The Johari window was developed in the 1950′s by two psychologists, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. It can be used as a tool for developing self awareness as well as assisting with a little reflection on your interpersonal-relationships within work and personal environments.
The Johari window is divided up into 4 quadrants. Each quadrant represents the knowledge, skills, values, attitude and feelings of an individual. The area covered by the quadrant reflects to what extent this information is shared or hidden from others, or from oneself.
The 4 Quadrants:
- what is known by the person about him/herself and is also known by others – open area, open self, free area, free self, or ‘the arena’
- what is unknown by the person about him/herself but which others know – blind area, blind self, or ‘blindspot’
- what the person knows about him/herself that others do not know – hidden area, hidden self, avoided area, avoided self or ‘facade’
- what is unknown by the person about him/herself and is also unknown by others – unknown area or unknown self
The aim of the Johari tool is to work on developing or expanding the ‘open’ quadrant. As nurses, we open this area in order to improve our learning and professional development, we want to communicate better with our patients, we want to work well as a team member, we seek respect from our colleagues.
Opening this quadrant provides a greater space for effective communication, authentic behavior, and improved relationships within the various group dynamics as we swing through from shift to shift.
Blind area: Growth into the blind area might be achieved through seeking honest feedback from other members in the group. This feedback might range from formal performance meetings with a manager to informal chats with friends.
For example, even though a nurse has been working on a particular ward for some time, they may in fact have a larger blind area because they have not received useful feedback, or perhaps they have not absorbed feedback that was given.
The blind area is also pushed back as the nurse becomes more specialized,Â increasing their knowledge of policies and proceduresÂ of the ward. Asking a lot of questions is a great way to attain both feedback and knowledge.
Hidden area: Expanding into the hidden area is a delicate business. Disclosure requires an environment of trust, it involves turning over to expose your soft underbelly, and it requires not less than a little bravery.
Of course we all have our secrets, thoughts and feelings that we keep to our selves. And so it should be. The world would very quickly slip into a catastrophic bedlam if everyone exposed their deepest thoughts and feelings in totality to everyone else at every opportunity. At least it would if I did!
But by disclosing appropriate information about ourselves we can enhance mutual understanding and increase our effectiveness withing the group. Perhaps, as nurses it is even more important to admit to what we don’t know than to what we do. There is no such thing as a stupid question, only a stupid silence.
A new nurse on the ward may have a larger hidden area. As they become more comfortable within the environment their knowledge, skills and attitudes will begin to be disclosed to others in the group. They may also have a large unknown area, due perhaps to their current level of knowledge or lack of exposure to experiences within the work environment.
Unknown area: As you can see from the above diagram, as we push back the boundaries of our blind and hidden areas, aspects of our interpersonal relationships that nobody is aware of may be become self evident. These boundaries are expanded by a combination of self-discovery as well as an openness to accepting help from other members of the group.
I’m not talking about repressed psychological pathologies here, but rather strengths and weaknesses within the context of your professional and personal group interactions.
Look through the window not at it.
As I have said, the Johari window is nothing more than a tool for you to reflect on. What does your own window look like?Â What sort of activities,Â might open a little space for you?
What about the windows of some of your workmates? How might you skillfully work to open a few windows in your own work environment?
Let in a little fresh air perhaps.
For a more detailed look at the Johari window you might like to look over this more detailed information at businessballs.com
[photo credit: Daylight]