The Johari Window model is a simple and useful tool for illustrating, improving and developing mutual understanding between individuals within a personal or professional/work relationship or within a group. It is also used for increasing self-awareness, personal development, improving communications and group dynamics, team development and inter-group relationships. It fits well within the current mindfulness genre, and is a tool that forms part of the course for those wishing to master the RESOLVE model.
Conceptually everyone has a Johari Window. The four panes within the model are frequently referred to as ‘regions’ or ‘areas’ or ‘quadrants. Each of these regions contains and represents the information – feelings, motivation, etc. – about the person, in terms of whether the information is known, unknown or perceived by the person, and whether the information is known, unknown or perceived by others.
The Johari Window’s four regions, (areas, quadrants, or perspectives) are as follows, showing the quadrant’s commonly used names:
Johari window – four regions
- what is known by the person about him/herself and is also known by others – open area, open self, free area, free self, or ‘the arena’
- what is unknown by the person about him/herself but which others know – blind area, blind self, or ‘blind spot’
- what the person knows about him/herself that others do not know – hidden area, hidden self, avoided area, avoided self or ‘facade’
- what is unknown by the person about him/herself and is also unknown by others – unknown area or unknown self. In some respects, it represents your
This is the standard representation of the Johari Window model, showing each quadrant the same size.
However, The Johari Window ‘panes’ can be changed in size to reflect the relevant proportions of each type of ‘knowledge’ of, or about, a particular person in a given group or team situation.
There are numerous applications behind the concept: some of the most commonly used are:
- Building trust within a relationship by disclosing information about yourself.
- Being aware of how you are coming across to others when you are learning about how to manage a difficult relationship
- Using feedback and critique from others: which allow you to learn more about yourself, appreciate how others perceive you, and to gain greater insight into, and come to terms with, issues that are pertinent to you.
Explaining the idea of the Johari Window helps team members understand the value of self-disclosure, and you can encourage them to give, and accept, critiques and to take part in the constructive feedback process.
When these processes are completed competently, they help people build better, more trusting relationships with one another, solve issues, and work more effectively as a team.
The Johari Window concept links to other useful knowledge, model and theories:
- Bruce Tuckman’s Forming, Storming Norming Performing team development model
- The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership team development and management styles model
- Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence theory (EQ), and one’s awareness and development of emotional intelligence
- Transactional Analysis
- Maslow’s ‘self-actualization’ situated at the top of the Hierarchy of Needs.
Key questions you could ask yourself about your own Johari window:
- To what extent would revealing a little bit more about myself support the development of a challenging relationship I have at the moment? Trust is often built upon the like, know and then trust principle. If people don’t really know you, how will the relationship develop?
- If you were to develop an impartial and objective ear, what would you hear about your hidden aspects. Would these comments reveal an aspect of your subconscious bias? What if there was no smoke without fire, could I be own worst enemy in trying to get more out of a relationship than I am currently getting?
- Have I really explored my potential? Am I sitting in my comfort zone and just going along without really achieving anything? What if I stepped into my stretch zone just a bit, what might I discover about myself or maybe a situation I have at work that I am not comfortable with?