Strike a balance between Care and Candor.

Permissional leadership is about the relationship; however, you should never put building great community over the contribution to the organization. At the end of the day, the company is not like a family. Yes, it is about people, but you still should require responsibility and accountability from your people in order for the organization to function effectively.


Firstly, understand how Care and Candor work together.

  1. Caring values the person, while Candor values the person’s potential.
  2. Caring establishes the relationship, while Candor expands the relationship.
  3. Caring defines the relationship, while Candor directs the relationship.
  4. Caring should never suppress candor, while Candor should never displace caring.

Secondly, recognize which situations call for a candid conversation and have one.
Sometimes, candid conversations are the leader’s responsibility and they must be had—in the right way and with the right attitude.

Before beginning a candid conversation, make sure that you answer yes to all of the following questions:

  • Have I invested enough in the relationship to be candid with them?
  • Do I truly value them as people?
  • Am I sure this is their issue and not mine?
  • Am I sure I’m not speaking up because I feel threatened?
  • Is the issue more important than the relationship?
  • Does this conversation clearly serve their interests and not just mine?
  • Am I willing to invest time and energy to help them change?
  • Am I willing to show them how to do something, not just say what’s wrong?
  • Am I willing and able to set clear, specific expectations?

Tips on having candid conversations:

  1. Do it quickly.
    Don’t wait for the perfect moment.
  2. Do it calmly.
    Never in anger.
  3. Do it privately.
  4. Do it thoughtfully.
    In a way that minimizes embarrassment or intimidation.


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