In class last week, I taught my students the concept of the JoHari Window of Knowledgeablity, a model that helps frame personal awareness in four quadrants:

1> Things that are Known to Self and Known to Others — In this “Open” quadrant are the facts, behaviors and emotions that are freely expressed. You know my name, if I am laughing with you, are aware that I am happy and if you know me for long, we’ll both know that I am introverted.

2> Things NOT Known to Self and Known to Others — In this “Blind” quadrant are things that others know about you that they have not shared. Perhaps they thought your presentation was poor but did not provide negative feedback. Maybe you offended someone and others are talking about it amongst themselves but not to you. Perhaps you are being considered for a new position, so your behavior is being scrutinized. The goal is to create a culture of trust and feedback so that you can move items from this window into the Open quadrant.

3) Things Known to Self and NOT Known to Others — The “Hidden” quadrant represents feelings or emotions that I may not have shared or facts about me that you do not know. I may appear calm before a presentation, but you do not know that I am nervous inside. I may appear pleasant in a meeting, and you are unable to tell that I am silently seething. Again, familiarity and trust allow more information to be revealed and items to be moved from this quadrant.

4) Things NOT Known to Self and NOT Known to Others — In the “Unknown” quadrant are reactions and emotions that have yet to manifest themselves. None of us know how I would react in an emergency or respond to a loss. We are both unaware how I would handle a new situation or assignment. A person may be surprised at how they fulfill the role when they become a new parent. The response remains unknown until the situation arises that moves the information into one of the other quadrants.

The JoHari model helps people become aware of the intentionality of sharing — and of learning — information about themselves. It encourages self-disclosure just as it encourages listening and creating safe environments where the Open window can be enhanced.

Think about what is in each quadrant of your window and what you can do to minimize the blind for yourself and others.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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