Using The Johari Window Model For Self Awareness


Johari Window ModelWhether it is within a family setting or perhaps an employment environment, group dynamics play a critical role in determining how well everyone gets along with one another.

It also matters whether or not certain tasks get accomplished.

Yet within the concept of group dynamics, it is also equally important to focus on yourself in terms of gaining self-awareness.

By doing so, you not only learn how to improve interpersonal development, but also how better to empathize and cooperate with others.

To forge ahead and gain mutual understanding about yourself as well as your role within various groups, many people have had great success using the Johari Window Model.

Of course if you are like me, you never heard of this exercise for self awareness.

But trust me when I say that once you learn about it, your life will never be the same.

Here is the ultimate guide to the Johari Window model and how you can use it to improve yourself.

Using The Johari Window Model For Self Awareness

What Is The Johari Window?

Developed in 1955 by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, the Johari Window is viewed as both a feedback as well as disclosure tool for gaining self-awareness.

Based on two main ideas, Johari would be used to enhance your perception on others.

As for the two main ideas behind Johari, the first is that you will acquire trust by revealing information about yourself to others.

The second idea, which is that you will be able to learn more about yourself based on group feedback, is equally as important.

These two ideas work hand-in-hand to produce positive self awareness results as you are learning better communication skills.

The Four Quadrants

When using on the Johari Window, you will notice it is comprised of four windows, which are often referred to as quadrants.

Each quadrant or window pane, signifies a key aspect of self-awareness.

Johari Window Model Four Quadrants

These quadrants include:

  • Personal information
  • Feelings
  • Motivation
  • Information known or unknown to yourself or others

The quadrants are often referred to as window panes and for good reason.

By being seen as window panes, most people are able to use this model quite effectively, since everyone can relate to looking in or out a window in search of .

Here are the details of each pane.

Johari Quadrant 1

While known generally as the “public arena,” we usually prefer to use the term “area of free activity” when referring to Quadrant One of the Johari Window.

Within this area lies the information about yourself that is known not only to yourself, but also to the other group members.

Comprised of your feelings, attitudes, behaviors, knowledge, skills, emotions, and viewpoints, this window pane is critical to group success.

Using the model, the group’s goal is to develop this section as much as possible for each member, since this will create better communication and cooperation.

In facilitating extensive feedback and disclosure, you are able to cast aside negative aspects such as mistrust, confusion, and lack of understanding.

You instead replace them with teamwork, optimism, and clarity of thought and communication.

Though this area usually starts out very small for each group member, we’ve found it expands rapidly as more feedback and disclosure are given out and taken in by each individual.

Johari Quadrant 2

Known as the “blind spot,” Quadrant Two is an area that we’ve found can be the toughest for individuals and groups to conquer.

Containing what is known about yourself by others in the group, it also contains what you are unaware of at the time.

As you have probably imagined by now, the goal of the group is to reduce this window pane to as small a size as possible.

To do so, however, it will take a combination of you soliciting feedback from others as well as a willingness on your part to acknowledge how others view you.

There is right or wrong here. It is simply a perception.

Within this window pane, you may find your feelings getting hurt due to the feedback you receive.

Thus, while making every attempt to let others learn as much as possible about yourself, remember you do still have the ability to use discretion as to what is revealed.

The same holds true for groups member too. They can and should use discretion when providing feedback.

Johari Quadrant 3

As for this quadrant, we refer to it as the “facade” because it is commonly known as the hidden self, the hidden area, or avoided area.

Quadrant Three of Johari contains what we know about ourselves, yet choose to keep hidden from others.

This can represent many varied things, such as:

  • Fears and sensitivities
  • Hidden agendas
  • Feelings
  • Manipulative intentions

Whatever the case may be, we have found it critical you be able to move as many of your feelings and other thoughts from this section to Quadrant One through the process of self-disclosure.

In doing so, you may fear judgement by others or making yourself appear vulnerable.

But along the way you will instead find other group members will extend emotional support and mutual understanding.

When this occurs, the result is greater awareness of each individual group member, leading to improved individual performances and improved group effectiveness.

Johari Quadrant 4

Perhaps the most bewildering window pane to many who use Johari, Quadrant Four is the “unknown area.” It contains information unknown to yourself as well as other group members.

Be it feelings and attitudes or capabilities and skills you may not even know you possess, Quadrant Four of Johari is usually quite large in regards to younger individuals.

This is also true for those who lack tremendous amounts of experience or self-confidence as well.

As for what may be contained in this area, examples include:

  • Repressed or subconscious feelings
  • Conditioned behaviors from your childhood
  • Unknown abilities
  • Unknown fears or aversions

As to how this information and knowledge can be uncovered, we usually find collective or mutual discovery works best.

