WorkLife with Adam Grant
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When I was 26 years old, barely out of grad school, I was asked to come teach a half-day class about motivation. I was excited for it. And then I found out my audience would be generals and colonels in the US Air Force. I was way underqualified. And I wanted to back out, but it was too late. So I walked in, and I was staring at a room full of people twice my age, wearing full military garb with all their medals on display. They had nicknames like Gunner, Striker and Stealth. By the end of the first hour, I felt like I was bombing. And sure enough, in the reviews they wrote after class, they bombed me.

One wrote, "There was more quality information in the audience than on the podium." Another said, "I gained very little from the session, but I trust the instructor did gain useful insight."

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It felt like a punch in the stomach. And I couldn't get it out of my head. So I did what any self-respecting organizational psychologist would do: I started studying why it's often soul-crushing to receive criticism. And whether we could actually learn to like it.

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I'm Adam Grant. This is WorkLife, my TED podcast. I study how to make work not suck. Organizations like Google, the NBA and the Gates Foundation have invited me in to help make jobs more meaningful, teams more creative and cultures more collaborative. In this show, I'm inviting myself in to some truly unusual places, where they've mastered something I wish everyone else knew about work. Today, the art and science of criticism.

Thanks to Bonobos for sponsoring this episode.

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Adam Grant: Hey, Kiran. Kiran Rao: Hello, Adam.

AG: How are you? KR: Doing well, and you?

AG: Good.

This is Kiran Rao. He used to be a manager at a financial company. Like most managers, he spent a ton of time in meetings. And most of them were pretty run-of-the-mill. But there's one meeting that Kiran will never forget. Here's Kiran, breaking down a recording of that meeting for us.

KR: We were in this large white tent, 200 people sitting around, the top 200 or 300 managers.

Audio clip: Man: So the next two sections are going to be about practical application.

KR: We'd been talking about multiple strategic points, and up comes a chart —

Audio clip: Man: This is a list of forced-ranking the people in this room by performance.

KR: Which was labeled "the worst managers."

Audio clip: Man: So these are people we love. Some of the people in this room, these names, probably shouldn't be here.

KR: And I was number one on the list.

Audio clip: Man: I look at this name — I hired Kiran. Apparently in his first couple years, he's not doing that well.

AG: Wow. So you're totally caught by surprise. You're staring at a room of 200 people, and being told you are the single worst manager in that room.

KR: That's right.

AG: What was that like?

KR: Um ...

It was intense.

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AG: We'll hear more from Kiran later. But right now, I want you to imagine you're Kiran, right in that moment. Think about what happens when you get criticized. Like, physically: your shoulders tighten, your breath gets shallower. Negative feedback sets off alarm bells. It actually touches a nerve in your body. And psychologically? Your mind races. You start to put up shields and mount a counterattack. If you were a peacock, you'd strut. If you were an ape, you'd beat your chest. But humans have another kind of reaction. There was a study a few decades ago that said our ego can get so defensive in these situations that it becomes its own little totalitarian regime. It starts to control the flow of information to our brains the way a dictator controls the media. Think about that. Your own ego is censoring what you hear. But if we never hear criticism, we'll never improve. What would it be like in a place where people constantly criticize each other — and crave that kind of feedback for themselves in order to make everyone better? I've worked with hundreds of organizations and I found only one where that's truly the norm.

Ray Dalio: You could say to me, "Hey, jerk, you're being an asshole." And then we'll say, OK, am I being an asshole?

AG: This is the guy in charge. His name is Ray.

RD: One of the biggest tragedies of mankind is people holding in their opinions in their heads, and it's such a tragedy because it could so easily be fixed if they put them out there and stress-tested them in the right way. They would so raise their probability of making a better decision. Everybody's giving high fives, they're all smiling at each other. But they're not dealing with the things they need to deal with.

AG: It's incredibly fun to think about, like, you can go around calling people assholes and their default response is supposed to be, "Tell me more." Is that really how you want people to react to criticism?

RD: Well, I want to put that on the table together and look at that, because maybe I'm the one who's being a jerk or misunderstanding.

AG: In the mid 1970s, Ray Dalio started a financial firm called Bridgewater Associates. At first, he was working out of a barn with his friends. He got really successful really quickly. And then he got cocky. He placed a bad bet. It tanked his firm. He had to fire his friends.

RD: And I was so broke that I had to borrow 4,000 dollars from my dad to help pay for my family bills. And that was extremely painful. It turned out to be terrific.

