In her book, “Radical Candor: Be A Kick-Arse Boss Without Losing Your Humanity,” former Apple and Google executive, Kim Scott, details the best ways a manager can get the most out of his or her team. Scott says there are two key conversations every manager should have with his or her employees to create a well-functioning team and get the most out of the employee. Following is a transcript of the video.
So the way that you can understand someone’s goals and use that understanding to make sure you’re giving them the right opportunities for them is simply to have two conversations with them. I think the first conversation that you want to have with someone is sort of the get to know you conversation starting with kindergarten tell me about your life and as you have this conversation you want to focus in on pivots that the person has made throughout their life and understand why did you make that change and from that question you’ll understand what motivates somebody.
So somebody was a cheerleader and then they became a swimmer because they really could see more results of time in the pool on the swim team than they could as a cheerleader then you know this person is results oriented. You start to see whether it’s hard work or what not that really motivates the person but you get a much richer more textured view of the person if you understand these sort of abstractions in the context of their actual life story.
And don’t be intrusive. Obviously if a person doesn’t want to tell you about their childhood, you’re not a shrink, you’re the boss, right. So be sensitive to how the other person is feeling. So that’s one conversation. The next conversation that I recommend that you have with people to sort of understand what their goals are is what I call the “dreams conversation.” So ask somebody at the pinnacle of your life, when everything is going just the way you want it, tell me what it looks like, what are your dreams? And don’t ask for just one dream because very few of us really know what we want to be when we grow up and those who do confuse the heck out of the rest of us.
So give people opportunity to have several different dreams, and when you have this conversation about somebody’s dreams, you’ll begin to see what are the skills that they need to develop, what are the things they need to learn, who are the people they need to meet in order to take a step in the direction of those dreams. And even when their current job is, seems really different than their long-term dream, you’ll often find that there are ways you can change the job.
You can give them different projects. You can give them some additional responsibilities. You can offer to make introductions for the person. You can offer to get them some training or some education or go to a conference. And those things will now be relevant to their current job but also be taking them a step in the direction of their dreeams. And that gives work a lot more meaning for people.