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Johari’s Window

Joe Luft and Harry Ingrahm

Self-knowledge is critical for people to develop and grow. By being familiar with our strengths and limitations, we can use these to best advantage and create a plan to expand the abilities we find limited. Alternatively, we can surround ourselves with people who compensate for our limitations.

Johari’s window describes degrees of knowledge about the self on two dimensions (1) that which is known/unknown to the self and (2) that which is known/unknown to others.

The first quadrant ‘Public’ knowledge describes things about us that we are aware of and so are others. The second quadrant, ‘Blind’ knowledge can be what derails our career or our success as a manager or leader.

The second quadrant describes things about us that others are aware of and that we are not; thus, we are ‘blind to our “true” natures. Often, it is as simple as thinking we are better at something than we really are.

Because this is such a problem in organisations, many companies have instituted 360° feedback processes. This feedback provides managers a great opportunity for to reduce their “blind” spots.

“Blind” spots can be used by people and organisations to protect themselves from embarrassment or threat. These can act as anti-learning devices. Leaders must help their organisations identify and eliminate these blind spots. Leaders must help organisations “know” themselves.

People and organisations use sophisticated algorithms for managing information they receive about themselves. But like the ostrich hiding its head in the sand (if I can’t see them, they can’t see me), other people do in fact see who and what we are. Often, we are the last to know what others have known all along. Things that others know about us that we don’t know about ourselves are “blind” spots. If these are not dealt with head-on, they distort the knowledge we obtain about our environment.

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