Johari Window – Open Your Blinds!

The Johari window is one of the best tools for self-awareness and personal development when it comes to soft skills. The technique created by Joesph Luft and Harrington Ingham helps in understanding relationships, levels of trust, sharing and communication.

The window consists of 4 Areas.

Open Area: – This area represents the information about you which is openly known to yourself and to other individual/s. It could be simple things like your name, age, your likes or dislikes. This area also represents the subjects on which you have free and open communication with the other person or group of people.

Hidden Area: – The hidden area is the area of information about yourself known to you but not to the other person or group. There could be various reasons for doing this, either you have kept information hidden intentionally or did not find it important or relevant to disclose or were simply shy or hesitant in disclosing it.

Blind Area: – The blind area is the reverse of the hidden area. It is the information that is unknown to you but known to others. This could be an image or a perception that the other person or group has about you which you are not aware of. This is the area in which most the most learning and development can happen, provided you are able to “open this blind”.

Unknown Area: – As the name suggests this is the unknown or unexplored area. This area would contain behavioral aspects that neither you nor others are aware of. It could also contain the untapped potential or capability which you have never displayed. This sort of unknown behavior or potential gets uncovered when one is face to face with an extra-ordinary situation.

Unlike a conventional window, the quadrant areas of Johari window are flexible and can change sizes. For the purpose of self-awareness and personal development, the objective is to increase the size of the open area to its maximum and reduce the sizes of the other areas.

When you meet a person or a group of people for the first time, your open area is small as the amount of information that you would have exchanged with the person or group is limited. You would be yet to reveal a lot of information about yourself and the person will have only a small perception of you. Over a period of time with open and continuous communication, the open area slowly and naturally enlarges as you share more information with the other person or group and in turn receive more feedback.

After a while, the growth of the open area which has been happening naturally, stagnates. This is the stage when you stop sharing further information about yourself, mostly as you may have felt it’s not necessary to do so due to lack of trust. At the same time, the other person or group would also stop providing you feedback due to certain inhibitions.

Now to work on your self-awareness you need to make an extra effort to reveal more of yourself. You will be required to share more information about yourself and trust others with that information. Doing so might push you outside your comfort zone, and during this process you would also be able to unlock certain aspects of your behavior which were hidden in the unknown area. As a result, you would expand the open area thus reducing the hidden and unknown areas.

The next step is to ask for feedback and be open to any kind of feedback that might come your way. Remember, this is your blind area, it holds a lot of surprises for you. If you believe that the feedback you have received is not a true aspect of your behavior you still can’t discard it. You need to find out which action of yours created this perception in the mind of the person giving you the feedback.

The Johari window is a simple and easy model to understand and explain. It is usually the 1st step towards personal development, it is best to utilize psychometric assessments and 360 degree feedback to attain accurate and scientific feedback.

Varun Garg currently works as a Group HR Manager. He has over 13 years of HR experience in India and the UAE.

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