The Johari Window

Johari Model to improve self awareness
Source: Wikipedia

What is the Johari Window Model?

When you communicate with others, do you feel a gap in the conversation or misunderstanding and a resultant tense circumstance? Have you ever felt that you need to understand your relationship with yourself and the others around you effectively? To address such situations, the Johari window model was postulated by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955. 

Proposed while studying group dynamics at the University of California, the aim of the Johari Window Model is to gain insight into the behaviour of oneself and others. This improves self-awareness and mutual understanding, especially when individuals are in a group. The model is also referred to as the Feedback/Disclosure Model of Self Awareness.

The Johari Window Model

Corresponding with the name of the model, Joseph and Harrington describe it in the form of a ‘window’ with four panes. These four panes or quadrants represent four perspectives based on information being known or unknown to self or to others.

Before understanding the meaning of these quadrants and how a person can be portrayed using this Model, let us also understand the description of this Model as explained by philosopher Charles Handy. He sees this as a house with four distinct rooms; thus naming it the ‘Johari House with Four Rooms. Personal information, feelings, emotions, behaviour, skills, views etc. are attributed to these four quadrants based on their characteristics and the size of these panes are expanded or contracted to amend the quality of the situation.

Four quadrants of a Johari Window

1. Arena or Open Area of Johari Window

This is the first “room” which stands for the part of you that is seen by you as well as others. It includes the details that you know about yourself and is willing to share with those around you. Thus, communication happens within this arena in two ways. First, you take part in telling others about yourself, and second, if people have any opinions or issues, you actively listen to their feedback. 

2. Blind Spot of Johari Window

The second pane or room includes the information that you don’t know about yourself but others do. This might happen because of various reasons; for example, others might observe things about you that you simply turn a blind eye to or they might interpret you, unlike yourselves. Understanding the information in the ‘Blind Spot’ can be beneficial because it can spell out a person’s strengths and weaknesses.

3. Facade or Hidden Area of Johari Window

As the name suggests, the Johari window Hidden Area represents the private information that you know about yourself but hide from others. One might want to keep certain personal facts under this ‘facade’ for privacy concerns, to keep some relationships unaffected, due to a fear of judgment or other reasons.

4. Unknown Area of Johari Window

Information about a person that no one can recognize – the person himself or others – is contained in the unknown area. Unconvincing, right? There can be qualities about you that have not been recognised yet. It is opined that this happens because of some traumatic experience in the past or simply because there are many new situations that you haven’t faced until now and thus your reaction to it is unknown. With open conversations or new experiences, this pane of the Johari Window can be diminished.

What does the Johari Window show us?

Imagine a situation where you enlist information that you know about yourself and then, you ask people around you – your family members, friends, colleagues etc. – for information about yourself. Whatever that you had previously noted is to be put into the Open Space and all that you didn’t already know goes into the Blind Spot. Anything that you find missing from these two quadrants is put into the Hidden Area. The Unknown Area is open for exploration. 

This simple activity is to enhance your self-awareness. Depending on the circumstance, information in these quadrants can be changed in order to assess the size of the panes of the Window. This can be done to improve the quality of conversation and build befitting relationships. For example, when you meet someone for the first time, the Open Area and the Blind Spot are larger than the other two quadrants. Once you are aware of this and you decide on the quality of the relationship that you desire to establish with the person, you can considerably increase the size of the smaller quadrants.

Examples of Johari Window Model

When you socialize with people, information can be transferred among the panes of the Johari Window using two mechanisms. 

Self Disclosure- This means that you reveal information about yourself to others. Self Disclosure takes place with increased interactions with others and establishes mutual trust. For example, a motivational speaker can share anecdotes from his life to encourage his audience. By doing this, he captures the attention of the audience and forms a gripping relationship with them.

Self disclosure in johari window model

Feedback Mechanism- To learn about yourselves, feedback from other members can serve as an important tool. Gathering feedback can reduce the Blind Spot and subsequently widen the Open Space. Moreover, feedback works even better after self disclosure! For instance, your friend who already knows you well might give you a better evaluation of why you are facing relationship issues than your colleague.

feedback as Johari window model example

How to use The Johari Model

While using The Johari Model, the aim is to understand each of the areas in the window and expand your open area by reducing the hidden area (also known as a facade). The window helps you in understanding yourself better and also promotes better relationships with people. 

The Johari Window is useful in improving self-awareness, better communication with others and building trustful relationships.

There are four simple steps to use The Johari Model 

  1. Write down all the things you know about yourself. Start by writing down a minimum of 10 things which can be qualities, skills or “I am” sentences. Describe your strengths and weaknesses. 
  2. Talk and ask your close ones to pick the things from the lot that they agree on. Include the agreed ones in the Open Area. Enter the remaining things into the Hidden Area.
  3. Now ask them what things they have to add about you. From the things they tell/write, pick things you already know and include them in the Open Area like before. Things left that you didn’t know will be entered in the Blind Area.
  4. Take some time to reflect and understand the things you want to enter and are unaware of. This can be “Why am I not patient enough?” or “Why can’t I manage my time properly?”
Understanding hidden area of a johari model
Using Johari Model to improve your relationship with yourself and others

Where to use The Johari Window Model

The Johari Window is usually used for self-discovery. It can be used both personally and professionally. It helps you discover things about yourself and learn new things that you were unaware of. This is used to develop leadership skills and efficient teams in organizations. This model focuses on improving communication and social skills. Out of all models used for exploring or knowing about oneself, The Johari Window is the best for personal growth. This model is also used in groups, workplaces, business corporations, family therapy, etc., 

The Johari Window is a framework or model that is used for self-awareness, personal growth and discovery. It’s a unique model that is different for each person and can help you in different ways. You can put it into use at your workplace, while addressing a huge crowd or a target audience, with your friends, family and your someone special! 

On the Evolve app, there is a journey to become more self-aware that is designed with experts and is a simulation of an in-person workshop, which helps you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and core values. It uses the Johari Window and other such techniques to help you discover yourself and your personality better.

Evolve helps make your personal growth joyful and simple and helps you balance your stress, anxiety within minutes. The Evolve app is now live globally on Android & Apple, click here to try for free!

*Lalitha Pidatala is a co-contributor to this article.

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