Johari Window

Joe Luft and Harry Ingham were researching human personality at the University of California in the 1950's when they devised their Johari Window.  Using a form of word derivation normally reserved for suburban house names, they based the title on their two first names.  Rather than measuring personality, the Window offers a way of looking at how personality is expressed. 



Luft and Ingham observed that there are aspects of our personality that we're open about, and other elements that we keep to ourselves.  At the same time, there are things that others see in us that we're not aware of.  As a result, you can draw up a four-box grid, which includes a fourth group of traits that are unknown to anyone:

  1. The public area contains things that are openly known and talked about - and which may be seen as strengths or weaknesses.  This is the self that we choose to share with others

  2. The hidden area contains things that others observe that we don't know about.  Again, they could be positive or negative behaviours, and will affect the way that others act towards us.

  3. The unknown area contains things that nobody knows about us - including ourselves.  This may be because we've never exposed those areas of our personality, or because they're buried deep in the subconscious.

  4. The private area contains aspects of our self that we know about and keep hidden from others.

with thanks to John Morris

The application of the Johari Window comes in opening up the public area, so making the other three areas as small as possible.  This is done by regular and honest exchange of feedback, and a willingness to disclose personal feelings.  People around you will understand what "makes you tick", and what you find easy or difficult to do, and can provide appropriate support.  And of course you can then do the same for them.

Self-assessment questionnaires can be used to indicate the size of your public window, but any measure is purely subjective. 


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