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Priyanka Prashob
Priyanka Prashob is an organizational psychologist with 6+ years of experience in the field of Content and Psychology. She is a passionate writer and has authored 2 books. She has designed content for corporate training programs, worked on organizational behavior reports and numerous individual personality assessment reports. Several research articles written by her are published on platforms like Academia and Research Gate. The articles have gained recognition and appreciation from universities, academicians, and researchers across the world.

What if your personality had a window? Yes, this is the idea behind the concept of – Johari window. The only differentiating factor being – this tool will not only give a window’s view to your personality but will also give an opportunity to develop your personality and hone your communication skills to succeed in life and your career. In other words, it will help you know thyself and others around you better. Not just that, you can even use this tool to develop and nurture talents in your organization.

So, what is Johari window?

The concept – ‘Johari window’ was devised by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 while researching group dynamics at the University of California, Los Angeles. The model was first published in the Proceedings of the Western Training Laboratory in Group Development by UCLA Extension Office in 1955 and was later expanded by Joseph Luft.

Johari window is a self-awareness tool that you can use to better understand yourself and also others around you. Today, this tool is widely used by people across the world to understand and gain self-awareness, develop one’s personality, improve one’s communication skills, develop interpersonal relationships, nurture talents, and improve group dynamics and team development.

This model is also referred to as a ‘disclosure/feedback model of self-awareness’ and also as an ‘information processing tool’.

As you see, the applications of this tool are several, however, in this blog, we will be discussing how you can use this tool to develop and nurture talents in your organization. We’ll also outline how to help them grow as an individual as well as a professional.

Let’s unlock the 4 main quandrants of Johari window to nurture talents

Johari Window

Many times, it so happens that we tend to be unaware of how others perceive us, how we present ourselves to others, and even how we know ourselves. This tool can help you and your team members a great deal – especially in terms of expanding the open area and minimizing the blind area.

From the above diagram, it becomes clear that there are certain things that we know, and things we do not know about ourselves. Similarly, there are certain things others know and do not know. The same applies to your team. Thus, at any given point in time, we may see our total self as we understand it and as others know about it in a true sense through the 4-pane Johari window.

In the above diagram, though all panes look equal but in reality that is not the case. The openness of each pane will vary depending on your own personal level of:

  • How well you know yourself
  • How much you share about yourself with others
  • How well others know you

So, your role as a leader would be to help your people understand more about themselves. And how do you do that? Simple – by creating opportunities that will help them expand their open area and minimize the blind spot. That being said, let’s look into each of the 4 windows in detail:

How to use Johari window to nurture talents

1. Open area

The open area covers all the things that you know about yourself already. Not just you, others around you also know these things about you. In other words, you are open and aware of your thoughts, feelings, skills, and understanding. And others with whom you are interacting also understand your thoughts and feelings. They are also aware of your potential skills and capabilities.

So, here’s a question for you. Now that you know what an open area is, what do you think your team members should do to grow as an individual and as a professional?

Yes, you guessed it right! They should focus on expanding their ‘open area’ and minimizing the blind, hidden, and unknown area. Help, encourage and motivate your team to be open and honest with their thoughts, feelings, communication, and behavior. Because, the more they understand – the more they grow.  So, as a leader, it’s your responsibility to create opportunities to help your team expand their open area as much as possible. You can do this by starting a buddy system. Or you could organize some fun group activity – giving a platform to get to know each other better.

2. Hidden area 

As the name suggests, the hidden area is the area that is known to you but is hidden from others. Because you don’t want others to know about you or it simply happened to be that way. To elaborate, these are the information that you may conceal and not share with others. And sometimes your skills and abilities may also come in this list which you may not wish to share with others.

As a leader, you need to strive towards melting this hidden area by opening up the wall that your team members have built to conceal the skills, abilities, talents, and capabilities that they might exceptionally be good at. You may not want your team members to lose out on golden opportunities because of this hidden area. Create instances to encourage your team members to openly share and reveal their hidden strengths to help them get a step closer to their career and personal goals.  

3. Blind spot/area

The blind spot is the area that is known to others but not to you. Blind spot is one area you should focus on minimizing to ensure you and your team can perform at the highest ability. At times, your team member may be unaware or perceive himself/herself as not having the skills and abilities to perform a certain task/job, which might just be the opposite. But the good news is, others know that he/she possesses those skills.

Here’s a question for you – there might be many things that you might not know about yourself. Aren’t you curious to find out what that is? And how do you find out something when you don’t know what you need to find out? Yes, you have got it again. It’s Feedback! 

Feedback is the magic word that can minimize this blind area for you. Encourage your people to ask and share feedback. Build the culture of feedback in your organization. 

So, what you have to do as a leader is simple here. Create opportunities so people share these blind spots that they see and know about each other with each other.

4. Unknown area

The unknown is the area that is blind to both you and to those around you. There may be things about oneself that one may not know. Be they, skills and abilities, or even their thoughts and feelings. And others around them might also have no visibility or knowledge of these.

The unknown area is the area which you should encourage your people to minimize the most. Because your team members may not know what their skills and capabilities are, and others around them may not have had an opportunity to witness any of these either. Self-limiting beliefs, feelings, or attitudes that hold your team back can prevent them from discovering amazing things about themself. 

People in this area need to step out of their comfort zone in order to start entering the other quadrants. Encouraging your people to try out new experiences and testing their limits can help them discover more about each other like – their hidden skills and abilities. Also, working closely and building relationships with others may help them learn a lot about each other. 

Bottom line

Encourage your people to ask for constant feedback from each other. Also, motivate them to network with people and get to know each other well. By doing so, you will be helping your team learn about each other. Thereby, improving team cohesiveness and helping them grow both personally and professionally. 

Also read: Smart Leaders’ Checklist to Developing Talent In-House

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