Home / News / Embracing Radical Candor

Embracing Radical Candor

by | Nov 21, 2023

This post for our monthly newsletter, or “Kate’s Korner,” as I have been calling it, is being brought to you from a classroom at Western University, where I have been fortunate enough to attend a leadership program.

The topic of one of the sessions was “Embracing Candor: Managing Performance & Getting the Most From Your People.” This topic felt especially relevant to my work here internally at AIO, but the work you- and I- do every day to support startup founders. It’s not surprising that Kim Scott, author of the book Radical Candor, was born out of her time in Silicon Valley- working at Google, Apple, and her own startup.

Building a startup is hard. It is often a messy and high-stress environment. And it rarely follows a linear pathway. 

The relationships with early hires (or any hires, for that matter!) is central to the culture you build as a founder. As a founder or an investor on the outside looking in, it is your job to create a positive work culture and to: 

✔️ Create a culture of feedback,

✔️ Build a cohesive team, and

✔️ Achieve results collaboratively.

(As an investor or mentor, you can also help to foster positive cultures and great leaders)

Being a startup leader is a balancing act- being a popular leader while creating an action and growth-oriented organization. The term that was used to describe an excellent manager-direct report relationship was “Radical Candor.”

The nature of startups necessitates that we are radically honest and create spaces of trust. We grow the most when we make mistakes.

The best way to build relationships with employees or angel investor colleagues is to improve how we work together.

As mentors, advisors, and leaders, we must learn to listen and give feedback that is both praise and criticism. We must learn to have conversations that are not narrowly focused on the perceived (status quo) next step but rather the step in the correct direction of their dreams.

So, next time you face a difficult conversation or a complex personality, take a position of radical candor – respectful confrontation- to earn trust and create fundamental change.

There were four things that you can do that were identified as creating “radical candor”:

1. Impromptu guidance

2. Don’t let people talk badly about others- be solution-oriented

3. Make it easier to speak truth to power

4. Put your own oxygen mask on first

 This felt like really tactical advice- and so simple! Of course, this all makes sense! It is something you can start to implement straight away.

You can watch Kim Scott’s talk here. Or pick up the book at your local bookstore.

I hope this helps you to embrace radical candor in your next difficult conversation.

    This post came from the October edition of the AIO Newsletter. Sign up below to get your copy delivered directly to you every month and stay up to date on everything happening in the angel investor ecosystem. 

    Your Information


    Interested in becoming an Angel Investor?


    If the idea of joining a community of professionals and industry leaders, investing in innovating start-ups, and providing mentorship to promising entrepreneurs interests you, click here to learn more.


    Learn More