Everyone wants to improve his communication skills especially when it comes to interaction with groups. Similarly, you also want to establish good and long lasting relationships with others. It is also imperative for you to enhance your productivity and effectiveness to survive and thrive in extremely competitive modern world. You can accomplish all these tasks only if you manage to build your self-awareness.

You must be fully aware of your surroundings, feelings and thoughts. Furthermore, you should have full awareness about your abilities, skills as well as your attitudes and behaviors. Do you behave exactly how people think you behave? Yes will be answer of majority of the people but it is not usually the case.

In fact, how others think of you can be totally different from what you perceive of yourself. It also means you are lacking awareness about yourself which can hamper your personal and professional growth as well.

There are many techniques you can employ to enhance your self-awareness. There is also a plethora of tools which enable you to improve your communication and relationship skills. One such tool is the Johari Window Model.

JOHARI WINDOW: A SELF AWARENESS MODEL

Johari Window is one of the most popular and effective models you can use to improve your self-awareness. American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham created Johari Window Model back in 1955.

The main purpose of the model is to enhance and understand communication between different members of the group. Ingham and Luft derived the idea of the model from the findings of the group study conducted by University of California. Both psychologists joined their first names to invent the word Johari. Some experts also call the model as Feedback/Disclosure Model of Self-Awareness.

You can benefit a lot from Johari Window Model especially if you interact or work with groups regularly. As the model enables you to understand how people think of you, you can enhance your self-awareness as well as your awareness of all members of the group. Subsequently, you will be able to develop better relationships with them.

There are many other benefits of Johari Model as well. It will not only improve your communication skills but will also help you enhance your metacognitive abilities and improve your relationship building skills. Most importantly, you can have better understanding of who you are and what the world’s perception about you is.

EMPHASIZE ON SOFT SKILLS

Unlike other self-development and awareness tools, Johari Model basically focuses on improving your non-technical skills. It is imperative for everyone to enhance their soft skills because these are actually the abilities, traits and skills related to some of the most important human functions.

For instance, this particular model of self-awareness put emphases on the method you use to communicate rather than what you communicate. Similarly, it also emphasizes on the need of being polite and pleasant during group communications.

In simple worlds, Johari Window fosters improved human relationships and better self-awareness by enhancing one’s communication skills. In this regard, some of the soft skills Johari model concentrates on are as following.

  • Self-Awareness
  • Personal Development
  • Group Dynamics
  • Improving Communications
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Team Development

EXPLANATION OF JOHARI WINDOW MODEL

In its essence, the Johari Window is a psychological model which deals with interpersonal relationships especially in the groups. Similarly, it also encourages mutual understanding between members of the group. The theory behind the model is very simple. It allows people to reveal everything about them and in turn, build more awareness about each other.

People actually develop trust among each other by opening about themselves. The only outcome of the entire process is strengthening of the relations.

FOUR AREAS OF JOHARI WINDOW MODEL

Let us talk about actually how the Johari Window Model works. The model actually contains four quadrants each of which represents the level of your own self-awareness and how much knowledgeable people are about you.

Different experts use different names for these quadrants. Following lines explain these quadrants or areas one by one.

Quadrants of Johari Window Model

Open Area or Arena

Things falling in this category are open that is everyone knows about them. You have full understanding of your capabilities and skills. You have full awareness of your actions and behaviors. You are also open and honest about your feelings and thoughts.

Similarly, other members of the group or anyone you interact with recognize what you are try to communicate and understand your feelings either verbally or non-verbally.

Furthermore, your capabilities and skills and all the information related to you is fully visible to them.

Hidden Area or Façade

Façade is the area where you know absolutely everything about yourself. However, your abilities, skills, capabilities and thoughts falling in this particular category are hidden to others or you simply don’t want to share anything with them.

For example, there may be an idea or thought cultivating in your brain. Or, there may be some things which you know but decide to conceal them from others. Similarly, the people around you have no idea what you are thinking or going through. In simple words, you know everything in the Façade quadrant but other people don’t.

