Johari Window can be defined as a way of looking at how one’s personality is expressed. Johari Window explains the individual differences in the way people communicate their feelings, opinions and thoughts to others.
The term ‘Johari Window’ was coined by Joe Luft and Harry Jugham, researchers at University of California in the 1950`s. They studied how a person expresses himself to others and observed that there are some aspects of an individual`s personality that he/she is not aware of and there are some aspects that he/she does not openly share with others, while there are some traits that he/she keeps to himself and some traits that no one is aware of.
On the basis of the above observation, a four block grid was formed, each block representing the manner in which an individual expresses himself to others.
The Johari Window
Block (1) – Public Self or Arena – It is the self that one chooses to share with others. It contains all the traits of a person that he openly shares with others. In this arena, both the communicator and the receiver have all the necessary information about each other to communicate effectively. Arena is the area of common understanding and the larger the arena the more effective is the communication. A large arena improves the possibility of effective communication.
Block (2) – Blind Spots – It refers to the traits of a person that he/she is unaware of but others around him are well aware of. Hence, other people have an advantage of knowing the feelings, perceptions and reactions of the person while he himself is unaware of them. Too many Blind Spots reduce the possibility of effective communication.
Block (3) – Hidden Self or Façade – It refers to those aspects of an individual`s personality that are known to him but are unknown to others. This block contains all such information that one hides from others out of fear, embarrassment, to gain power etc. and a façade i.e. false front that a person puts forward with others. A false front makes the arena smaller and reduces the possibility of effective communication.
Block (4) – Unconscious Self or Unknown – The unconscious self contains all information, hidden characteristics, drives and needs that no one is aware of. It refers to those aspects of an individual`s personality that are not understood by anyone.
Feedback – In order to get an honest feedback, one must increase the size of arena by encouraging open interaction and providing information that is essential for effective communication. A large arena will lead to a healthy working relationship and effective communication while a small arena will lead to poor relationships and ineffective communication.
Exposure – The Johari Window is used to expand a person`s public self or arena and shrink the other three areas for the purpose of effective interpersonal communication. A regular and honest exchange of feedback and willingness to share personal feelings will expand the arena. The process that one uses to increase the information known to others is called exposure.
Hence, one must share information openly and honestly and must avoid large blind or hidden area to improve interpersonal communication.