Tom Kozacinski

Radical Candor

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EVERYONE SAYS THEY LOVE AN HONEST PERSON! Until you’re honest with them, then you’re just an asshole!

As an Eastern European working with Westerners for the majority of my career, I can tell you we have widely different definitions of what honesty is…

When I work with you, I truly care about the product and about my team doing and being their best; otherwise, what’s the point?
That being said – I don’t like beating around the bush or to avoid giving honest feedback to spare someone’s feelings.

My mentees regularly give me great reviews on my approach to mentoring and problem-solving, and I’ve learned that what I’ve been doing my entire life is called “Radical Candour”.

Radical Candour is like being a tough-love coach but in the workplace. You gotta be honest with your coworkers, but you also gotta care about them and want them to be better. It’s like when you’re working on a project with your team, and somebody drops the ball, you gotta call them out on it, but you also gotta help them pick it up and get back in the game.

I’ve witnessed numerous times people smiling, pretending everything is great and talking like it’s all sunshine and rainbows, while measurably the project, culture and/or the company is going to shit. All because people avoid “tough conversations”. That is one of the key things that need to be addressed for the benefit of everyone.

I work hard to check the ego at the door; would love nothing more to see that being true for more people. There are assholes that want to tear you down, but for the most part – we are all here to do great work and be better at what we do and who we are every day. If more people used that as a starting point – that would be awesome.

Stay honest. Stay true. Stay cool!  ????

Tomislav Kozacinski • London based Product Designer