Reflections on the Johari Windows
Joe Luft and Harry Ingham were researching human personality at the University of California in the 1950s when they devised their “Johari Window” named after a combination of their two first names. Their Johari Window was designed as a way of looking at how personality is expressed. Luft and Ingham observed there are aspects of our personality about which we are open, and there are other aspects that we keep to ourselves. In addition, there are things that others see in us of which we are not aware, and there is a fourth group of traits that are unknown to anyone.
The following cartoon of “Johari Windows” illustrates four categories of our knowledge about the world and its limits in terms of what we and others can and cannot “see” in four different “rooms.”
The cartoon is by John Morris.
This cartoon about Johari Windows suggests six character traits and related behaviors that (counter-intuitively) are very useful reminders to me in effective negotiation and conflict communication:
• Humility – I must recognize the limits of what I know, including my limited perceptions, assumptions, biases, prejudices, and the possibility I am wrong.
• Empathy – I must try to understand what you know from your perspective, including your perceptions, assumptions, and values that differ from mine.
• Courage – Because you may know more than I know, I must ask you to tell me what you know, and it is scary to suggest limitations in what I know.
• Trustworthiness – I must incentivize you to tell me what you know by treating you with civility, courtesy, respect, and by listening and paying attention to you.
• Curiosity – I must listen to what you say, applying the same standards of relevance and truth to which I hold myself.
• Open-mindedness – If you tell me something important that I did not know, I should be willing to be affected by your perspective, feelings, or interests.