Hate giving feedback? Try the 3 World model

Have you ever felt the anxiety and discomfort? When you get called into the Bosses office expecting to receive some feedback on something you’ve done wrong. It’s not a nice feeling.

So when you progress your way to the other side of the desk, it should be easier, right? Actually no. For most leaders I work with, giving feedback is hard and for that reason, many avoid it.

While they know that effective feedback is critical to high performance, they get reminded of their own uncomfortable experiences, they don’t know what to say and they try their hardest to protect themselves from a similar place.

This is where we see rushed conversations, eruptions of frustration and anger, or the worst of all, long winded and ambiguous emails replacing human connection in feedback. We need a better way!

This is why I built the 3 worlds model. It’s my belief that for feedback to be effective, we need to make sure we are all living in the same world first. I don’t mean we are on this planet (clearly), I mean that we are seeing the same world in the feedback discussion.

See, we all live across 3 worlds. First is Our World, the way things are as we see it and interpret it. The meaning we make and the assumptions we believe.

Then there is Their World. The world as seen and understood from the perspective of the other person.

Lastly, there is the Real World, a place of indisputable or at least agreed facts. Sadly, too often we are all convinced that Our World and the Real World must be the same place. Worse than this we then assume there is only the Real World and so Our World is also Their World.

Our feedback follows a logic of: You did this because of this reason which will lead to this outcome.

3 Worlds pushes us to think differently.

Step 1: What is the Real World? (Objective facts)

Step 2: What might be the reason in Their World? (empathy for their position)

Step 3: What might be the implications of this in Your World? ( Your views and opinions)

Step 4: What might be the Real World implications? (You’d both agree on these implications)

Step 5: How could you work together to make sure of a better outcome in the future? (Blending the 3 worlds together)

Give it ago… try planning out your next piece of feedback across the 3 worlds and let me know how it goes.

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