Marilia Fiuza Targino's picture Submitted by Marilia Fiuza T... September 4, 2018 - 11:31am

What do you know about yourself? What do you know about yourself that everyone also knows? What do you know about yourself that others still don’t know? What do others perceive in you that is not yet known by you? And what do neither others nor you know about yourself? These are some questions brought about by the self-knowledge technique created in 1955 by the psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham which received the title the Johari Window.

The window is formed by four quadrants. The first quadrant is the open area or arena that accounts for all that is known by the individual and by others. If you are an entrepreneur, for example, the open area could be your business history or values which are clearly perceived by those who work with you. The second quadrant is the blind spot. This space represents that which others see in you, but has not yet been recognized by you.

For example, you could have low self-confidence and reveal insecurities that the people on your team realize, but that you have not yet realized. The third quadrant is the hidden area or facade. Here you find what you know about yourself, but others don’t know, especially vulnerabilities that you make a point of keeping hidden. The last quadrant is the unknown area. This area includes that which nobody knows, including you, and which is accessed over time through your own life experiences and diverse self-knowledge experiences such as therapeutic processes, spirituality practices, closed group discussion and coaching processes.

In the corporate world, the Johari Window can be a valuable tool for your professional development and for building trust among your team. By asking for feedback from the people who work closely with you, it is possible to amplify your arena and reduce your blind area. Members from groups you are part of can, for example, reveal what they perceive in you, taking into consideration your positive points as suggestions for development. On the other hand, you can reduce your hidden area, revealing personal information that doesn’t compromise you, but that fosters the approximation and construction of trust.

I realize that many people are afraid to reveal themselves. Many see the corporate world as a corrupt environment for which they need to adopt some protective mechanisms. For this reason, masks and personas are always being triggered to affirm that which only seems to be. For example, people reveal themselves as all-knowing, don’t ask questions and don’t express appreciation for other people’s work so that they don’t seem less capable.

In my opinion, the only way to build confidence in a group is by revealing our truths and vulnerabilities to one another. Relationships with facades don’t generate growth. It takes depth of knowledge. It is not necessary to expose something that is embarrassing to you; however, the truer you are, the more the chances there are for your team to win. The more open your window is, the better known you are... your identity, your essence, your strength, your truth.

It’s marvelous to know that as the human being matures, he gradually loses his capacity to pretend. Relationships grow and are strengthened when we boldly decide to open our windows. In fact, there is a risk in exhibiting oneself, but a greater risk in hiding oneself. Better the challenge of exposing oneself and winning the prize of knowing oneself, than the “advantage” of protecting oneself and never coming to discover oneself.


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“ In our daily interactions with others, it’s easy to operate on autopilot, going through the motions of small talk and surface-level conversations. But what if we could access deeper levels of understanding and create more meaningful relationships?” Harbinger Journal (2023).

"Being an effective leader requires many things, including building safe environments for team members, facilitating positive emotions, and providing accountability and motivation (to name a few)!" Positive Psychology (2023)

Coaching clients to engage in the art of conversation using the Johari Window involves helping them understand themselves and others better through open and honest communication. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

1. Introduce the Johari Window: Begin by explaining what the Johari Window is. It's a model that helps individuals understand their relationships with others and themselves through self-awareness and disclosure. The model has four quadrants: Open, Blind, Hidden, and Unknown.

2. Self-Reflection: Encourage the person you're coaching to reflect on themselves. Ask them to identify what they believe are their strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, and values. This is the 'Open' quadrant of the Johari Window.

3. Solicit Feedback: Explain the importance of receiving feedback from others. Encourage the person to ask for honest opinions from friends, family, or colleagues about their strengths, weaknesses, and how they come across in social interactions. This is the 'Blind' quadrant, as it represents things that others see but the individual may not.

4. Share Personal Insights: Encourage the person to share their thoughts and feelings more openly with others. This can help expand the 'Open' quadrant by revealing information that was previously hidden.

5. Discover Hidden Aspects: Help the person explore their 'Hidden' quadrant, which contains information they know about themselves but keep hidden from others. Encourage them to consider why they hide certain aspects and whether sharing some of this information could improve their relationships.

6. Discuss Unknown Aspects: The 'Unknown' quadrant represents aspects of the self that neither the individual nor others are aware of. While it may be difficult to work on these, you can suggest activities such as self-discovery exercises, meditation, or seeking professional help to uncover these hidden aspects.

7. Practice Active Listening: Emphasize the importance of active listening during conversations. Teach the person to listen attentively to what others are saying without interrupting. Encourage them to ask open-ended questions to foster deeper discussions.

8. Use Feedback Wisely: When they receive feedback, coach them on how to use it constructively. Help them identify patterns in the feedback and work on areas where improvement is needed.

9. Build Trust: Explain that trust is crucial in any conversation. Encourage them to be trustworthy by keeping confidences and being open and honest.

10. Set Conversation Goals: Work together to set specific conversation goals. For example, they could aim to share a personal story during a conversation, actively seek feedback from others, or practice empathy and understanding in their interactions.

11. Practice, Reflect, and Adjust: Encourage the person to practice their conversation skills regularly and reflect on their progress. Adjust their approach based on what they learn from each interaction. Remember, coaching clients in the art of conversation using the Johari Window is a gradual process that requires patience and self-awareness.

By following these steps, you can help your clients improve their communication skills and build stronger relationships with others.


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