AG: I'm sorry, you just said it was terrific that is was so painful? Because normal human beings don't feel that way.

RD: I mean, like, I was absolutely miserable. But it gave me the humility that I needed to deal with my audacity. It made me want to find the smartest people I could find who disagreed with me.

AG: Ray realized that he crashed because there wasn't anyone around to check his ego when he was on top of the world. He only listened to himself or people who constantly said yes. Now, he was on his own.

RD: So that experience was the one that really kind of, drove it home for me. And I say, if you don't look back on yourself and think, "Wow, how stupid I was a year or two ago," then you must not have learned much in the last year or two.

AG: Ray decided that the next version of his company would have a different kind of culture where everyone would be brutally honest with each other. And that's what Bridgewater does today. Ray calls it radical transparency. Every criticism, every opinion, out in the open. You're comfortable just putting that out there, transparently?

RD: Why shouldn't we be?

AG: Embarrassment, pain, you know, ridicule, cruelty.

RD: OK, but it's not those kinds of things, right? We recognize that it can be a difficult moment. Before people come here, we ask them, do they want to do that. Isn't this good, to make them partners in that self-discovery of what is actually true?

AG: Bridgewater Associates is now considered the most successful hedge fund in the world. And Ray believes the culture is the driving force behind their success. They manage 160 billion dollars in assets, and Ray has become one of the richest people on earth. If you can't tell by now, Bridgewater is also one of the strangest workplaces I've ever seen. Feedback is only one piece of what makes them different. I'm not here to analyze all their practices, dissect their performance or suggest you copy them. But I do believe that if we want to get better at something, we should go and learn from the extreme. You know, the same way you might try and pick up a workout tip from an Olympic athlete. Bridgewater goes to the extreme on criticism. They think you can learn to dish it out and even crave it. Over the years, they've had some high-profile senior leaders. Including James Comey, the recent FBI director. He even talked about Bridgewater at his Senate confirmation hearing.

James Comey: I went to Bridgewater in part because of that culture of transparency — it's something that's long been part of me.

AG: Today, about 2,000 people work there and every single one of them is expected to put criticism out in the open. Even if the billionaire founder is the target. Here's an email Ray got one day from a colleague named Jim Haskel. "Ray, you deserve a 'D-minus' for your performance today. You rambled for 50 minutes. It was obvious to all of us that you did not prepare at all. Today was really bad, we can't let this happen again." When Jim sent his scathing review, Ray decided to get a few more opinions. He asked his colleagues to rate his performance that day on a scale from A to F. Then he shared the feedback with everyone else. And let me tell you, Ray did not get any As for that meeting.

RD: I sucked!

AG: I think a lot of people in that situation would have just sorted the conversation out with Jim. And you replied and you said, "Hey, everybody else in the meeting, I'm looping you in."

RD: No, the whole company.

AG: That went to the whole company? RD: Yeah.

AG: A to F? RD: It's very important.

AG: This kind of thing is happening constantly at Bridgewater. What would you do if someone gave you a D-minus? There are actual studies showing that when coworkers criticize us, we tend to drop them from our lives. Or at least avoid them at all costs. Instead, we go straight to our cheerleaders to complain and get reassurance. Our friends, our favorite like-minded colleagues, mom. That's our support network.

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But there's another kind of network that we all need: a challenge network. A challenge network is the group of people that you trust to push you to get better. They tell you the stuff you don't want to hear but need to hear. And Bridgewater is one big challenge network.

RD: I want Jim's critiques. Because I might be inclined to ramble, and because I might be inclined to not be prepared.

AG: So Ray made a promise to Jim: he'd do better the next time.

RD: He said, "Listen, I can't trust you to do that. And I say, "Great, I can't trust me to do that, either." And so as a regular protocol, he'll call me up, because he understands that it works well for both of us and works well for the company.

AG: A challenge network can only help you if you're ready to listen.

RD: It's particularly important for me to be showing anybody what I'm doing, including my failures, my successes. Yes. Why would you not do that?

AG: Well, because you're afraid of the answer.

RD: What are you afraid of?

AG: Of the emperor being discovered to have no clothes.

RD: If your objective is to be as good as you can possibly be, then you're going to want that.

AG: I think a lot of people would rather maintain at least the illusion of a decent image than to actually improve.

RD: But then they care more about their image than they care about results.

AG: And you're not willing to tolerate that.

RD: You know, life's much better with good results.

