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What is The Johari Window model?

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Thursday 19th of September 2019 Hadyn Luke 19/09/2019


What is The Johari Window model?

How self-aware are you and how well do you know and trust other people in the groups you belong to?

The Johari Window model is designed to help you and your team members find out more about yourselves and each other, and to develop and enhance the way you interact.

What are the principles of the Johari Window model?

A simple psychological tool,the Johari Window encourages individuals to reveal information about themselves and receive feedback from others in order to facilitate trust, self-awareness and mutual understanding.

It can be used within one group or between different groups as a model of human interaction.

What are the four quadrants of the Johari Window?

The four quadrants or “panes” of the Johari Window are:

  1. Open Self (or open area/free area/public area)
  2. Blind Self (or blind area/blind spot)
  3. Hidden Self (or hidden area/avoided self/façade)
  4. Unknown Self (or unknown area/area of unknown activity)

By examining them in more detail, an individual can get a better understanding of themselves and how they fit into a group dynamic.

In more detail:

  1. Open Self – We all have aspects of ourselves – motives, knowledge, behaviours, skills – that we are familiar with and happy to share with other people. These make up our Open Self.

A productive group will have a well-developed open area, with positive communication and co-operation.

  • Blind Self – Some aspects of our personality and behaviour may be recognised by others but not by ourselves. These aspects of our Blind Self may have come about through unconsciously copying others at an early age.

Aspects of our blind self can become those of our open self if we ask for feedback. A good manager can also facilitate non-judgemental feedback. However, it’s important that the provision of feedback takes into account the personality type and resilience of the individual, otherwise it could be ineffective or even damaging to the person and/or the group.

  • Hidden Self – The Hidden Self represents those parts of us that we know about but that we hide from others. These could range from insecurities to hidden agendas. Introverted personality types are particularly likely to have a strongly developed Hidden Self.

Hidden areas can cause mistrust, misunderstandings and poor communication; however, it’s important to recognise that some aspects of our lives or personalities are not relevant to our work and should remain separate from it. As with feedback from others about the Blind Self, disclosure about the Hidden Self should be carefully managed to ensure people – especially vulnerable personalities – do not feel forced to reveal information about themselves or judged in any way.

  • Unknown Self – The deepest layers of our being, which are unknown to both us and others. This is the most challenging “pane” to understand and tends to be more prevalent in those who are young or who have limited self-awareness and/or experience.

Revealing the Unknown self can be positive, for example, a team member may have a hidden talent that has never had the opportunity to shine. Conversely, they may have a deeply buried fear or repressed feeling that only comes to light when they are placed in a particular situation. As these can be sensitive and personal issues, care should again be taken when uncovering information about the Unknown Self.

What does the Johari Window aim to achieve?

The aim of applying the Johari Window model to a particular group is to improve working relationships and achievements, both on a personal level and as a member of a wider group.

It can enhance personal and team development, interpersonal relationships, empathy, co-operation and communication among the group or with another group.

Who devised the Johari Window model?

The idea was developed in 1955 by two American psychologists, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. The name comes from the first letters of their names: Joseph and Harrington.

At the time, Luft and Ingham were at the University of California, working together on group dynamics; Luft went on to further develop the system alone.


While the Johari Window can be a positive model that helps people and teams to thrive, care should be taken when opening up hidden aspects of people’s personalities and behaviours, as there can be the potential for this to cause harm to the individual and break trust in the team.

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