To make this happen, a group will often embark on intensive group activities, which can include wilderness outings, group counseling sessions, or perhaps taking a class together or attending a seminar or workshop.

Closely related to Maslow’s process of self-actualization, the discoveries made in this area may find their way into any of the previous three quadrants.

This depends on who makes the discoveries and how they choose to use their new-found knowledge.

The Four Personas

Another way of looking at the Johari Window Model is through the lens of the Four Personas.

Four Personas

Each section of the model describes a different part of the person using it.

The Open Persona

This is a type of person who is very happy to share themselves with others is self-aware.

As a result, they have small Blind, Private, and Undiscovered selves.

Open Persona

The person that identifies here is very confident in who they are and not can take criticism, but are open to it as well.

The downside to this persona is that that they do not fully understand others.

Because of this, they may overshare personal information that embarrasses others.

The Naïve Persona

The Naïve person is one who has a very large blind spot.

They can make a fool of themselves in public and not even realize it.

Naive Persona

They also tend to lack emotional intelligence, making relationships difficult.

The problem is many are the type who wear their heart on their sleeve, so breakups can get messy.

The Secret Persona

This is a person who has a very large Private Self. They tend to be introverts who appear to be secretive or distant to others.

They shy away from conflict and are most happy being alone and in private.

Secret Persona

The problem with this persona is lack of overall confidence in public settings.

The Mysterious Persona

A person with a Mysterious persona might be mistaken for the Secret Persona at first.

But there is a big difference.

Mysterious Persona

This type of person is not only mysterious to others, but also to themselves.

They act in weird ways and do not notice it.

Another big difference is this persona tends to not be introverted.

They are outgoing, but prefer to do things alone.

Overall, most people that fall into this persona tend to have both a low intellect and low emotional intelligence.

Johari Window Examples

As for examples of how Johari works, the first involves developing the open area and reducing the blind spot via feedback.

In our experiences, we have found group discussions and activities increase the open area, since they foster a sense of trust and mutual understanding.

By having a team be able to understand its members, the team as a whole, and the role each member plays in achieving success, the full potential of team members and the team itself are realized.

In a second example, we will concentrate on how the Johari Window will look for an established member of a team.

In these situations, Quadrant One is quite large, since other group members as well as the individual know much about them.

But as the process of disclosure and feedback begins, the open area expands even more, while each of the other three areas reduce in size.

As understanding is clarified through these processes, the team and its members are allowed to mature emotionally.

By doing so, less time and energy is spent on trying to gain understanding and clarification, while more time is spent on focusing on the task at hand.

The Johari Window Test

Regardless if you use this model in a business setting or not, it is an exercise in self discovery.

If you want to learn more about yourself, here is a simple Johari Window exercise you can perform alone.

First, develop a set of adjectives and pick a handful from the list that that you feel best describe you.

Then, ask others to choose adjectives from the complete list as well that they believe best describe you.

Finally, compare the words you both chose.

  • The words both you and others chose to describe you point to your Public Self
  • The words you did not choose but they did and surprise you point to your Blind Self
  • The words you chose but they did not and are surprised at point to your Hidden Self
  • Words that neither of you chose but that interest you point to your Undiscovered Self

With this simple exercise, you can learn a lot about yourself and how others see you as well.

Importance Of The Johari Window Model

If you are like many people we have encountered along the way, you may be wondering why the Johari Window is so important within business settings and other group situations.

In our experiences, we have been able to pinpoint many key reasons why Johari can make such dramatic differences within groups.

For starters, the disclosure and feedback generated from group discussions ultimately leads to the group being able to find a rationale and justification for why a person has exhibited certain behaviors or feelings related to various situations.

In addition, the self-awareness you gain as an individual and as a group member leads to you having more confidence in yourself and your other team members.

Third, as the team improves their effective communication skills, the company as a whole runs smoother and more efficient.

Finally, being able to uncover hidden areas that may have held you back for many years can unleash tremendous abilities you never thought possible.

Thus leading to greater team harmony and effectiveness no matter the situation.

Johari And Situational Leadership

Though used in many different large settings, you will most often find the Johari Window used in employment situations in an effort to help improve situational leadership.

Viewed as a key aspect of success in team projects, situational leadership is based on the concept of each individual group member being able to take charge of the project at any given time.

By using Johari to encourage disclosure and feedback, the essential element of trust begins to form among all group members.

Once this takes place, it then becomes far easier for you to place your trust in a fellow member.

As this spreads throughout your group, the result is success that can be built upon time and time again.

Final Thoughts

Considered a powerful method to increase human interaction and allow us to understand one another, the Johari Window Model can empower individuals and groups in numerous ways.

If you feel as if you and your team in an employment or other situation could benefit from increased trust and understanding, we highly recommend using the Johari Window.

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