Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

The basis of the concept behind radical candour is a sound one, as caring enough to have uncomfortable, and sometimes brutally honest conversations is key to personal improvement and authentic relationships.

However, fools rush in, attempting radical candour without the necessary ‘groundwork’ can result in ill feeling, lack of motivation and if left unaddressed, can develop into personal conflict.

“Radical Candour is the ability to Challenge Directly and show you Care Personally at the same time. Radical Candour will help you and all the people you work with do the best work of your lives and build the best relationships of your career.” –

Navigating the Pitfalls of Radical Candour

Honesty is always the best policy is a phrase we’re all familiar with, but not always comfortable with. While we can appreciate a genuinely honest assessment of someone’s performance can be helpful, we don’t always know how to do it without causing offence.

“Every human being has an inner sense of worth, of importance, of dignity. Wound that and you have lost that person forever.” Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to opt-out of what might be an awkward conversation to the detriment of an individual’s personal development, and their team’s performance.

Laying the Foundation

The maxim people ‘don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care’ still holds true. Setting the right foundation to successfully practice radical candour starts with reviewing your relationship effectiveness.

Leadership is a relationship. The quality of the relationships managers have with their reports is at the centre of being a successful leader – the kind of leader who can inspire their team to consistently perform at their best.

How Do You Improve Relationship Effectiveness?

The capacity to have the awareness and skill to relate to others with greater clarity and empathy is key to building more effective personal and professional relationships.

To truly relate to others we must first develop a deeper understanding of what drives our own behaviour, and how our motives can affect the way we feel and therefore react, in challenging situations.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl

The power to choose our response – what we call response-able – comes from an understanding of how we work at our best, free from unproductive behaviour that clouds how we perceive our colleagues and work challenges.

Leaders who can develop the life skill of deploying the appropriate strengths at the appropriate time, can successfully challenge their direct reports. Using strengths such as caring and supportive for example, at the same time as principled and quick-to-act, will enable the application of radical candour very effectively.

Results Through Relationships

Relationship Awareness training takes each individual on a tailored learning journey, which starts with gaining a deeper understanding of the why behind their own motives and behaviour, including why their behaviour changes in challenging situations.

With this as a foundation, learners go on to develop effective interpersonal skills proven to get teams working better together. Becoming more response-able to draw on appropriate strengths at the time they need them, in order to:

  • Cultivate personal authenticity
  • Improve relationship effectiveness
  • Progress professional development
  • Increase collaboration, trust and openness
  • Reduce conflict within teams
  • Improve employee engagement

If you are new to Relationship Awareness training, you might like to join us on an upcoming webinar or at an introductory Core Strengths: Results through Relationships™ training workshop.

Matt Leighton, Marketing Executive
A self-described lifelong learner, Matt has a genuine interest in what makes people tick, and how to get the best out of them. One of Matt’s roles at Personal Strengths UK is to keep banging the TotalSDI drum, sharing powerful Relationship Awareness Theory messages to get people working better together, through sustainable ‘people improvement’ training programmes using TotalSDI.


Buy Online SDI Credits

SDI Screen Shot SDI IconBuy Now
Calender Image

Upcoming Event

Calendar IconFind An Event