The AMBOSS Feedback Culture

What’s the feedback culture like at AMBOSS? How can you gain confidence and overcome the awkwardness of giving less-than-glowing feedback? Read on for the four golden rules of fabulous feedback!

Our feedback culture is part of what makes AMBOSS special. Every three months, our trusty peer-feedback tool asks us those two all-important questions: ‘what does your colleague do well’ and ‘how could they improve?’.

They may look simple, but a lot of people struggled to answer these questions honestly or with specific areas for improvement, often giving all-positive or just unhelpfully vague answers.

This is how we realized it was time to run workshops to help our compassionate AMBOSSians speak their truth confidently!

Introducing the Peer Feedback Workshops!

At AMBOSS, we really try to hone our feedback skills so that we can support each others’ professional growth. Our regular Peer Feedback Workshops are a fantastic resource for this – packed with tips and tricks for finding the best solution to any challenge together, they’ll have you sharing your thoughts constructively in no time!

Without further ado, here’s a sneak peek at the four golden rules AMBOSSians use to tackle that issue:

1. Practice Radical Candor

This approach is characterized by the ability to simultaneously challenge directly and show that you care personally about the person you’re speaking to.

What does this mean at AMBOSS? Treating each other as individuals and as humans, listening to each other, building relationships with each other, and being honest, straightforward, timely, and specific when giving feedback.

A team that can communicate with each other this way has already created a community of trust and knows that any criticisms are meant to be constructive. This is a team that genuinely wants to see each other succeed.

2.  Encourage a Growth Mindset

This approach is centered around the belief that individuals’ talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and feedback from others. People with a growth mindset enjoy challenges, strive to learn, and consistently see potential in challenging situations to develop new skills. Fostering a growth mindset is one sure-fire way to nurture your colleagues’ confidence to try out new ideas, take accountability for the outcomes, and to own and deal with mistakes.

Sounds like a great working environment, right? So, how can you promote a growth mindset? By following these three simple steps:

→ Propose what action can be taken for someone to achieve their goals.

→ Suggest possible methods for improvement.

→ Promote that mistakes present opportunities to learn.

And what not to do? Avoid telling someone they’re good/bad, right/wrong because this can induce a fear of failure and stagnate learning. And reframe your feedback so that any challenges they face can be seen as opportunities for improvement rather than examples of where their capabilities end.

Check out Carol Dweck’s book ‘Mindset’ to dig deeper into the psychology of using a growth mindset to achieve your goals faster and enjoy the process!

3. Give Examples of Your Most Important Points

This way, you’ll avoid giving unhelpful or vague feedback and help your colleague understand your point. It can be very powerful to start with your observations, continue with why you think your colleague behaves this way, and end with what effect this has on you. Separating your own experience into these three parts can also help you become more mindful about your own interpretations and reactions: win-win!

4. Give Feedback Early & Often

This point doesn’t just feed into our practice of radical candor, giving regular feedback can prevent any unnecessary escalation and really promotes continuous growth.

But a good feedback culture isn’t just important between colleagues. At AMBOSS, we really believe in the importance of a feedback culture that constantly evolves; people are constantly evolving, so the way we work together should too! That’s why there’s always an opportunity at the feedback workshops for participants to share their ideas and suggestions on how we can improve the ways we give feedback.

Janina Cußmann, Head of HR at AMBOSS and one of the internal feedback training facilitators, told us: “One such suggestion was to introduce an upward feedback channel for team members to give their managers feedback on a quarterly basis, too. I really loved the idea and only a few weeks later, we introduced this! In the first feedback cycle for managers alone, we received 123 comments from our AMBOSSians, which we certainly count as a success.”

Before You Go…

You’ve seen how you can grow at AMBOSS but we can’t let you go without sharing one of the most important things we’ve learned about feedback (thanks to one of our favorite books ‘Being Buddha at Work’ by BJ Gallagher & Franz Metcalf):

let go of your ego and recognize the value of listening to other people’s feedback, especially when you didn’t ask for it. If you give in to resentment, you learn from no one. If you are grateful, you learn from everyone. If you truly want to be wise, you will view everyone as your teacher.

Voices of AMBOSS

Bianca Henzler, HR Business Partner & one of our Peer Feedback Workshop hosts

“It’s great to have this format of Peer Feedback Workshops for aligning how we envision the feedback culture at AMBOSS and how it’s actually experienced by employees. Since the participants represent a diverse mix of people across AMBOSS teams, we discuss new perspectives and questions in nearly every workshop. It’s great to see how much knowledge we have about feedback in the company already. Based on that, our workshop is constantly evolving and the whole organization benefits from the insights of individual AMBOSSians.”

Abud Davutoğl, Front End Engineer

“The feedback process at AMBOSS is transparent and done in a very kind way. In Engineering, we often use the retrospective meeting to give our feedback about how our work went over the past 2 weeks. Team members use this opportunity to express what they liked and didn’t like, and suggest ways to improve the process. Often, the feedback in this meeting is done in a non-personalized way, pointing at what doesn’t work rather than the person who caused the issue. When the retrospective fails to improve an issue, team members tend to give their feedback to their manager who then works out a solution to the problem. At AMBOSS, we learn about giving feedback through workshops – one of which I attended. I learned different techniques on how to express my feedback by focusing on showing how the problem affects me and how I imagine it could be solved rather than attacking the person at the receiving end of my feedback.”

Viola Welter, Content Lead, Medical Video

“At AMBOSS, we value and take part in a regular up and down feedback routine. The culture created by that really makes me feel like I am both challenged and supported to grow personally.”

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