Blind Spot

It is the area which is fully visible to others but you don’t have any idea about it. For example, some of your actions and behaviors are affecting other people in a particular way but you are unable to realize it. You are communicating in a certain manner or showing different behaviors which only your friends or members of family are able to recognize.

Similarly, you are unable to identify some of your abilities and skills but people around you are fully aware of them due to prior experiences. They can understand what you are going through or feel but you cannot.

Unknown Area

Unknown area is your skills, capabilities and behaviors which are hidden both to you and other people. For instance, there are certain things which are part and parcel of your personality but you as well as people around you know nothing about them. In this case, you yourself are totally unaware of some of your thoughts, feelings, skills and abilities, nothing to talk about others.

You need to remember that Open Area is the most important of all the areas of Johari Window. The goal of this particular model is to enable everyone to become more effective and productive by acquiring the right knowledge, necessary to develop personally and professionally. There is no point in sharing sensitive personal details. You only need to share and get information which will help everyone in the group communicate better and make right decisions in addition to satisfactorily completing the tasks at hand.

Some people are naturally honest and more open about themselves as compared to others. It has been scientifically proven that such people tend to be more productive and successful in workplace and life. Therefore, the Johari Window Model basically helps people in other three quadrants to be progressively more open and attain same level of success the people in first quadrant normally do.

TWO MAIN STEPS OF JOHARI WINDOW MODEL

The Johari Window actually involves two distinct steps which are explained as under.

Be Honest with Yourself

You need to start with making a list of your strengths and weaknesses. You need to be honest with yourself and there should be no amalgamation of lies in your story. Similarly, you should only talk about your weaknesses and strengths which are not too personal and you are comfortable to share them with others.

Disclosing more and more information about yourself will help you build trust with people in addition to changing the way they perceive of you. It is also advisable to run different Self Awareness Diagnostic tests along with the Johari Window and be clear about what you already know about yourself.

Ask for Constructive Feedback

The second step is to get constructive feedback about you from others. You must always listen even if someone is criticizing you badly. You need to be open- minded and recognize the fact they may be right. You don’t need to implement everything they suggest. However, you will learn a great deal about yourself from their feedback no matter it is good or bad. You will be able to increase your effectiveness and enhance your self-awareness by coming to terms with issues and problems in your life.

Some people prefer to take the step two on one-on-one basis or with groups depending upon their level of confidence. However, experts do recommend the later technique because different people may provide varied feedback for the same behavior or skill.

You need to keep in mind that some people are better at giving feedback than others. What you must do is to be respectful of everyone’s feedback and reflect on what they are saying. These feedbacks may actually lead you to the path of rediscovering yourself.

There is nothing wrong in saying that you can actually encourage other members of the group to honestly explain their story as well as give and accept constructive feedbacks by using Johari Model. If you manage to understand the model and use it properly, you can easily improve your relationship and communication skills as well as your own self-awareness.

HOW TO MAKE FULL USE OF JOHARI WINDOW MODEL?

Johari Window is a great psychological tool to improve self-awareness. Following lines explain how you can make most of this extremely popular model.

The Open Area

You need to ask yourself a question. In which quadrant of Johari Window you want to be? If you are a man with a mission and want to attain your goals, you will end up in the first one, the Open Area. The more open you are with your behaviors, communications and feelings more others will understand you and the things you value the most.

Ultimately, they will be able to help you achieve your objectives. It is also in this area that you establish trust and relationship. It is also the area with highest levels of cooperation among members of a group.

Hidden Area

When it comes to Façade, it is the area where you practically conceal your thoughts and feelings from others. You have every right not to disclose your private thoughts and any other information. However, others will like to know your feelings, thoughts as well as where do you stand about a certain issue for them to be able to help you. They will be in better position to learn how you feel and operate if you try to be more open and honest about yourself.

Similarly, people will have more awareness of your skills and capabilities if you are willing to reveal more around them. They will be able to identify the areas where they can assist you through teaching, coaching, mentoring or by providing you with support and guidance.

