Project Practitioners > Care Personally

Care Personally

By Chris Cook, PMP

READ TIME: 5 minutes


Radical Candor, written by Kim Scott, delves into two important aspects of communicating with your team. Care personally and challenge directly are discussed in depth throughout this book. Combining these two elements of communication creates buy-in amongst your team and make you a ‘kick-ass boss.’


Here is a description of the book:

“Radical Candor is the sweet spot between managers who are obnoxiously aggressive on the one side and ruinously empathetic on the other. It is about providing guidance, which involves a mix of praise as well as criticism, delivered to produce better results and help employees develop their skills and boundaries of success.

Great bosses have a strong relationship with their employees, and Kim Scott Malone has identified three simple principles for building better relationships with your employees: make it personal, get stuff done, and understand why it matters.

Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Drawing on years of first-hand experience, and distilled clearly to give actionable lessons to the reader, Radical Candor shows how to be successful while retaining your integrity and humanity.

Radical Candor is the perfect handbook for those who are looking to find meaning in their job and create an environment where people both love their work, their colleagues and are motivated to strive to ever greater success.”

Below are a few ways for you to start to care personally about your team members:


Put Their Needs First

Ask questions to get answers. Be curious when asking questions and absorb the comments and critiques. Be a soundboard at the moment. No reaction one way or the other. Just take it. As a boss or leader, this may prove difficult.

You want to have answers or provide guidance or tell the team member your reasoning. In this instance, relish the silence. If the team member stops talking, continue to sit their quietly. All of a sudden, he or she begins to speak again. No question is even necessary.

Based on the answer, you stay curious and keep diving into the issues. Find out the team’s needs first. If their needs are met, magically, your needs become met. This cycle of ask, absorb, act, and repeat is a fantastic way to keep the team involved while creating growth.

The silence after asking a question is a great way to let them share. It keeps you out of the way. Instead of interjecting reasoning or ways of improvement, listen. Hear what they are saying, absorb the information, and remain quiet. Keep still, and the answers provide themselves.


Listen Intently

Be curious about the responses. Asking questions is great, but can lead to nothing. Staying curious about a subject creates questions organically. Plus, your team member can sense your interest and start to divulge more information.

Has someone asked you a question about a subject you are passionate about, and you keep rambling on and on about every detail? Then that audience asks another question. You start to talk about this topic for hours without realizing you have shared way more information than you ever imagined.

The same happens to your team members. If there is a pain point, he or she will talk about it until something happens. If you keep asking about it, the more information you gain. Sometimes you find out it is a systemic issue, and other times you find out the individual talking about is creating their hell.

Either way, the answers come from questions. More questions come from staying curious.



Act based on the answers you receive. The final step to this Q&A with your team member is to show them you care by actually doing something about it. All of the talks in the world does not do much when it remains in the vault. You must act.

Once a pain point becomes resolved, your team knows you care about them and their issues. This action creates buy-in and trust. Because you care personally, making these changes is not difficult for you. You care about them and making their days better is a goal of yours.

These selfless acts have selfish consequences. Your happy team starts to perform at a high level, making you perform at a high level. This momentum builds quickly. Your service to them reciprocates. The gains, pending how large your team is, can be massive.



Saying you care personally and actually caring personally is a huge difference. If you say you care personally about the team, yet take all of the credit in success and blame others for failure, your words and actions differ leading to the team to think you do not care. You are all word service.

Instead, care personally by asking questions. Then, listen to the answers. Remaining curious keeps you involved in the conversation and creates an environment where the team member shares more information. He or she feels comfortable, and both parties benefit. You get answers to tough questions, and the team member gets progress on the problem.

Once you have your answers, start to act on those changes. Show them you care by not only saying but also doing. The doing portion of this cycle is the most important. Collecting leads to a collection. Executing leads to change.

Be an executor. Care personally.

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