Effective Feedback: Giving and Receiving with the BEST Method

Despite the discomfort that may come with it, giving and receiving feedback is also very valuable. You can provide effective feedback through the BEST method. Laura Hack from Pieterman Training explains how it works.

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Effectieve Feedback
geven met de BEST Methode

Effective Feedback:
giving and receiving with the BEST Methode

Do you recognize that? That colleague or good friend who repeatedly fails to keep their appointments? Or that colleague who is always late, causing the weekly meetings to start later? And then there’s also the colleague who always gossips about others. You want to address it, but how do you do that?

With feedback. Because effective feedback can lead to change, progress, and improvement in these situations. Whether it’s about work or personal relationships. Giving feedback isn’t always easy because nobody likes to be confronted with their shortcomings. According to Laura, in the ideal situation, you give feedback purely for the other person, and there are no expectations about the outcome for you as the giver. After all, you have no control over what the other person does with your feedback, even if you mean well.

The benefits of feedback

Despite the discomfort it may entail, giving and receiving feedback is also very valuable. As long as you can empathize with the other person and make your point clearly with a friendly approach. And here’s why:

  • Strengthens the relationship: By giving regular feedback, you build trust between your colleagues and managers. It contributes to more open and honest communication, leading to better collaboration.
  • Improves performance: Giving feedback allows the recipient to grow and gain more confidence to ultimately work towards a goal more effectively.
  • Promotes engagement: When people feel heard and seen, and their efforts are acknowledged, they are more motivated and engaged in their work.

To receive feedback in a good way, you must be willing to learn and grow. Once you’re open to feedback, it can bring you the following:

  • Personal growth: Receiving feedback provides valuable insights into your strengths and areas for improvement. By receiving feedback, you can focus on certain areas to develop your personal growth.
  • Stimulates self-reflection: By reflecting on the feedback received, you can evaluate your thoughts and behaviors and take action to improve them.
  • Increased self-awareness: Feedback also helps you think about how others perceive you and how certain actions affect others and the situation.

Giving feedback with the BEST method

One of the most effective approaches for giving and receiving feedback is the BEST method. This method can lead to positive change and growth for both the giver and the receiver. Let’s start with an example:

“I see that every time someone enters from work, you look up and start a conversation. The effect is that I am distracted from my work a few times an hour, which makes me less focused and takes longer. Do you also recognize this? Would it perhaps be a good idea for us to work quietly until 10 o’clock and then have a cup of coffee together to catch up? What do you think, could this help both you and me get more work done? Shall we propose this in the next team meeting?”

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How does the BEST method work?

B Briefly explain: You start by factually describing what you see or hear, so ‘I see’ or ‘I hear’. Don’t start with ‘I think’ or ‘I notice’. By factually reporting what you see and hear, you prevent giving feedback based on your own assumptions or experiences and feelings.

E Effect: The effect of the behavior can be noticeable on multiple levels. For example, for yourself, for the other person, within a team, or in a process. The effect can be factual (mistakes made) or emotional (a bad feeling or discomfort). It is important to clarify when this behavior and thus the effect occurs. Be careful with terms like ‘always’ and ‘never’. If someone shows certain behavior at certain times, where you want to give feedback, it’s good to make this distinction. This prevents it from being about overall functioning/behavior.

S Suggestion: You can do various things. You can ask the other person if they recognize it and how they would like to solve it. You can ask if the other person wants to hear your idea/tip. You can also come up with something together. Consider carefully what is best for the other person and whether the other person supports the idea.

Laura Hack: “An example of a suggestion for improvement could be that you indicate that the other person did a great job during the meeting, but that there should be room for listening to other people’s opinions. This can be done by letting someone else lead the meeting next time.”

In the example above, you not only mention what could be improved but also come up with a suggestion. Try to be specific and empathize with the person receiving your feedback. Precisely mention what is going well and where there is room for improvement. Because focusing on solutions and suggestions for improvement leads to pleasant collaboration.

T Take action/Testimony: By checking what the other person is going to do with your feedback, you manage expectations for yourself and the other person. It also prevents the other person from nodding ‘yes’ but doing ‘no’. By questioning the other person and asking if they need help, you make the tip/suggestion more tangible, and the other person can actually work with it.

It is important to gauge whether someone is open to your feedback and to consider what you prefer when giving feedback and what is important to you when receiving it. Ask the other person how they want to receive/give feedback, and know this concretely for yourself as well. Give feedback for the other person, not for yourself.

Incidentally, feedback is certainly not just about highlighting areas for improvement. You can also give compliments in the form of feedback. An example of giving positive feedback could be complimenting the other person on leading the meeting that day and that the most important issues were addressed.

Receiving feedback with the BEST method

Receiving feedback can be difficult because it is about your behavior and how you can do it better or adjust it. Responding to unsolicited feedback or something you disagree with remains personal. Try to open yourself up and thank the giver for the feedback, because giving feedback is not always easy either. Feedback can be seen as an attack. So as a recipient, try not to defend yourself, but actively listen and ask questions, so that it’s clear to you what the other person is trying to say. After all, feedback says nothing about your personality but about your behavior. But when someone gives you feedback, you can also use the aforementioned BEST method very well to respond to it. Suppose you receive unsolicited feedback that makes you feel bad, you could say:

“You’re saying this and this to me right now, and the effect is that it makes me feel insecure about my tasks. How can we do this better in the future?”.

If you find this difficult, or if you don’t want to engage in a discussion, you can also choose to respond to the given feedback by simply saying:

“Thank you for sharing your perspective with me. I’ll take some time to reflect on it and see how I can use it constructively.” or “Thank you for the feedback, but I don’t recognize myself in it.”

With this statement, you demonstrate that you’ve considered the feedback seriously but won’t take further action.

One last tip from Laura

If someone doesn't want to receive your feedback, it's a waste of your own energy to persist. Beforehand, make sure whether you're providing feedback on factual behavior or on your own perception or feeling. Working through the B and E of the BEST method can help to distinguish between them. This increases the likelihood that your feedback will be received well.

We’re not claiming that giving and receiving feedback suddenly becomes very easy, but if you use the BEST method more often, you’ll notice that it becomes more natural over time.

If you’d like to discuss further after reading this blog or if you have specific questions, please feel free to contact our Relationship Manager, Yasmin Asrafali.

Laura Hack over effectieve feedback

Laura Hack – Communication Trainer

This article was produced with the cooperation of Laura Hack from Pieterman Training. Laura is a New Business and Account Manager in the field of communication training, and she has trained hundreds of people (including the employees of Exactpi Recruitment) in, among other things, how to handle feedback and time management.

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