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Giving and Receiving Feedback using The Johari Window

You can either watch the video below, which explains the Johari Window in depth or read the content beneath it related to the Johari Window. 

What is Feedback?

Feedback is the information given by one person to another, describing their behaviour and the effect of their behaviour. In this context, we are only talking about personal skills, not technical skills.

This feedback provides us with a mirror where we can see how we appear to, and the effect on others and so provides learning opportunities for each of us. This feedback mirror provides a reflection as to our behaviour, rather than our appearance.

Personal feedback helps to make us more aware of what we do and how we do it, which increases our ability to modify and change our behaviour and to become more effective in our interactions with others.

Johari Window Model

¹The Johari Window model is a simple and useful tool based on the original work of Joseph Luft and Harry Ingram. It looks at the process of giving and receiving feedback. It can be looked at as a communication window through which you give and receive information about yourself and others.

The Johari Window is shown as a four-quadrant grid, which you can see in the diagram below.

The four quadrants are:

  • Open Area
    This quadrant represents the things that you know about yourself, and the things that others know about you. This includes your behaviours, communication style, knowledge, skills, attitudes, interests, etc.
  • Blind Spot Area
    This quadrant represents things about you that you aren’t aware of, but that are known by others. This could include how you come across to others, our habits and mannerisms and the impact we have.
  • Façade or Hidden Area
    This quadrant represents things that you know about yourself, but that others don’t know. This could include your views and opinions, beliefs and other information you are not prepared to share.
  • Unknown Area
    This last quadrant represents things that are unknown by you, and are unknown by others. For example, our hidden talents/potential, how we might react to a certain situation we have never faced.

 

The ‘Ideal’ Johari Window

Through the process of feedback and communication, we can enlarge the Open Area. Generally, the more constructive feedback we give and receive the more productive our relationships become as we allow people to really know us and we start to understand and value them.

The process of enlarging the Open Area quadrant is called ‘self-disclosure,’ and it’s a give-and-take process that takes place between yourself and the people that you are interacting with.

By sharing information, your Open Area expands vertically, and your Hidden Area gets smaller. This process is called ‘Self-Disclosure.’

As we receive feedback, the Open Area expands horizontally, and your Blind Area gets smaller. Done well, the process of give and take, sharing, and open communication builds trust within the group.

The Importance of Feedback

It’s only by receiving feedback from others that we can really understand how we come across to others and the impact we have and therefore reduce our Blind Area.

When working in a team, we should strive to help other team members to expand their Open Area by offering constructive feedback. A new member will obviously start with a small Open Area, but this will enlarge by giving and receiving constructive feedback.

 

¹Johari Window model was devised by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955. The model was first published in the Proceedings of the Western Training Laboratory in Group Development by UCLA Extension Office in 1955 and was later expanded by Joseph Luft.

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