(Laughter)

AG: The idea of criticizing each other this openly might sound terrifying. I get that. In lots of workplaces, it would be painful at best and abusive at worst. There's a bunch of work by economists showing that rankings generally demotivate people. People, even at the top, are like, "I expected to be further at the top." And everybody at the bottom doesn't enjoy the experience of comparing themselves negatively to everyone else around them.

RD: In normal companies, I suspect that they don't prepare people, agree on it, say, "Is this a good thing?"

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AG: What about your workplace? What would happen if you just decided one day to be radically transparent? It might not go so well.

AJ: I was working at "Esquire" magazine at the time, and I said to my editor in a meeting at one point, "You know what, I really would rather be at the 'New Yorker,' and if they offered me a job, I would take that." And he was stone-faced, he did not like it.

AG: That's AJ Jacobs, a writer who thinks it's fun to live his life as an experiment. For a story he was working on, AJ committed to being 100 percent transparent for a few weeks.

AJ: If you hate your boss, tell your boss, "I hate you."

AG: AJ did that with everyone he talked to. His mother-in-law, elderly neighbors, his kids, his wife's friends.

AJ: I was out with my wife at a restaurant, and we saw some friends of hers that she hadn't seen since college. And they were all excited to see her and they said, "Oh, we should all get together and have a play date with our kids." And I had to say what was on my mind, which was, "You guys seem like nice people, but I really don't want to see you again."

AG: (Laughter) Oh, no! AJ: Oh, yeah. They were offended, rightly, and my wife was furious. So it was a disaster. I mean, we never did see them again so it is efficient, it was effective.

Kim Scott: (Laughter) So in my parlance, saying something like that is not radical candor, it's obnoxious aggression.

AG: Kim Scott is an executive coach in Silicon Valley. She works with CEOs and managers on being radically candid in their feedback.

KS: Be a kick-ass boss without loosing your humanity.

AG: I asked Kim how we can all get better at providing criticism. And guess what. It's not about just blurting out whatever pops into your head, like AJ did.

KS: The idea of radical candor is that you're caring personally about the other person at the same time that you're challenging them directly.

AG: I guess then, how do I get comfortable you know, challenging directly? When I do challenge, how do I make sure that I show care?

KS: My biggest piece of advice is eliminate the phrase "Don't take it personally" from your vocabulary. It's OK if somebody's getting upset or having an emotional reaction, it's normal. It is inevitable. What you want to do is you want to react with compassion to them. If I had emotional Novocaine, I would give it to you.

AG: I have seen so many people say, "Alright, I'm really uncomfortable challenging directly, and so one of the ways I'll show that I care personally is, I'm going to deliver a feedback sandwich: you know, open up with some praise, and then criticism comes in the middle, and then a slice of praise again, so we start and end on a high note. And the research I've read on this is pretty clear in saying this is a bad idea, for two reasons. One, when you lead with praise, they're just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it seems insincere. And two is that people often tune out what's in the middle. And so, what's your preferred alternative to the feedback sandwich?

KS: I agree, nobody really likes a shit sandwich. And so it's important for both praise and criticism, but especially for criticism, is to go in being humble. You may be wrong in what you're saying, and that's OK. One of the most important things you can do when offering criticism is to state your intention to be helpful.

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AG: There's evidence to back this up. It's something I heard a lot at Bridgewater, too. It's easier to take criticism when you know it's meant to help you. From the outside, it might sound harsh. But they think it's good for them.

KS: If you know that it's healthy, and you've experienced firsthand the benefit, you're going to keep seeking it, just like, it still hurts sometimes to go running, but I know how important that is to my well-being, so I'll keep doing it, even though it's always kind of an effort to get myself out the door. I think it's the same with criticism.

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AG: More on that after the break.

This is going to be a different kind of ad. In the spirit of exploring creative ideas at work, we're going to take you inside Bonobos, our sponsor.

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Like everyone else on earth, I hate calling customer service. It's hard to get a human on the line, and if you do, they're usually stuck reading from a script. If you want to get anywhere, you have to ask for the manager over and over and over. But that's not how things work at Bonobos. They make great fitting men's clothes, and if you call them with a problem, you get a real person empowered to actually help. Bonobos calls them Ninjas.

Kelsey Nash: My actual title is Creative Customer Engagement Lead. I'm on the management team of the Ninjas.

AG: This is Kelsey Nash. He and all the other Ninjas at Bonobos have something pretty rare in the world of customer service. Freedom.

KN: Every Ninja is empowered to take care of a customer in the moment, in whatever way that they think is necessary. There's no real sending it up the ladder and down the ladder to find a resolution, like, "We'll call you back within 24 to 48 hours." So every day, we ask Ninjas, "What would you want if you were the customer? How would you feel?"

