When we’re talking about expressing authenticity and exchanging feedback with others, we find great value in utilizing the Johari Window. In short, the Johari Window is a map that supports individual self-awareness, and awareness of others. Awareness of self and others is absolutely essential to expressing authenticity and exchanging feedback – in other words, becoming an Authentic Leader.
How It Works
The Johari Window is a matrix, with four quadrants formed by two intersecting axes.
The horizontal axis (the X axis) represents what the individual sees. Or “what I see.”
The vertical axis (the Y axis) represents what others see.
If I begin with the X axis, or What I See, the left half of the matrix represents the things I see, or am aware of (YES), and the right half represents the things I don’t see, or am not aware of (NO).
On the Y axis, or What Others See, the upper half of the matrix represents what others see (YES), and the lower half represents what others don’t see (NO.)
The Public Self
The upper left quadrant of the matrix is the intersection of What I See, and What Others See. This is what we call our Public Self.
This is the part of me that I am projecting in my environment, for others to see. It is what others perceive about me when I am out in the world.
The Blind Spot
The upper right quadrant of the matrix represents our Blind Spots – those parts of me that others can see, but that I myself do not see. These are the areas that are ripe for feedback from others’, as we cannot consciously change anything we are not aware of.
Has anyone ever approached you and said, “Hey, I’m experiencing you being a certain way,” and in response you’re surprised or don’t think their assessment of your behavior is correct. In this scenario, chances are that person has touched on one of your blind spots. They see it, but you don’t.
The Hidden / Secret Self
The lower left quadrant represents the area that Others Don’t See, but that I See. These are the things that maybe I don’t want others to know about me. Maybe I had a traumatic experience when I was younger that reduced my self-confidence and self-esteem, and I don’t want people to see me as insecure, so I don’t share that part of me. That’s my hidden or secret self.
The lower right quadrant represents What I Don’t See and What Others Don’t See. That part of me is hidden from both me and the outside world.
How The Window Works
Through receiving feedback from the people around me, I can actually learn what my Blind Spots are and become more aware of them. This process moves things from my Blind Spot in a leftward direction, into the quadrant of the Public Self.
Through engaging with Authentic behavior and expression, and deciding to share more of myself, I can move things from my Hidden or Secret Self in the lower left quadrant up into the Public Self, where others now can experience parts of me that I used to keep hidden. Here, I am projecting more of who I am out into the world.
The Vacuum and Growth Process
When I engage with feedback exchanges, and authentic behavior and expression, I am actively moving content from my Blind Spot and my Hidden / Secret Self into my Public Self. This has the effect of creating a vacuum – and in this vacuum, hidden parts of me get drawn from the lower right quadrant, Mystery, into the Blind Spot or the Hidden Self – for me or others to see.
This process is the place of true discovery – when things start coming to others’ perceptions, or to my own, for the first time. This is the place from which real personal growth develops.
Best of luck applying the Johari Window as a tool for increasing awareness of yourself and others!
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