Podcast 8: The JoHari Window

podcast 8

The Johari Window is a self-awareness tool. Using it gives me a clearer picture of who I am, how I am viewed by others and my impact on those around me. This tool focuses on what is known and unknown by self and by others. The Johari window has been around for 60 years! It was created by two psychologists, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955. It’s a helpful tool for personal growth as well as for team development.

The Johari Window helps you become a Bold & Courageous Leader.

Self-awareness – gaining deeper awareness of intersection of leadership and context – who am I and how do I show up to others? Also, what is my impact on my context? Is that positive or negative? Impact on context relates to followership. Who do I follow and who follows me? Are my blind spots causing me trouble? The Johari window provides a space to look at this. Self-awareness reflected through the Johari Window reflects your WHY. It can show disconnects between your WHY and your behaviors. Using this tool promotes deeper levels of self-awareness, which is a hallmark of a Bold & Courageous Leader. Johari Window consists of 4 quadrants – each quadrant represents information regarding the individual and whether it is known or unknown by self or others.

  • Quadrant 1: Upper left quadrant is open – known to self/known to others. This area is what is known about you by both you and others.
  • Quadrant 2: Upper right quadrant is blind – known by others/not known by self.
  • Quadrant 3: Lower left quadrant is hidden – known by self/not known by others.
  • Quadrant 4: Lower right quadrant is unknown – not known by self or others.

Quadrant 1 is the Open Area.

When working with others, it’s important to be as open and transparent as possible. The goal is working toward an open quadrant that is as large as possible.

  • Shared knowledge – where individual and team are aware of behavior, motivation, values, experiences and strengths.
  • Increasing this area eliminates distrust, misunderstandings and conflict.
  • Builds trust.
  • Working together helps each person learn to trust others.
  • Becomes larger through disclosure.
  • In a team with large open areas and deep trust, conflict can lead to greater productivity.

Quadrant 2 is the Blind Quadrant.

Each of us has a blind area, areas of self that we can’t see, but that are obvious to others.

  • Can be positive or negative.
  • Safety with trusted others gives us a place to gain feedback about our blind areas.
  • Blind areas can be stumbling blocks to making your highest and best contribution. (See experience above!)

Quadrant 3 is the Hidden area.

This area is information we see, but keep hidden from others. We all have parts of our life we choose to keep hidden. Those hidden things can be idiosyncrasies or a major faux pas we want to keep covered. Bold & Courageous Leaders create an atmosphere of trust and safety.

  • The culture of your organization has a huge influence on team members’ willingness to share their hidden self.
  • Self-disclosure requires a level of vulnerability, sharing those things that others don’t know about you. These things could be small and even seem silly or loom large in your mind.
  • Your willingness to be vulnerable, sharing about yourself at the level where you feel comfortable, provides an example of openness that encourages others to decrease their Hidden Area and bring their best to your team.

Disclosure is always at the discretion of the individual team member. No one should be pressured to share things they don’t feel safe or willing to share.

It’s amazing what a team and the individuals within the team can accomplish when they establish safety and trust within the group. Through trusting relationships:

  • Hidden skills come to the fore.
  • Individuals are willing to try new things because they know their team has their back.
  • Failure is not an end, but an opening to learn and develop something new and better.

Quadrant 4 is the Unknown Area.

This area is information unknown to the individual and others. It is a source of latent abilities, skills and desires we possess or experiences we’ve buried in our subconscious for some reason. Information in this area can be positive or negative.

What do we do with this information on the Johari Window?

As Bold and Courageous Leaders, our goal is being in the Open Space as much as possible. It is part of who we are. The more we develop our Bold & Courageous identity, the deeper our awareness of self and how we interact with our context. We will always have blind and unknown areas. Intentionality helps us to manage these quadrants. Seeking self-awareness and feedback limits the size of our blind area. When I face a challenge in my leadership, looking for blind spots that impact others is part of my leadership responsibility. I don't just hold others accountable, but I also look in the mirror and take an account of my own behavior.

The Johari Window is a tool for increased self-awareness. It works for individuals and team development. It provides a framework for understanding relationships between people and teams. As a Bold & Courageous leader, I encourage you to consider this tool for your toolbox. Use it to make your team and your relationships safe places to be as open as possible.

Download a copy of the Johari Window.

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