AG: Which can lead to some surprising interactions. Like one Kelsey handled himself.

KN: There was a guy named Derek, and he wrote in and he said, "I had a fire at my house and one of my favorite flannel shirts was damaged. Do you know of some way to recuperate this or repair it, I see you don't really have any on the website anymore."

AG: Kelsey at Bonobos wrote back right away.

KN: "We're happy to replace your shirt, I'm so sorry about that, is everybody alright?" He wrote back and said, "Actually, everybody's fine, except our 15-year-old dog was trapped in the house and we lost our dog and that's been the only thing."

AG: Kelsey heard that and went into Ninja mode.

KN: I got online and I found his dog on his Instagram account. So I got a picture of the dog, I commissioned this portrait and then I got a couple flannel shirts and I sent it to the guy.

Derek (on the phone): I'm not an emotional guy, but with all that had happened, it was still very fresh. I definitely cried when I saw the painting.

AG: When I heard this story, I had to get Derek on the phone.

Derek: You know, you're kind of in a desperate situation. Just any glimmer of something nice happening to you at that point goes a long, long way. What they did wasn't necessary, they didn't have to do it, other than they thought it was the right thing to do.

KN: What we pride ourselves on, above everything, is that we're human. Like, we deal with every contact on a one-to-one basis: as a human answering a phone call, talking to another human, like, "Yeah, let's work this out."

AG: Which is what you need sometimes. It clearly meant something to Derek, who recently started a new job.

Derek: The only picture I've put up on the wall so far is that painting and it's right above my desk on the wall above the window. When I walk in the door every morning, that's the first thing I see.

AG: Bonobos makes great clothes, but my favorite part is that I don't have to leave my house to get them. I hate going shopping almost as much as I normally hate calling customer service. Ordering on the Bonobos website is super easy. They ship fast, and if it doesn't fit, you can always call Kelsey. You know, just to talk. Try it today at bonobos.com/TED and you'll get 20 percent off your first order. That's bonobos.com/TED for 20 percent off.

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When I was in college, I was a springboard diver. I was learning a new dive: two and a half flips with a twist. When I tried it out in a meet, I thought it went OK. Then I saw the judges' scores: two, two and a half, and zero point five. I don't think I'd ever even seen that score before. Anyway, when you're flipping and twisting in mid-air, you can't always gauge your own performance. And I think big parts of our work lives are like that, too. We're so immersed in the situation that we can't see ourselves objectively. At that diving meet, there were multiple judges who all saw the same flaws. When I watched the video afterward, I saw them, too. I'd executed a near-perfect belly flop.

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If you've ever played sports, you know the value of reviewing the game tape with coaches and colleagues who keep you honest. Why don't we do the same thing at work? At Bridgewater, they do. They're so obsessed with radical transparency that they record video or audio of almost every meeting. If that sounds a bit like Big Brother is watching, well, he is. But here's the difference — everyone is watching. They're constantly going back to the tapes to learn. This is what radical transparency sounds like. Here's Ray Dalio, the founder, talking with a colleague.

RD: No, I'm not saying all your advice is bad.

Colleague: Well, it sounds like you think it's bad.

RD: Some of it is bad. All he's saying to you. You need to display that you know that you don't know.

AG: In too many workplaces, people keep those comments behind closed doors.

Jen Healy: In general hierarchical structures, you don't tell people what you actually think.

AG: Jen Healy is a manager at Bridgewater.

JH: You're always managing other people's perceptions of you and what they think of you, and trying to butter people up above, trying to make sure they don't think anything is going wrong, that you have all the answers.

AG: Radical transparency is designed to solve for a deadly sin of work life: office politics. In too many places, what happens in the meeting doesn't matter nearly as much as secret alliances and conversations after the meeting.

JH: And so, you're able to just say what you think and also be held accountable if what you're thinking is bad.

AG: But for it to work, you need all of your colleagues to get past their knee-jerk reactions to criticism. Which isn't easy, especially at first.

Eileen Murray: When I first became acquainted with Bridgewater, you know, I wasn't enamored.

AG: This is Eileen Murray.

EM: When I first came up to Bridgewater for a meeting, I guess it was a management committee meeting and someone was being probed, basically asking people questions until you get to a logical answer as to what might be going on, and I was like, "I can't wait to get out of here, I think I'm going to put my hair on fire. These people are crazy."

