Leverage Johari Window to enhance interaction / interpersonal skills...

Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world. Miguel de Cervantes
How many of us are willing to reward somebody who helps us highlight our blinds spots? Not many, isn't it?  Whenever, somebody highlights our weaknesses, it is our tendency to defend or rebel. Recently, I heard somebody advising a friend, this guy retorted back, “apna girebaan dekha hai?”

It is imperative that we get out of this syndrome and really be thankful to those who take genuine and sincere interest in our development and help us identify our bottlenecks.

Now let’s understand the Concept where in we are able to measure a person’s ability to accept feedback and disclose information about themselves. Named after the first names of its inventors, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, Johari Window is a communication window for giving and receiving information. It is one of the most useful models describing the process of human interaction.
  
Let’s understand all four panes as depicted in the image briefly :

"Open" is the space where you have personal power; you have a voice, and there is authenticity and transparency between what is known to self and what is known to others. It represents things that both you know about yourself and others know about you. The more you know about yourself and the more you reveal to others, the larger your open area is.  When you are in open space, communication tend to be open and receptiveness for feedback also increases. People with large open window have Clear Image and are high on Confidence.
  
"Blind" is a space known to others and not know to self. It is the space of influence where your influence on others has not much openness. . This is at times also called the “bad breath” window. It contains behavior, feelings and motivations not accessible to the person, but which others can see i.e. physical mannerisms, certain personality characteristics etc. People with large blind spot would be who talk a lot, however, do not listen too well.

There is a classic example from animal kingdom which you would have come across at some point in time. Ostrich normally closes its eyes and hides its head underneath the ground thinking that ; as it is not able to see the world so the world also will not be able to see it. While the fact is that others do see it, and see right through whatever facade it enacts, only it is not aware of it.

"Hidden" spot is known to you, but you do not allow yourself to be known to others around you. This is primarily your personal and private self and includes your opinions, attitudes and biases. The reasons  for hiding could be previous bad experiences or unwanted personality traits, etc. How much we keep hidden, also depends on our proximity with another person.

"Unknown"  represents things that neither you know about yourself, nor do others around you know about it. These are things that are usually hidden in the unconscious. This maybe because we have never exposed those areas of our personality, or because they are buried deep in the subconscious.
   
It is natural tendency of people to present their OPEN area, and hoping their BLIND area is not too apparent. But when they are close to someone, whether family or close friends, they relax, and more of their HIDDEN self is revealed.

None of us would have just one window functional at all the times. We choose to move from one window to another and depending on our leadership style, our attributes and personality, one of these windows would primarily be functional most of the times. However, in general people who are silent in public have a very small Open window pane. They take no risk to disclose to others who their real self is (their professional work behavior and not their secret personal lives). They invite no feedback from others at work. They cannot be effective leaders since people find that they Blind side themselves and they are so Hidden that everyone finds them not only unclear and uncommunicative, but also untrustworthy. They only take the popular stand. They applaud the majority and try not to be noticed, or, if they speak, it is not they that speak.
 
To be a good leader it is imperative that your unknown shrinks and your openness projects so that people can tell you what you are blind to, that they see. Receptivity to feedback is a key here. Generally, it is through authentic feedback with a buddy, a Coach or a mentor that you come to know about your blind spots. They can help expand the Open Space and help reduce blind spots.

It is true that Self disclosure of personal secrets has its dangers. If you give people information about yourself, you give them power over you. Most secrets get passed along to at least two more parties. People also misjudge how others respond to secrets. There is no harm in protecting ourselves. The best thing to do is be cognizant of what you share and with whom, so take the plunge and just be yourself.

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