The Johari Window, developed by Luft and Ingham (1995), is a model used to assess the level of communication and awareness within a team. The diagram shows four boxes and the size of each box acts as a measure for each variable inside it
(the variables are open, blind, hidden and unknown). The idea of the model is to highlight areas that may be reducing cooperation and awareness and initiate ways of improving this.
Open – This area corresponds to information about the individual that is open to the public and the individual is aware of. This is known as the ‘public self’ and an example may be that the individual has strong technical knowledge.
Blind – This area corresponds to information that other team members are aware of but the individual does not know. Intuitively this may seem unusual, however many habits and traits may be picked up on by team members, without the individual realising
they are doing it.
Hidden – This area corresponds to the ‘private self’. This is information that the individual is aware of but the rest of the team are not. This may be because the individual is choosing to keep it to themselves or simply because it has not come
Unknown – This area corresponds to information that the individual and the team are not aware of. This could be in the form of memories or potential, for example.
The model is not static. Various methods can be used to enhance the areas in the model in order to improve levels of communication, awareness and transparency amongst the group.
An example of this could be a feedback session, where every individual in the group is given feedback for their past performance. This would increase the ‘open’ area of the model and reduce the ‘blind’ area, as the individual understands more about their
output. The diagram below demonstrates how the model would change as this occurs. You will notice the ‘hidden’ area has also increased. This will be determined by whether the individual has chosen to share their feedback with the rest of the group,
in this example they have not.
Johari Window Model Post Feedback Session
The size and shape of each area is dependent on the amount of information shared and the ratio of giving feedback to soliciting feedback. The aim is to increase each person’s open area as much as possible in order to create an environment where every
member of the team is aware of each other’s thoughts and processes. This ultimately maximises the effectiveness of the team as a unit.
Luft, J. and Ingham, H. (1955). The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness. Proceedings of the western training laboratory in group development. Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles.