How to Use the Johari Window to Help Your Employees Grow

Discover what the Johari Window actually is and how you can use it to help your staff grow.

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How to Use the Johari Window to Help Your Employees Grow

Here's what you need to know:

  • The growth of employees, both personal and professional, will contribute to the growth of a company
  • One of the ways a company can invest in the growth of its employees is by implementing the Johari Window framework in the workplace
  • You can use the Johari Window for developing employees in multiple directions such as improving emotional intelligence, leadership development, feedback giving and receiving mechanisms, and improved self-awareness

The success of an entire organization rests upon the shoulders of its employees. So it’s imperative for any company to invest in the growth of its employees. The growth of employees, both personal and professional, will contribute to the growth of a company.

One of the ways a company can invest in the growth of its employees is by implementing the Johari Window framework in the workplace.

You can use the Johari Window for developing employees in multiple directions such as improving emotional intelligence, leadership development, feedback giving and receiving mechanisms, and improved self-awareness.

So let’s see what the Johari Window actually is and how you can use it to help your employees grow.

What is the Johari Window?

The Johari Window is a simple, yet effective, technique for improving yourself and your relationships with others. It was created by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955 and the name stems from the combination of their names: Johari.

The Johari Window is a matrix that has 4 panes. The left side of the window are the things that are known to us while the right side is the things that aren’t known to us.

The upper panes are the things that are known to others while the lower panes are the things that aren’t known to others.

By combining this, we’re getting 4 distinct panes of the window:

  • The upper left side: open area — things known to us/things known to others
  • The upper right side: blind spots — things not known to us/things known to others
  • The lower left side: facade — things known to us/things not known to others
  • The lower right side: unknown — things not known to us/things not known to others

This creates a window out of the 4 panes. And the best thing about the Johari Window is that the lines of the window can move. The goal is to increase the size of the upper left side (the arena) by reducing all other window panes.

With that in mind, let’s take a detailed look at each of the Johari Window panes and see how we can use them to develop employees.

The 4 panes of the Johari Window: Open area, arena

The open area or arena is the first pane of the Johari Window. It’s situated in the upper left corner so that means that this pane is all about the things that are known to us and known to others.

This is where you want your team to be and operate. In the arena, everyone knows what others think and feel about them and giving and receiving feedback is a daily occurrence. There’s trust between team members, and everyone operates at their maximum potential.

Here’s how you can use the Open area, arena to develop your employees:

The open area is a wonder to work in and develop your employees. In this pane, employees trust each other so the feedback that they hear and receive is coming from a place of trust and connection.

That’s why these teams grow together and grow faster than other teams. They hear and listen to feedback since there’s open communication between team members.

The 4 panes of the Johari Window: Blind spots

The blind spots are the 2nd pane of the Johari Window. It’s located in the upper right side which means that this is where you don’t know elements about yourself, but others are aware of it.

The goal for each employee is to reduce the blind spots pane as much as possible. But this is quite a difficult task to do by themselves since. By definition, the blind spots are something we’re not seeing by ourselves. Others have to point that out to us first if we want to change it.

The blind spots for employees can be everything from the tone of voice used when discussing important things, to the quality level of work handed in, to the way that they address their colleagues.

Here’s how you can use the Blind spots to develop your employees:

The reduce the size of the blind spots window pane, employee will have to ask for feedback from their colleagues. That’s the only way to reduce the impact and the size of this pane.

If they want to work on their blind spots, they first need to know what they are. And asking for feedback is a great way to put their blind spots in the visible area where they can be solved.

The 4 panes of the Johari Window: Facade

The facade is the 3rd pane of the Johari Window. It is in the lower left side which means that this pane is about the things that are known to us and things that aren’t known to others.

The facade holds supreme during the forming stage of the team, where everyone is still trying to show their best sides to others. With facade, it’s all about holding things in without telling them to others. That can cause office gossip, problems with projects, and even failures for companies.

Here’s how you can use the Facade to develop your employees:

Facade is all about hiding things from others. So if you want your employees to grow, you will have to encourage them to give feedback to others. That means giving feedback to the manager as well.

Employees will need to feel safe and secure in order to do so. No employee will voice their opinion and give feedback if they feel people will reprimand them for that. So it’s the manager’s job to ensure there’s a safe space for employees to share their opinions and give feedback to others.

The 4 panes of the Johari Window: The Unknown

The unknown is the 4th pane of the Johari Window. The unknown is in the lower right side which means that this pane is about the things employees don’t know about themselves and the things that others don’t know about them.

This is where hidden talents and skills lie dormant. It’s important for employees to become self-aware that they have this potential.

This is where hidden talents and skills lie dormant. It’s important for employees to become self-aware that they have this potential.

Here’s how you can use The Unknown to develop your employees:

The unknown is where things originate for employees; where their hidden hopes and feelings are. This is a perfect pane for leadership development. To develop your employees as leaders, you will need to help them uncover their authentic side.

With that, they will develop their emotional intelligence and their ability to work with others, making them even better employees for your organization. And with enough development, they might become leaders in your organization one day.

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Use the Johari Window to develop your employees

The Johari Window matrix is a great way to help your employees grow and become better personally and professionally. In the end, that will contribute to the growth of your company.

If you’d like more information about developing your employees, check out this post: How to Create a Professional Development Map for Employees.

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