. The early chapters of the book explain in great detail why both are absolutely critical for building a strong team and getting the results you want. At first, I felt like I was doing okay. I feel like caring personally is one of my strong suits.
Then I got to the part about challenging directly. Suddenly, I was forced to re-evaluate every person I’ve fired in my career. After reading this book, I realized how much I let each person down. By not giving them rapid and direct feedback at the time I saw issues, I robbed my employees of the ability to learn and improve. At the same time, I became resentful as these folks failed to improve. In hindsight, it’s obvious how this caused a vicious cycle.
I haven’t yet started putting this advice into practice, but I will shortly. If you manage people, you owe it to both yourself and your employees to read this book.