AG: But now, Eileen is one of the company's two CEOs. Along the way, she came to hear the criticism as tough love. Kind of like what you'd get from your family.

EM: I have a younger sister who says things to me that I sometimes can't believe I tolerate, but I tolerate it because she's trying to make me better. And so once I understood the intention was to understand what people are like, for the purpose of them understanding what they're like, so that, you know, you basically are aware of what you do well, you're aware of what you don't do well, so you can do things better in life.

RD: It's a little bit like Navy SEALs. Take the Navy SEAL, put them in the cold water. If that's a difficult moment, let's practice that, right?

AG: Every day at the firm is a new encounter with your challenge network. You learn to seek out your trusted critics, which means you've opted in. And little by little, you get more comfortable hearing hard truths. Unless you don't. About a third of Bridgewater's new hires leave in the first year and a half. It was right at that year-and-a-half mark that Kiran Rao, the guy you heard earlier, found himself being told he was the company's worst manager in front of 200 of his colleagues. Kiran might have been prepared, but it still hurt.

KR: I was probably turning as red as my Indian complexion allows me to. And I was describing it as like, basically, dressing for the beach one day, in flip-flops and your swimwear, and you swing your door open and you're in a full-force winter storm.

AG: The thing you need to understand about Kiran is that before Bridgewater, he'd already had a successful career. Actually, several. He was a doctor and worked with the World Health Organization. He was a principal in a consulting firm. And he worked at a successful investment firm. He'd never failed like this before. But what happened next was something I've never seen anywhere else. Are you embarrassed, you know, hide from everyone — how did you move forward?

KR: No, I felt great.

AG: I'm sorry, what?

KR: I felt great.

AG: Do you realize how strange that sounds?

KR: It does.

AG: You can hear this in the tape of the meeting, right after he found out his ranking.

Audio clip: I'm Kiran Rao, by now probably notorious/famous number one on the list.

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I think it's a great list. And I agree that I'm in that spot. This leaves me more energized versus not. I get energy from it and I look forward to helping or leaving, whichever is the right answer.

AG: So are you just a glutton for punishment?

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KR: It's just data. It's just data, objective data about what I'm like. I would rather know how bad the bad is and how good the good is so I can do something with it.

AG: I think a skeptic, particularly one with my training, might say, this is just cognitive dissonance reduction. So you're like, "This felt really bad, but I decided to stay and so it must have taught me something, I must have grown from the experience, otherwise, like, how the hell do I justify this?" Do you ever wonder whether you're just kind of rationalizing the unpleasant experience?

KR: No. But Bridgewater is not about those dramatic moments, right? The real challenge for people to figure out if they're fit for the culture or not is not the dramatic moments, it's the daily experience of it. Right? That drama is incidental to the real work of getting to know yourself. I do believe I've experienced deep, fundamental change at Bridgewater.

AG: It is interesting, because it almost sound like you're trying to rewire or override an instinct.

KR: When I have somebody tell me I did something badly, my ego kicks in, right, and so my composure starts to become worse and worse. "That is so wrong, how can that possibly be true, I've done all these things in my life and how could I be that person?"

AG: That's what I call proving mode. It's the primal, emotional reaction. The lower-level you. But your brain has another higher-level setting. Its improving mode. That's your inner Olympic diver, who wants to know exactly how good you are and every single thing you can do to get better. Improving mode means you're always a work in progress. At Bridgewater, the thinking is that if you're exposed to feedback all the time, you get better at hearing that improving voice.

KR: There is a much softer voice. The logical person inside me who's saying, "Yeah, it's been a rough year. It hasn't been such an impactful year. Kiran, you aren't really accomplishing your goals. That's not so surprising." The difference, though, is that those two voices are very different in amplitude at that moment. The low-level me screaming, the upper-level me is whispering.

AG: Interesting. So the two yous will always still be battling at some level.

KR: I think so. And to me, the beauty is I can see that now. It used to take me a month or two to recognize that and come back to an even keel. And with Ray, it takes a microsecond.

RD: Yes, it's almost exactly that quick. I go, "Damn, I wish I would have ..." whatever that thing is, and simultaneously, "Where's the lesson?" And I think it's a habit.

AG: OK, that's weird. Ray is suggesting he doesn't just feel less pain than the rest of us, when he gets criticized. He's trained himself so that the pain signal is actually followed by a pleasure signal. Over years of seeing that negative feedback leads to positive outcomes, he sort of seems to enjoy hearing it now.

RD: When you're getting criticism, how do you feel about it?

