Skip to content

Fearless Feedback: Creating a Culture of Radical Candour and Growth

3 minute read

By Stavy Papasotiriou, Organisational Psychologist and Founder of Work Unlocked

Feedback is the lifeblood of growth and development in any organisation. Yet, all too often, fear and discomfort prevent honest conversations from taking place, stifling progress and hindering potential. In contrast, organisations that cultivate a culture of radical candour—a concept popularised by author Kim Scott—foster an environment where feedback flows freely, empowering individuals to learn, grow, and excel. Let's explore how organisations can create a culture of fearless feedback and unlock the full potential of their teams.


Radical candour is the practice of caring personally while challenging directly—an approach that strikes a delicate balance between empathy and honesty. Unlike passive-aggressive behaviour or brutal honesty, radical candour involves providing feedback with genuine care and concern for the recipient's well-being, while also delivering it with clarity and directness. This creates a safe space for open dialogue, constructive criticism, and continuous improvement.


At the heart of a culture of radical candour lies psychological safety—a climate where individuals feel comfortable taking risks, speaking up, and expressing their true thoughts and feelings without fear of repercussion. Psychological safety is cultivated through trust, respect, and vulnerability, and it lays the foundation for honest and productive feedback exchanges. Leaders play a critical role in creating psychological safety by modelling vulnerability, actively listening to feedback, and responding with empathy and humility.


Feedback literacy is the ability to give, receive, and act on feedback effectively—an essential skill for personal and professional growth. Organisations can foster feedback literacy by providing training and resources on effective feedback practices, teaching employees how to deliver feedback in a constructive and respectful manner, and encouraging a growth mindset that embraces feedback as an opportunity for learning and improvement.


In a culture of radical candour, feedback becomes a natural part of everyday interactions rather than a rare occurrence saved for formal performance reviews. Leaders and team members alike are encouraged to give and receive feedback in real-time, offering praise for a job well done and constructive criticism for areas of improvement. By normalising feedback conversations, organisations create a culture of continuous learning and growth, where individuals are empowered to reach their full potential.


Central to the philosophy of radical candour is the belief in the power of growth and development. Rather than viewing feedback as a judgment or critique, individuals are encouraged to see it as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. By embracing a growth mindset, organisations foster resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to excellence, driving continuous innovation and progress.


In a world where feedback is often avoided or sugar-coated, creating a culture of radical candour represents a bold departure from the norm—one that holds the potential to revolutionise organisational dynamics and unleash untapped potential. By fostering psychological safety, building feedback literacy, normalising feedback conversations, and embracing a growth mindset, organisations can cultivate a culture where fearless feedback is not just encouraged, but celebrated as a cornerstone of success. So let us embrace the challenge, lean into discomfort, and create a culture where radical candour thrives, unlocking the full potential of individuals and teams alike.


Stavy Papasotiriou is an organisational psychologist and the visionary behind Work Unlocked — a leading HR consultancy on a mission to revolutionise employee engagement, performance, and retention in businesses worldwide. With a profound understanding of HR practices, Stavy leverages psychological principles to unleash the untapped potential of workforces. At Work Unlocked, Stavy crafts bespoke strategies that are grounded in research and tailored to each organisation's unique needs. These strategies are designed to yield remarkable results while requiring minimal resources.


Keep up to date with the latest events, resources and articles.

Sign-up for the Engage Employee Newsletter