Johari Window: For better communication
What is the Johari Window?
Self-perception describes the image that someone has of themselves. These perceptions create our self-image, which we constantly work on because we want to have the most positive image of ourselves possible.
External perception or image is the perception, feeling or evaluation that a third party has of someone and can be positive or negative.
The external image can be consistent with the self-image, leading to a boost in self-confidence. However, it can also be very different from one's self-image and lead to self-doubt. This can lead to an attempt to get as close as possible to the ideal image, so that the external image matches the ideal image.
The Johari Window is based on the idea that interpersonal communication works better when the self-image and the image of others match. When the self-image and the image of others match, the team can function better because communication and efficiency are not disrupted. But this is not the only thing that promotes cohesion; the reactions of team members can also be better assessed, because if you are aware of how you appear to others, your behaviour can be better understood.
The model is a dynamic process, which means that as team members get to know each other better, perceptions change.
The structure of the Johari Window
There are four different areas: The public area, the secret area, the blind spot and the unknown area. Each person behaves differently and has different knowledge of their own personality, so the size of each area can vary. However, it can usually be said that the unknown area takes up a very large part of this diagram because many of the characteristics of our personality are present there unconsciously.
In the secret area are the qualities that the person is aware of, i.e. they know them but do not make them available to others. These may not be shared with others because it is believed that they will not be well received.
The blind spot describes the things that the person unconsciously sends out and that are perceived by the receiver. As a result, others see traits that the person is not even aware of. By sharing this information with others, the person in question becomes aware of this characteristic, which can bring it out of the blind spot and into the public area. This is an example of how the size of the areas can change.
The unknown area is unknown to everyone, including the person concerned. It is practically at odds with all the other areas because there is no access to it.
The question now is how this theory can help the team work together.
When working in a team and making communication as positive as possible, public areas should be expanded. Communication should always be open, honest and authentic to avoid misunderstandings. Self-reflection is the key here, which means that it is important to constantly question how you see yourself.
To do this, it may be necessary to reveal parts of the secret area. Only as much as necessary, of course. Disclosure not only improves teamwork, it also relaxes the person. They no longer have to hide, which is also a big effort. It also takes the person out of their comfort zone by exposing them to things they don't normally come into contact with. In this way, the person becomes aware of their qualities, strengths, weaknesses or interests and can reduce the secret area. Trust is particularly important. But trust also has to be learnt, and one way of doing this is through open communication during the exercise. This raises the question of why people do not trust their own team. Perhaps it is assumed that secrets are not well received by colleagues, or that colleagues condemn secrets. If this question can be answered, a solution can be worked out. It would also help to build self-confidence, as a lack of self-confidence often prevents us from communicating openly.
But the exercise can also help you gain insight into your blind spots. Sometimes you are not even aware of the qualities you present to the outside world, and when you are made aware of them, you can work on getting closer to your own ideal image. External perception is important because it provides you with feedback. So you should always actively ask for it and try to keep this part as small as possible. But it is precisely with feedback that it is difficult to accept the opinions of others. That's why it's important to keep an open mind and to see feedback as constructive rather than destructive criticism.
This is another example of the interplay between the different areas. As a property moves from the blind spot into the public area, the size of each window changes.
However, it is important to remember that you cannot be on good terms with everyone, and that if you have a generally negative attitude towards someone, your image of that person will also be negative. You should therefore make sure that your view of the other person is well-founded. Especially in a team, it is important to check whether the remarks are made by several colleagues or just one. Certain characteristics will always cause displeasure, but if the majority are not affected, the question arises as to whether the problem is interpersonal or general. Therefore, some comments should be taken with a pinch of salt, or it should be made clear from the outset that constructive feedback will be given in order to make the best use of the Johari Window.