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giving and receiving feedback in career conversations

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

How do you have a conversation about career growth?

Understanding your and others' motivations is important, yet it is also of great utility and merit to understand specific traits of others to make every encounter more valuable. Maybe for some, it will be a Tweet that would have an impact.

How do we know - use Ray Dalio's sample of behavioural attributes to analyze yourself and your team:

Source: Principles by Ray Dalio

A conversation on career growth, development, or prospects - all three nouns are used interchangeably at this instance, - encompasses three main UNDERSTANDING-S:

  1. Understanding of the Environment. What your company can provide in terms of growth.

  2. Understanding of Your Vision. How you would wish to see your career developing in the foreseeable future.

  3. Understanding of Your Manager's Aptitude and Ability to Support. If and how your manager is in control of circumstances impacting your career growth, whether they are able and willing to support you.

And then comes HOW we do the discovery of all three. We do this with effective communication and radical candor.

There is a common expression "Meet the person where they are" - meaning be attuned to other person's situation and current mindset, and we shall add - energy level. Be aware of your energy level, when exactly you believe you are able to have an effective conversation.

Today most companies are actively using video conferencing conducting meetings. Having career conversations, providing and receiving feedback using Zoom call is perfectly fine. Yet don't forget to have and ask your counterpart to have a video on. Video is a great source of cues on how another person perceives the information.


"The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay". — Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company. The same principle is applied to career conversation. Some managers find it intimidating to have a career conversation with employees when they know that in this particular period of time and circumstances there is limited opportunity for anyone to get a promotion. Even in this scenario you still do go for the conversation about your career with your team member. Because as we have seen it is about the acute needs of another person, and secondly, you build long-term trusted professional relationships with others.

Key Takeaways

  1. It is important to understand your own and another person professional traits, ways to perceive information and make decisions

  2. Radical candor is about challenging directly while showing you care personally

  3. Always prepare for a career conversation - be aware of your every level, of how this meeting will be set (virtually/in person)

The most important step in practising radical candor is soliciting feedback, thoughts from your team member. In the conversation try always speak directly, while being aware of the person's state of emotions at a given moment. The latter impacts the selection of words, some people use all the right words but if the person is not in a receptive state of mind it will be hard to get the right things across. Same - with saying nice things - would be correct when it is genuine, otherwise it in times used by people as a form of manipulation. And lastly - practice, practice, practice!


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