The Johari Window: How to Build Self-Awareness & Achieve Success



Do you want to enhance your relationships with others? Are you wanting to improve your communication skills? Do you want to become more effective and productive? If so, then you need to build your self-awareness. How aware are you currently of your own thoughts and feelings? What about your skills and abilities, or your attitude or behaviours? Is what you think about yourself and your behaviours the same as how others see you and your behaviours? I hope so, but so often is the case, what you think about yourself can be completely different to how others perceive you!

The Johari Window is a useful tool for helping you build self-awareness and gain an understanding of how others perceive you. If you are working with others on a regular basis, the Johari Window is particularly good for helping you build your awareness and relationships with those in the group. What else can you get from this tool? Using the Johari Window will help improve your communications with others, enhance your relationship skills, develop your metacognitive ability and most importantly, give you more clarity around who you are and how your representing yourself to the world.

 

The Johari Window

The Johari Window was developed by American Psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955... have a guess at how the word 'Johari' came about! Let's have a look at how it works.

The model is divided into 4 quadrants that represent your self-awareness and awareness from others.

1) Arena

The Arena is the area which is known to all. You are open about your thoughts and feelings,  you are aware of your behaviours and have an understanding of your skills can capabilities. Others that you are interacting with are aligned and understand your thoughts and feelings that you are communicating, either verbally or non-verbally. They also have visibility and awareness around your skills and capabilities or other knowledge or information.

2) Facade

The Facade is the area that is known to yourself but is hidden from others. There may be some things that you know or are thinking in your head, or you may feel a particular way, however you decide to conceal this information and not share it with others. You may know that you have certain skills or abilities, but choose to not show this to others. Those around you do not know what you are experiencing in terms of thoughts and feelings, and may not know or your capabilities. It is hidden from them.

3) Blind Spot

The Blind Spot is the area that is known to others but not to yourself. There may be behaviours that you are exhibiting or things that you are communicating that are affecting others in a particular way. You may be unaware or perceive yourself as not having the ability to perform in a certain situation. However, those that you are interacting with can see exactly how you feel or know from your behaviour or prior experience that you do have skills and abilities to perform in a particular situation.

4) Unknown

The Unknown is the area that is blind to both yourself and to those around you. There may be things about yourself that you do not know, such as your own skills and abilities, even your own thoughts and feelings. Others around you might also have no visibility or knowledge of these.

 

Using the Johari Window for Self-Awareness

If you are living with purpose and striving to reach your goals, where do you want to be in the Johari Window? You will be wanting to be playing within the Arena! The more open and honest you are in your thoughts and feelings, your communications and your behaviours, the more that those around you will have a clear understanding around what it is that you value, what you are trying to achieve and therefore will actually have the ability to help you reach where it is that you want to go. When you're playing in the Arena, you are completely aware of your skills and abilities and you will become more effective and productive as your interactions and communications with those around you. The Arena is the playing field where trust and relationships are established and cooperation is at its highest.

Let's move to the Facade. This is where you are potentially hiding or concealing thoughts or feelings or any other information that is unknown to others. Now, there's nothing wrong with concealing information and holding private thoughts and feelings to yourself. However, for someone to be able to help you in a certain situation, they will need to know where you currently stand and what your thoughts, feelings or knowledge is on the subject. The more you can be open and honest and reveal certain things about yourself, the more that others will be able to gain an insight into who you are and how you operate. By doing this, you will build trust, enhance your relationships and when it comes to pursuing your goals, those around you will be able to start helping you get there! The more you can reveal about yourself, the more you will expand yourself into the Arena and start enhancing your relationships, communicate more effectively and perform at higher levels. Similarly when it comes to skillsets and capability, the more you can openly share and reveal around these, the more that others will have an awareness of where they can help you through coaching, mentoring, teaching or providing support or guidance.

Now onto the Blind Spot. This is the fun area! This is the area that you really need to minimise to ensure you are self-aware around your behaviours and impact on others, and to ensure you can perform at your highest ability. What don't you know about yourself? Arn't you curious to find out? How do you find out something about yourself when you don't know what you need to find out? Feedback! Ask for feedback. Don't be afraid to request feedback from others whenever or whoever that may be. There may be things that you are doing that you do not know that you are doing! This is not a productive space to be in. Feedback is essential for building your self-awareness and can help you learn and discover how to communicate or perform in a more effective and productive way. When it comes to skill and ability, asking for feedback is essential for learning and development and helping you make your way into the Arena where you can be more effective at pursuing your goals.

The Unknown area is the area you want to try stay out of. People with low self-belief or that are inexperienced may fall into this quadrant. You may not know what your skills and capabilities are, and others may not have had any opportunity to witness any of these. Self-limiting beliefs or feelings or attitudes that hold you back can prevent you from discovering certain things about yourself. Perhaps its a fear of entering into the unknown. On many occasions, and individual that spends time in this area may need to break out of their comfort zone to start entering one of the other quadrants. Trying new experiences and testing your limits can help you discover more about yourself and your skills and abilities. Working closely and building relationships with others may help them identify certain traits that they can point out for you. Similar to the blind spot, seeking feedback can help you identify certain traits and build your self-awareness.

 

Tips for Using the Johari Window for Self-Awareness

Every single one of us acts and behaves within all four quadrants. We are all open and honest and aware of our skillsets and abilities, however we all hold back information from others as well. There are always things that other people are aware of that we do not know. People react to things differently and people have different perspectives, even when experiencing the same situation. We don't know everything, and others that are more experienced can help us with our blindspots. We all have our 'unknown' areas. We don't know what we don't know, but we can certainly make choices to test our limits and help us discover more about ourselves.
Playing in the Arena is where Happiness and Success can be fulfilled. You will build trust in your relationships, enhance your communication, build cooperation with others and be more effective and productive.  To help you play within the Arena, remember and act on these points:

  • Reveal yourself.

Share your thoughts and feelings with others. Let others know your skills and capabilities. The more than others know about you the better they are able to assist you in reaching your goals.

 

  • Seek feedback.

Never be afraid to ask for feedback from others. You don't know what you don't know and feedback is an essential ingredient for building self-awareness, helping you to move into the Arena.

 

  • Test your limits.

Try new experiences and expand your comfort zone. Build your self-awareness by testing yourself in new situations and surrounding yourself with others who are able to provide insights to you.

 

For the Comments

Where would you say you mostly play within each of the four quadrants of the Johari Window? Are you in the Arena, The Facade, The Blind Spot or the Unknown? Do you have other tips for using the Johari Window?

Cheers,

Brendan


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