Blind Area

Now, let us talk about the Blind Spot. It is perhaps the most exciting area of the Johari Window Model. If you want to perform to your true potential and get more awareness around your behaviors and their impact on other people, you need to minimize or even try to eliminate this area. However, it is particularly difficult to find something if you have no idea where to find it and same is the case with the Blind Spot. The solution to this problem is continuously asking for feedback.

Feedback enables you to identify your hidden skills and talents as well as things you don’t know you are doing. Feedback, no matter from where it originated, enables you to be more productive and effective by helping you improve your communication skills and self-awareness. Feedback is especially important when it comes to learning and developing new skills and polishing those you already possess. Similarly, it will also empower you to move upward to the Open area.

The Unknown Area

You must always stay out of the Unknown area. This quadrant is usually full of people who are inexperienced or low in self-confidence and belief. You may have many skills and abilities. But if you are in this quadrant, you will not be able to identify or practice any of them.

You will simply fail to discover a lot of things about yourself if you hold back certain attitudes or limit self-confidence. You need to get rid of the fear of venturing into the unknown. On most occasions, you will have to break out of your comfort zone to get out of this quadrant and move towards any of the other quadrants in the Johari Window Model.

Testing your limits and experimentation will help you discover more about yourself and your skills and abilities. Similarly, it is also important to build trust and good relationship with people. They can point out some of your traits and abilities which you may not be able to recognize at your own. Moreover, you can also enhance self-awareness and identify certain traits by asking for feedback from others just like in the case of Blind Spot.

HOW TO USE JOHARI WINDOW MODEL?

There are many different applications of Johari Window Model. However, the application process remains almost the same.

  • You will start by explaining the model in detail to your group or team.
  • The next step is to encourage people to think how they can help others to be more open and honest.
  • Build trust and disclosure by sharing small and harmless details in the beginning.
  • Keep going slow until your team opens up and is ready to share other details, feelings, thoughts, ambitions and goals. It will also help everyone build trust and long lasting relationship with each other.
  • Help your team members get together and talk regularly. In fact, you need to arrange regular sessions to attain above mentioned goals.
  • You also need to ensure people only disclose what they really want to. It is not advisable to disclose someone’s deepest and darkest secrets, especially in the start. Secondly, you should also ensure people don’t damage self-respect of others and only disclose positive things.
  • It is also imperative for you to ensure people give and accept feedback regularly. It not only promotes personal growth but also helps people move from the Blind Spot in the model to the Open area.
  • The feedback should not be sensitive especially for the person who is not used to feedbacks and takes them as an offense. Therefore, you need to start gradually and be gentle while giving feedbacks.
  • Constant feedback is the backbone of Johari Window Model. You also need to share and celebrate your discoveries together. Similarly, also foster self-discovery and self-disclosure if you want your team members to establish respect and understanding for each other and ensure mutual growth.
  • Spend some time on developing your constructive communication skills because your constructive feedback can change someone’s life forever.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS OF JOHARI WINDOW MODEL

As mentioned above, Johari Window is one of the best tools you can use to improve self-awareness, discover your hidden potential and build long lasting relationships. However, nothing in this world is perfect and same is the case with Johari Window. There are two possible drawbacks of Johari Window Model which sometimes undermine its effectiveness.

  • People sometimes reveal too much personal information either intentionally or unintentionally and this can be really dangerous. Anyone with malicious intentions can use the information against you. Therefore, you need to be really careful when you share your information with someone.
  • People from different cultures react differently to different things. For some people, being open about them is not a big deal but others don’t like any of their personal information to get public. Therefore, people from different cultures may not speak the truth about certain things. They may even find it offensive if someone else shares the similar information about himself.

CONCLUSION

Overall, Johari Window is an extremely powerful, effective, elegant yet simple model for improving self-awareness. If used properly, it can dramatically improve your personal and professional life. The easiest way to optimize value for people is to make them understand things around them and this is what Johari Window Model accomplishes.

When people comprehend things in their own way, they also use the thinking methods the way they want.

As a result, they gain invaluable knowledge which they can utilize in their future thinking and behaviors.

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