The Johari Window

The Johari Window
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In keeping with yesterday's theme of knowing our weaknesses, I wanted to share the concept of Johari's window with you all today.

I first learned about the Johari window technique in my undergraduate introductory management course. The name "Johari" comes from the first names of the two psychologists that developed the technique - Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955. Broadly speaking, the Johari window is used to help people better understanding their relationships with themselves and others.

You can see a visual of the Johari window by clicking on this link (

but here is a brief description:

The Johari window is composed of a grid divided into four quadrants.

1. Open Area (upper left-hand quadrant)

This area represents the things you know about yourself as well as the things that other people know about you. Items in this quadrant include your behavior, knowledge, skills, attitudes, and "public" history.

2. Blind Area (upper right-hand quadrant)

This area represents the things about yourself that you are unaware of, but that are known to other people. This could involve basic information that you are unaware of, but it can also include deeper and underlying issues (such as feelings of inadequacy, incompetence, unworthiness, or rejection). These types of issues are often challenging for people to acknowledge and deal with directly, but are seen by those around them.

3. Hidden Area (lower left-hand quadrant)

This area represents the things that you know about yourself, but that other people do not know about you.

4. Unknown Area (lower right-hand quadrant)

This final area represents those things that are unknown by both you and by others.


The goal of the Johari window is to enlarge the Open Area. The Open Area is seen as the most important quadrant because, generally speaking, the more your "team" knows about each other, the more productive, engaged, cooperative, and effective their relationships will be (this, of course, can be applied to a personal life context).

"Self-disclosure" is the process of expanding the Open Area. It is a give-and-take process that takes place between you and the people that you are interacting with/ in relationships with. As information is shared, your Open Area grows vertically and your Hidden Area gets correspondingly smaller. As others provide feedback to you about what they know or see about you, your Open Area expands horizontally and your Blind Area gets correspondingly smaller.

Collectively, this process of give and take, sharing, and open communication develops trust within your "team" and relationships. I firmly believe that creating an environment of vulnerability, empathy, humility, and compassion in your relationships (by showing up with those things yourself!) is one of the best ways to go about this process.

So the upshot here is simple:

1. You can build trust with others by disclosing information about yourself (vulnerability and accountability). It can me uncomfortable and is often accompanied by a host of feelings ranging from anxiety to shame. However, direct, open, honest communication is always the best way.

2. With the help of feedback from others, you can learn about yourself and come to terms with personal issues that might be standing in your way. It is important, of course, to know who you can trust and to identify those people who truly want the best for you. But once you've done that, trust, and remember that you may not like everything you hear about yourself.

Today, I invite you to create your own Johari window. Though you will be inherently unable to fill in the right two quadrants, take time to reflect on what things about yourself remain unknown to you and others.

Then, ask some trusted people in your life for feedback.

Finally, this week, take the risk to disclose more about yourself to someone important to you.

I would love to hear what you uncover and how these exercises impact your relationships!

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