The model is an easy and helpful technique for:
● understanding and improving self-awareness
● personal development
● improving communications with team members
● enhancing interpersonal relationships
● fostering team development
Background of The Johari Window Model
The Johari window model is a technique that helps in improving understanding among team members. American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham developed this tool in 1955. The model’s name “Johari” is derived from the combination of the first two names of the psychologists. The model is used to help individuals get a better understanding of themselves and learn how they are seen by others. It is also known as the revelation or feedback model for raising self-awareness.
The Rationale Behind the Johari Window Model
The rationale behind the Johari Window model is that people have the inherent ability to consider one of four approaches when building interpersonal relationships with others. These include the following abilities:
● Revealing a lot of information to others
● Disclosing any information
● Taking feedback or criticism in a constructive way
● Disregarding or ignore any feedback about oneself
The Johari Window model can answer the following questions:
● What do others know about the individual?
● Are there things that others do not know about the individual that they should know?
● Some things that others know about the individual that the individual should know?
● What is unknown to the individual and those around the individual?
How is the Johari Window Model Used?
The Johari Window model is a very easy tool for learning about oneself. It also helps get an idea of how others see you. The model uses a list of common adjectives, usually 57 words. To use the Johari Window model, an individual applies the adjectives that describe them. It is helpful to use as many adjectives as possible. Then, the same adjectives are used to describe other members of the team. So if there are 4 team members, then the adjectives have to be used for each one of them. This step is very important for a fair evaluation. The words are then plotted on the Johari window.
The Four Quadrants in Johari Window Model
The Johari window model has four quadrants or panes. Each pane represents some information. The model actually looks like a window when drawn. The four quadrants or panes are open area – known to you and others, blind spot or area- unknown to self but known to others, hidden area – known to you but hidden from others, and unknown area – not known to you or others.
1. Open Area
The first quadrant or window is known as the open area. It represents information that you know as well as others who know you. This information can be anything about an individual, including emotions, behavior, skills, besides others.
For example, say you are giving a public speech in an open arena. During the opening of your speech, you have to introduce yourself to the audience. You give out your name, title, qualifications, how long you will be speaking, and the subject matter to the audience. This reveals information about yourself to the audience. Feelings and opinions can also fall under this area. The bigger the open area is, the more effective is the communication. This in turn leads to the development of trust and authentic relationships.
2. Blind Area
The blind quadrant or blind spot area represents all the things that you are not aware of yourself. However, others around you are aware of these traits or behavior. For example, you may unintentionally arrive late at an important meeting and others present at the meeting might perceive that as being irresponsible and insincere behavior. Or you may be someone who is introverted in nature and does not speak up much at meetings, others may perceive that as not being interested in the meeting or having an air of attitude about yourself. The bigger this area is, the less effective is the communication. By receiving information or feedback from others, an individual can gain insight about themselves and improve.
3. Hidden or Facade Area
The third quadrant in the Johari window model is the hidden or facade quadrant. This section represents things that are known to you but not to others around you. It may consist of private information, emotions, experiences you do not wish to reveal about yourself to others. If an individual trusts another person, he may wish to reveal something personal about himself. This is how strong and deeper relationships are built.
4. Unknown Area
Finally, the fourth quadrant or windowpane represents the unknown area where no communication exists. Neither the individual nor those around him are aware of it. The unknown area may contain information such as subconscious memories from childhood, hidden beliefs, or feelings the individual is unaware of.
Benefits of Johari Window Model
The Johari window model provides various benefits not only to achieve better self-awareness but also to improve relationships with others through effective
communication and help foster team building.
The Johari Window is a helpful and easy-to-use self-analysis tool. It provides an individual with the opportunity to get a better understanding of his strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats by taking into account views from other people.
The model aids in enhancing interpersonal relationships as the model allows everyone to interact with each other and provide feedback on personal development.
The Johari window model is based on the concept of increasing trust between individuals, and thus, it paves the way for effective and open communication. This way it helps to increase understanding between individuals in a group or within a team.
Strong team building requires interaction and open communication between members. This model boosts the interpersonal relationships among the team members by helping each other get to know each other better.
The model provides an opportunity for self-improvement since the blind spot area reveals facts, behavior or traits unknown to an individual but known to others. This allows the individual to learn things about himself not known but perceived by others and take action to reduce or correct those attitudes, behavior, habits and so on.
The Johari window model also helps in creating open conversations and exchanging feedback within a team. This fosters team bonding and enhances performance. It achieves this by developing a mutual understanding among the team members and removing the scope of miscommunication.
