The Johari Window: Know and Share Yourself With Skill

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JohariWindow

How do you avoid sharing TMI (Too Much Information)?

At the same time, how do you avoid being too reserved or too closed with other people?

One of the keys to effectiveness is to know and show yourself enough.

If you know yourself well enough, you can share relevant information to improve communication and connect with others.

The Johari Window Helps You Share Yourself with Skill

One tool to help you with this is the Johari Window.

I first learned about the Johari Window in one of my leadership training sessions and it piqued my interest.

It’s a simple model for interpersonal awareness.

If you’ve ever struggled with TMI or self-disclosure, the Johari Window is your friend.  The Johari Window was originally created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 as a tool to help people understand their interpersonal communication and relationships.

The Johari Window Explained

The Johari Windows is made of four regions or quadrants:

  • Open Self – What others know about you and you know too..
  • Blind Self – What others know about you, but you don’t.
  • Hidden Self – What others don’t know about you, but you do.  It’s your secrets.
  • Unknown Self – What others don’t know about you and you don’t either.

Self-Awareness and Self-Disclosure

Showing people who you are requires self-awareness and self-disclosure.   The Johari Window is effectively a lens on your own self-awareness as well as a lens on self-disclosure.  You can think of your self-awareness and self-disclosure as slider bars and the Johari Window can help you figure out where your slider bars are at.

Key Scenarios for the Johari Window

You can use the Johari Window to help you with the following scenarios:

  • Understanding how you communicate with yourself and others.
  • Understanding how you present yourself to yourself and others.
  • Understanding how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.
  • Understanding actions vs. motivations.

Reducing Your Blind Spots and Increasing the Open Area

The best communication happens when the Arena is biggest:

JohariWindowIncreasingOpenArea

The more you know about yourself and the more other people know about you, the more you can communicate on the same wavelength.  By asking for feedback you can simultaneously reduce your Blind Spot while increasing the amount and quality of information you can share in the Arena.

New Team Member Scenario

You can imagine that a new team member scenario might look like this:

JohariWindowNewTeamMember

There hasn’t been a lot of exchange yet.  Since others don’t know much about the new team member yet, the Blind Spot is small.   On the flip side, the others don’t know much about the hidden or avoided issues, so the Facade area is large.

Existing Team Member Scenario

You can imagine that an established team member scenario might look like this:

JohariWindowEstablishedTeamMember
There’s been a lot of exchange.  Since others know more about the established team member, the Facade area is smaller.  Also, since the established team member has received feedback, their Blind Spot is smaller.

Johari Window Exercise

This is an example of an exercise you can do with the Johari Window in a group or team.  The purpose is to share more information and reduce blind spots.  The key steps are:

  • The subject is given a list of 55 adjectives and you pick 5 or 6 that they think describes their personality.
  • Peers are given the same list and they each pick 5 or 6 adjectives they think describe the subject.
  • You arrange the adjectives on the Johari Window based on awareness.

Here’s a summary of how to place the adjectives::

  • Arena – Adjectives selective by participant and peers are placed in Arena.
  • Facade – Adjectives selected by participant only are placed in Facade.
  • Blind Spot – Adjectives selected by peers only are placed in Blind Spot.
  • Unknown – Adjectives not selected by anybody are placed in unknown.

Adjectives

Here’s a list of the positive adjectives commonly used in the Johari Window exercise (of course there are negative ones as well):

Able

Accepting

Adaptable

Bold

Brave

Calm

Caring

Cheerful

Clever

Complex

Confident

Dependable

Dignified

Energetic

Extroverted

Friendly

Giving

Happy

Helpful

Idealistic

Independent

Ingenious

Intelligent

Introverted

Kind

Knowledgeable

Logical

Loving

Mature

Modest

Nervous

Observant

Organized

Patient

Powerful

Proud

Quiet

Reflective

Relaxed

Religious

Responsive

Searching

Self-assertive

Self-Conscious

Sensible

Sentimental

Shy

Silly

Spontaneous

Sympathetic

Tense

Trustworthy

Warm

Wise

Witty

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Hi JD

    This looks very interesting to use. I’ll see if I can give it a go somewhere… Even just with one colleague.

    Juliet

  2. JD, the exercise is interesting. I came across Johari Window while reading ‘Never Eat Alone’. It spoke about adjusting the way we communicate based on other persons personality/communication style.

  3. @ Jason

    Thank you.

    @ Juliet

    I’ve found one of the most helpful pieces of self-knowledge is finding your blind spots. If your colleague can help you with just that, it’s a definite win.

    @ Avani-Mehta

    I haven’t read Never Eat Alone (yet), but it sounds interesting. I think adjusting our communication style is one of the most powerful, proactive things we can do. We can either want the other person to change, or we can change ourselves first and create a bridge.

    @ Daphne

    Thank you. I’m a fan of visuals, especially for sharing models. I do a lot of visuals at work so this was a good exercise.

  4. Hi JD,
    the exercise is interesting. I came across Johari Window while reading ‘Never Eat Alone’. It spoke about adjusting the way we communicate based on other persons personality /communication style.

Comments are closed.