Love the Race, Ditch the Rats

A former Apple and Google employee now coaches CEOs on how to be cool bosses
Kim Scott, who has worked at Apple and Google, now coaches CEOs on how to retain their employees and their humanity.

As a female tech industry veteran, Kim Scott has encountered plenty of sexism—and bad bosses—in Silicon Valley. Still, she believes more women should pursue careers at Apple, Google and the like. Scott, a "CEO coach," plots an outline for being a "kick-ass boss" while remaining human in her new book, Radical Candor, excerpted below:

Twenty years ago, management skills were neither taught nor rewarded in Silicon Valley, but today its companies are obsessed with it. ... The reason Silicon Valley turned out to be a good place to study the relationships between bosses and the people who report to them is that the war for "talent" here is intense.

So many great companies in the valley are growing and hiring that there's no reason to stay with a company if you are unhappy or think your potential is being wasted. And there's certainly no reason to pay the "asshole tax." If you don't like your boss, you quit, knowing that 10 other companies will be lining up to hire you. So the pressure on companies to get these relationships right is enormous.

Larry Page can't have a real relationship with more than a handful of people any more than you can. But the relationships you have with the handful of people who report directly to you will have an enormous impact on the results your team achieves. The ripple effect will go a long way toward creating—or destroying—a positive culture. Relationships may not scale, but culture does.

What is the proper nature of this relationship? Managerial capitalism is a relatively new phenomenon, so this human bond was not described by ancient philosophers. Even though almost everybody today has a boss at some point, the nature of this connection has gotten short shrift in philosophy, literature, movies, and all the other ways we explore the relationships that govern our lives. I want to fix that, because at the very heart of being a good boss—at Apple, at Google, or anywhere else on earth—is a good relationship. The term I found that best describes this relationship is Radical Candor.

Excerpted from Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott. Copyright 2017 Kim Scott. Reprinted with permission from St. Martin's Press.

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