Candor in the workplace, even “extreme” or “radical” candor, has become a hot topic in recent years. And for good reason. The creativity, buy-in, and efficiencies possible through candid conversation are remarkable and well-documented. There’s no question that candid dialogue, when seen as the norm and practiced routinely, is a key source of competitive advantage — companies like Netflix and Bridgewater Associates are good illustrations. Yet practicing candor company-wide is not nearly as easy as popular writings imply, especially if a company’s existing culture is less than candid. At the top of the recommended reading list for candor-challenged workplaces is The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson. Published in 2018, this landmark book addresses the often subtle yet widespread effects of fear in the workplace, and how fear impedes candor and creativity. The basic argument is that, for a culture of candor to take hold and endure over time, an organization must first propagate psychological safety throughout its ranks. We couldn’t agree more. This book is strongly recommended for leaders at all levels.
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