The Johari Window Model in Self-development
Finding out what your Johari Window represents requires honesty on your part. You will also need a group of peers or team – people you trust. For starters, you need to choose some adjectives that you think describe you from a setlist. Additionally, ask your peers or team members to do the same. After each of you has completed the task, you can spot the differences between the adjectives you and your peers chose for you. Once you gain a clear understanding of where the differences are you can devise a plan to help improve yourself.
How to discover your Johari Window model?
1. Choose people you trust and who you think knows you, or members of your team if you are in a working environment.
2. Review the list of 57 words and circle as many words as you can that you think best describe you.
3. Also, ask your peers or team members to complete the same task and let them choose the words they think best fit you.
4. Place words in the respective window panes.
5. Position words your peers or team members chose for you but you didn’t in the blind spot area and leave the remaining words in the unknown space.
6. After you have reviewed each of the four panes in the Johari window, you can get a better insight about yourself, and how your peers and team members perceive you.
The Johari Window Model in Team Building
A group may consist of several members with each individual having a distinct personality. When a group project includes a diverse range of members, it is very likely for miscommunication to occur. This can happen especially if the team members are not so familiar with each other. In fact, many studies show that the majority of failed projects happen due to communication gaps between team members. In such cases, team members can use tools like the Johari window to improve communication. Furthermore, it can enhance understanding between members while reducing friction. It can also help in eliminating the scope of misunderstandings.
Common Communication Problems in Groups
It is imperative to have clear communication in project management. This is because a group consists of distinct individuals with unique skills and experiences. Together they need to carry out multiple tasks and achieve a certain goal within a specified timeline. However, lack of trust or team spirit can discourage the individuals so the entire project can fall apart.
Here are some effects of the absence of open communication between team members:
● Absence of clear vision – Each team member of the group may have a different idea of what the ultimate goal of the project is. As a result, each member works differently, resulting in confusion, delay, or failure of the project.
● Lack of coordination and cooperation among the members – If individuals within a team are not familiar with each other and do not have a better understanding of each other, they fail to coordinate and cooperate with each other adequately, and as a result, the project may suffer.
● No appreciation or recognition – Without proper instructions on the different roles and responsibilities of the individuals in a team, the efforts of individual team members may go unnoticed. This can demotivate the team members and they are likely to underperform but proper methods have to be developed for fair evaluation and justified appreciation.
Implications of the Johari Window model and Team Development
In a team project or any group, the ultimate goal is the expansion and development of the open space area in the Johari Window model. This is the objective for all the individuals in a group. This is because the open area represents clear and effective communication between members and leads to better team bonding.
Build strong work relationships
The Open Quadrant reduces the scope of misunderstanding and mistrust among members. It achieves this by creating opportunities for clear communication between members. It covers a vast range of topics, information, feelings, views, etc. The portion of the open area provides opportunities for building strong work relationships.
Most of the time, people who know each other will have larger open areas while those who are new or unfamiliar with others will have smaller open areas.
The open area can increase by disclosing information from the blind spot or hidden area. This can happen as a result of the natural progression of time. It can be through team-building activities, engaging with each other. It can also be through exchanging feedback and criticism. However, private and confidential information does not fall in the open area. Personal space needs to be there, even among peers. A healthy group includes members who respect each other’s personal space while being empathetic towards each other and authentic.
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Make better-informed decisions
The Blind Spot Area is the region that mostly contains ways to enhance personal and team development. The individual can make better-informed decisions on behavioural changes while fostering team bonding by sharing strengths and weaknesses.
The blind spot traits in this area can range from skills and expertise to behavioural issues which have scope for improvement. Irrespective of the type of information revealed here, constructive criticism and feedback can help the individual become a better person and a more productive worker. Information in the blind spot areas help in the expansion of the open area.
The Hidden Area contains the personal information of an individual. It is best to reveal information in this quadrant cautiously to other individuals as it can have negative consequences. However, if the organization’s culture is based on mutual trust and respect, revealing can help both the team and individual to grow and develop.
Expand comfort zone
The Unknown Area is the area containing the highest potential unknown to individuals and others around the individual. Getting into the unknown area of the Johari Window model can help an individual expand his comfort zone. It can also help gain a better understanding of others around an individual. Although it can be a challenge to bring awareness to the feelings, emotions, beliefs and thoughts that exist in the Johari window unknown quadrant, it is not entirely impossible.
Professional Leadership Institute (PLI) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in entrepreneurial leadership. To keep evolving your leadership toolkit, additional PLI resources below will be useful:
1. How Being Competent Can Help Improve Team Performance
2. How To Apologize In The workplace, And Mean It
3. A Guide To Professionalism