Bien se connaitreA tool for improving self-awareness: Johari Window

The Johari Window is a tool developed in the 1950s by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. It is designed to increase awareness of oneself and others (ie team members) in a work situation. The four Johari Window perspectives are called "areas" or "quadrants". Each of these areas contains and represents the information (feelings, motivation) known about a person, in terms of whether the information is known or unknown by them, and whether the information is known or unknown by others in the group. The model has also been referred to as a "disclosure/feedback model of self-awareness". The four areas are shown below:

  Known by self Unknown by self
Known by others Open Blind
Unknown by others Hidden Unknown

Diagram taken from Wilson.

The OPEN area identifies what is known by both ourselves and those around us. We can find out what is in this box by paying attention to open dialogue. This area represents strong relationships, ease of communication and free expression because all parties have agreed on what goes in here.

The BLIND area identifies what others know about us, but that we are unaware of ourselves. By actively seeking feedback from others, we can move elements into the open area (if others choose to enlighten us) - opening our eyes to strengths and weaknesses we have not yet recognised.

The HIDDEN area identifies things that we know about ourselves but consciously hide from those around us. These could include emotions like fear, resentment, self-doubt, some of which are best kept confidential. We may choose to move some factors into the open area by confiding in others, or may bring them into the open by displaying behavious that give us away.

The UNKNOWN area is made up of information that neither we, nor those around us, are aware of. By working on our self-awareness, and communicating with others, we may discover new talents or constraints that are holding us back.

Ideally, as much information as possible will be moved into the open area through this process; this is the healthy place where relationships work instinctively, ideas can be developed in conjunction with the team and potential conflict can be resolved.

The Johari Window technique obviously requires some skills from all individuals involved - communication skills, active listening skills, honesty and trust, resilience, flexibility, a non judgmental attitude.