a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: Giving and Getting Feedback — for Bosses and Employees

Sonal Chokshi and Kim Malone Scott

Posted May 25, 2017

There’s feedback and there’s guidance; there’s praise and there’s criticism. All of it is important to do better work, but to develop a better and more productive workplace and relationships — especially given how much time we spend at work! — the way we give and receive feedback really matters. “One of the great things about having a great boss,” observes Kim Scott, “is that a great boss will help you grow as a person. And for a lot of people, a big part of what gives work meaning is personal growth.” That’s another reason why feedback matters.

But doesn’t so much feedback take too much time when you’re busy building things, especially in fast-growing startups where you’re also focused on survival first? Or what if you’re not so into the touchy-feely aspects of soliciting feedback? In fact, what is the best way to give feedback, so that you’re not being obnoxiously aggressive or even worse, “ruinously empathetic”?

You actually don’t have to choose between those two things, argues Scott, because the answer lies somewhere in between, with “radical candor“. Finally, how does this fit with other management wisdom around how much to develop someone — or when to just “call it” and fire them? How does this affect women and under-represented minorities in the workplace? Or how about creatives, millennials, and remote workers? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Sonal Chokshi explores these questions with Scott, who came out of Google, Apple University, and her own startups… and literally wrote the book on Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity.