Beth Nilssen
August 26, 2019 / Great Advice

What kind of boss are you—too kind or too candid?

As a manager, you can be candid with your feedback and still be kind. In fact, it would be unkind to be anything less than candid.

I recently wrote about the Minnesota Twins’ winning streak this year,* and the credit being given to their clubhouse culture, which was described as “relaxed, fun, stress-free.”

“The more relaxed you are in theory, the more comfortable you play,” Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli told a reporter for the Star-Tribune. His goal for players is that they “compete hard, respect each other and be accountable.”

I totally get that—after all, one of Great Clips’ corporate values is “Be kind.” But there are a few key ideas in those brief descriptions that struck home for me: Accountable. Work hard. Respect. This reminded me of a book, Radical Candor—The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss, by Kim Scott. Her management philosophy is that great bosses care personally about the comfort of their employees, but they also practice what she calls “radical candor.”

In other words, there is a balance between being nice so that employees feel comfortable and secure and being forthright in giving feedback—the negative as well as the positive. This, too, is one of the core values at Great Clips. The executives at the home office are big proponents of being kind. Why? Because it’s good for business. At the same time, there is no lack of candor when giving feedback. Why? Because it’s good for business.

One of the key lessons I’ve learned from the leadership team at Great Clips is that being kind does not mean you withhold critical feedback. In fact, the team believes nothing is kinder than helping people see where they are failing. When you’re a boss, it’s your job to be just as clear about what’s going wrong as what’s going right.

But this won’t be effective if you haven’t taken the time to build a relationship with your direct reports—whether that’s managing a baseball team, owning a walk-in hair salon, or in my case, leading a team of people whose job is to recruit and support new franchisees.

In a recent blog about managing your boss, I shared my own philosophy about managing and being managed:

For me, the key to managing or being managed is forming a relationship—a trusting relationship. One of the things I like most about working at the Great Clips corporate office is our connections, not only through work, but also on a personal level. And, this extends beyond co-workers to our connections with franchisees. It means we’re invested in one another’s success, and just like good managing, that goes both ways, too.

Kind or candid? I hope I show a bit of both characteristics as a leader. What about you?

*Don’t even ask about the Twins right now. Just know they are giving true fans anxiety attacks with every game!

Do you lean toward kind or candid? I want to know—give me a call or send me a message. And, coming soon to your favorite blog, Radical Candor: How to Deliver It so it Sticks.

Beth (Caron) Nilssen
Director of Franchise Development | Great Clips, Inc.
800-947-1143 | [email protected]

Beth Nilssen By Beth Nilssen on August 26, 2019
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