• tjohnson00

leader log: communicate clearly, candidly, and with kindness

During times of transition and growth, it’s important to communicate clearly, candidly, and with kindness. Change is uncomfortable, but good communication is like aloe on a sunburn.


***The following post was initially written as part of an internal email.***

Clearly: Whether you’re new to a position or adding to your toolkit, it’s important to understand what you are trying to achieve. When you are the student, you want the teacher to be clear and precise with their language and directions. If you are the teacher, it’s important to understand the student – they are not coming with the same experience and understanding. Make things as simple and clear-cut as possible. The Feynman Technique is a great method:

  • “Step 1: Choose a concept you want to learn about.

  • Step 2: Explain it to a 12-year-old.

  • Step 3: Reflect, Refine, and Simplify.

  • Step 4: Organize and Review.”

Candidly: One of our core values is transparency, and we say, “Vulnerable, honest interactions build trust. We communicate with radical candor.” Understanding what you know and don’t know is important. As a deliberately developmental organization, we will stretch our team members outside their areas of expertise. In doing this, it’s important that we let each other know when information is coming too quickly, when we are feeling overwhelmed, and when we need more help. When we are the ones stretching our team members to learn and grow, we need to be very explicit with the end state: what is it that we want them to accomplish? Speaking candidly gets us to the bottom of the issue quickly. (Radical Candor is a great book by Kim Scott.)


Kindness: As Ram Dass said, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Being a human is tough stuff. There is no reason to be a jerk. I frequently remind myself to slow down and be patient. When I’m moving too fast, I can come across as too goal-oriented, and I can be a bit of a jerk. I’m guessing I’m not the only one. When life is in flux, we want to feel grounded. We want to feel like we’re pulling our weight; we want to feel like we belong. This is a gift we can give fo’ free if we are kind to one another. No matter what is going on, we can always be nice to one another.


We have a lot to be excited about. Let’s not get bogged down in the details of our work to the point that we miss the why we do it. Everyone is here to make a difference in the world. Don’t miss the opportunity to have an impact on other team members.

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