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The Johari Window

Read this article about the Johari Window and how it can assist you in learning about yourself.
© University of Southern Queensland

While you explore your own self-awareness, you can also assist your feedback recipients to explore their own.

There are several well-established approaches to assist with your understanding of other perspectives, and what other people might have to say about themselves, and about you.

The Johari Window is a long-established self-awareness tool. It enables individuals to plot levels of knowledge about themselves as well as learn what knowledge others may have about you.

Luft and Ingram (1) suggested that the greater the understanding that one has about themselves, the more receptive a person is to receiving feedback – which then creates an even greater self-awareness. The window is a means of understanding this. It can be used to identify an individual’s areas of strength, as well as areas where knowledge of self can be improved.

The Johari Window uses four simple quadrants.

The Johari Window graphic

Note: there is a description of this image in the downloads section.

The top left-hand quadrant is the public or open area of yourself. It is information about yourself that both you know, and others know. These are things that are openly discussed. For example, they can be factual information, behaviour or personal motivators. The top right-hand quadrant is the blind area or blind self. It is information about yourself that you don’t know, but others do know. For example, a habit that others notice but you don’t. The bottom left-hand quadrant is the private, hidden area or hidden self. It is information about yourself that you know, but others do not know. For example, personal things that you dislike or personal likes that you either intentionally or unintentionally haven’t shared with others. The bottom right-hand quadrant is the unknown area or the unknown self. It is information about yourself that you don’t know, and that others do not know. For example, feelings, experience, or abilities that both you and others don’t yet know about you (2).

Though the Johari Window initially shows four equal quadrants, each quadrant adjusts as new information is received, which can in turn have profound impacts on self-awareness and communication skills. For example, a relatively small Public/Open Area can be a sign of poor communication. It could mean that an individual is preventing the openness and information about self that is necessary for positive interactions with others (3). Likewise, a larger Blind Spot Area could indicate a problem of self-awareness, which could damage communication with those who can see an individual’s blind spots and behaviour (4).

The Johari window graphic with the Public/open area extended into the blind and unknown areas by asking and expanding into the private and unknown areas by telling

Improved awareness of strengths and weaknesses, combined with a willingness to incorporate the awareness of others, can assist individuals to become more aware of their behaviour and reactions, as well as their impact on others. With such willingness, the quadrants can be re-sized (5). While sharing information about oneself is one mechanism for enlarging an individual’s Open Area, feedback is a far greater contributor in enlarging an Open Area and reducing Blind Spots.

1. Luft J, Ingham H. The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness. Proceedings of the western training laboratory in group development. Los Angeles: University of California; 1955. 246 p.
2. Johari’s Window – Self Awareness/Personal Development Diagnostic In 4 Minutes!. . 2019 Sep 21 [cited 2022 Sep 29]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKkK6x5rchg
3. Cassidy TM. Opening the window to lifelong learning: applying the Johari Window framework in engineering communication curriculum. IEEE International Professional Communication Conference,2014 Oct 1, pp.1-4. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1109/IPCC.2014.7020391
4. Nair KK, Naik NS. The Johari Window profile of executives of a public sector undertaking. Management and Labour Studies [internet]. 2010 May [cited 2022 Aug 31];35(2):137-148. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0258042X1003500201
5. South, B. Combining mandala and the Johari Window: an exercise in self-awareness. Teaching and Learning in Nursing[internet] 2007 Jan [cited 2022 Aug 31];2(1): 8-11. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.teln.2006.10.001
6. Bates B. The little book of big coaching models: 83 ways to help managers get the best out of people. London UK: Pearson; 2015. 274 p.
© University of Southern Queensland
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A Beginner’s Guide to Giving and Receiving Feedback

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