AG: So I think overall ... I don't think I enjoy it most of the time, but I crave it. I started teaching and was terrified of public speaking. I remember one of the feedback forms said that I was so nervous that I was causing the students to physically shake in their seats. At the time, I was like, "Ugh, I don't want to be that person." But I need the feedback in order to not be that person. I think it was easier to take because I asked for it. I don't think I take criticism so well when somebody just springs it on me and I don't feel like I've opted in to it first.

RD: That's beautiful, right? And it's totally understandable that when it's sprung on you, it takes you by surprise, you know, because it's an amygdala response. And the amygdala is the fight or flight and it is a very short-term thing. But in some period of time, that's going to fade and then if at that moment you reflect, pain plus reflection equals progress. Because the pain is signaling you that something is wrong; the reflection helps to produce that learning. And if you do that over a period of time, you can't help but learn.

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AG: That's the goal. But if you're like most people, reflection gets hijacked by your inner dictator, who immediately goes into denial and attack. We need a way to take a more honest look in the mirror. In the moment, that's hard to do. So in psychology, we have a fun way of making you a little more aware of how you appear to others. Imagine that you're sitting at a computer to take a timed, multiple-choice test. The instructions say to answer question after question until a timer goes off. But what we haven't told you is that we're recording your keyboard. So if you submit an answer after the timer, we know you're cheating. It turns out you're significantly less likely to cheat if there's a mirror in the room. It reminds you to reflect on how your behavior will look to others.

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At Bridgewater, Ray is constantly trying to look in the mirror, so he can see himself the way others see him. Psychologists often talk about a second score. The idea being that you can't control your unprepared, long-winded meeting performance, the D-minus is done, that already happened. The only thing you can do then is say, "Alright, I can't control that first score, I can control the second, which is how well did I take the first score." Even if I got a D-minus for my performance, I can get an A-plus for how I took the feedback of my performance. Do you give yourself those kinds of explicit evaluations?

RD: Everybody gives those.

AG: If people know they're being evaluated on how well they learn and how well they take feedback, then there's no stable image to protect anymore.

RD: Well put, it's a good point.

AG: A second score. Every time I get feedback, I rate myself now on how well I took the feedback. That's a habit we can all develop. When someone gives you feedback, they've already evaluated you. So it helps to remind yourself that the main thing they're judging now is whether you're open or defensive. You don't always realize when you're being defensive. So call on your challenge network. Ask them to give you a second score, too. "How did I come across when you gave me feedback?" And then really listen to what they say. And respond by saying thank you.

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The best way to prove yourself is to show that you're willing to improve yourself. Just ask Kiran.

KR: It's funny, I called my wife on my way home and said this happened, they put up the list of the worst managers at Bridgewater and I was number one. And I had an amazing, energizing day ... And it felt great. And she said, "That's wonderful, Kiran, I'm proud of you."

AG: She said she was proud of you? For being the worst manager at Bridgewater?

KR: No, for looking in the mirror, for not cringing from what I look like, for being able to see reality for what it is. And I probably reached home by then. It's a short commute.

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AG: WorkLife is hosted by me, Adam Grant. The show is produced by TED with Transmitter Media and Pineapple Street Media. Our team includes Colin Helms, Gretta Cohn, Gabrielle Lewis, Angela Cheng and Janet Lee. This episode was produced by Dan O'Donell with help from Julia Alsop. Our show is mixed by David Herman with help from Dan Dzula. Original music by Hahnsdale Hsu. Special thanks to our sponsors: Bonobos, Accenture, JP Morgan Chase and Warby Parker.

Next time on WorkLife, we're going inside the writer's room at The Daily Show to find out how they do creative work under the gun.

David Kibukka: The first draft is not meant to be the last draft.

Dan Amira: Yeah, that's why they call it the first draft.

DK: That was a big part of the naming process.

AG: That's next time on WorkLife. In the meantime, thanks for listening. And if you like what you hear, rate an review the show. It helps other people find us. See you next week.

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Ray, this has been fun and interesting and thought-provoking as always.

RD: So, now what criticisms do I get?

AG: Oh, I have to criticize you?

RD: Yeah.

AG: Ugh. Do we have time for this?

(Laughter)

You stay at the level of abstract concepts and ideas as opposed to moving down into sort of, the experiences that you've had, the stories that you can tell, the emotions that are part of that that really bring your ideas to life. If you brought more of the concrete, the emotional in along with the abstract conceptual, I think your communication would be more effective.

RD: Well, thank you.