5 Johari Window Examples (Harry Potter, Bill Clinton, Etc)

johari window

The Johari window model is a psychological tool that’s meant to illustrate and increase self-awareness and an understanding of group dynamics.

It is a graph (featured above) that shows four quadrants to focus on during self-reflection:

  • Open Self: Information about you that you know and others also know.
  • Blind Self: Information about you that you don’t know but others do know.
  • Hidden Self: Information about you that you know but others don’t.
  • Unknown Self: Information about you that neither you nor others know.

People using the tool are asked to reflect on all four of these windows in groups, having others provide input to help reveal information about you that you’re not aware of.

Johari Window Definition

The Johari window model was created by two American psychologists, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, in 1955. It is actually an amalgamation of their names; Joe and Harry.

The aim of the Johari window was to help people learn about themselves through feedback and learn to build trust in interactions with others.

It is most commonly used to understand inter-group relationships and improve communication. It is also used for improving self-awareness and researching group dynamics.

The Johari window model represents different facets of a person in relation to their group from four different perspectives. Facets of yourself worth considering when contemplating the window include:

  • Motivations
  • Intentions
  • Experience
  • Views
  • Attitudes
  • Feelings
  • skills

The four different perspectives are typically referred to as four quadrants or regions. The Johari window is typically represented as a square with four grid squares.

The size of each quadrant can change in size to reflect how much knowledge there actually is in that area.

The Four Quadrants Explained

1. Open Self Area

This quadrant in Johari’s window is the first in the square, and it represents what both the group and the person know.

The main aim here should be to develop this area for every person in the group because then each person is more productive and efficient, which makes the group more productive overall.

This window represents a space free from conflict and misunderstandings and fosters good communication and team cooperation.

Established team members will have a larger open area than new team members. New team members can expand their quadrant by receiving feedback and sharing about themselves with the rest of the group.

2. Blind Self (aka Blind Spot)

This quadrant represents what the person doesn’t know about themselves, but the group does.

The aim here is to reduce the size of the blind area and expand into it the open area; this should help increase self-awareness in that person.

This blind area can be addressed by offering this person feedback from the team and management. This personal development will lead to a more productive team member.

3. Hidden Area (aka Facade)

This quadrant represents what the person knows about themselves that the group doesn’t know.

The hidden area is information that the person is aware of but has chosen not to share with the group.

This can be anything from personal secrets and insecurities to information that the person just deems useless or unnecessary to share.

The aim is to decrease the size of this area and increase the size of the open area through the disclosure of information. It’s important that the disclosure comes at the person’s own discretion, but a smaller hidden area leads to more trust in the group and less miscommunication and misunderstandings.

4. Unknown Area

This quadrant represents what both the person and the group don’t know about that person.

This area can also be known as the unknown self or unknown quadrant. What’s unknown about the person can come in various forms, such as their capabilities, aptitudes, and behaviors. Larger unknown areas are more commonly seen in young people and people who lack experience.

This unknown area can be decreased in size through self-observation or the observations of others. This can be facilitated by personal counseling or through group activities.

Johari Window Examples

Example 1: Bill Clinton’s Johari Window

Known to Self and Others (Open Area)Unknown to Self and Known to Others (Blind Area)
1. Former Governor of Arkansas
2. Centrist politician
3. Democrat
4. Married to Hillary
5. Plays saxophone
1. Inspiring to the Midwest (He doesn’t know he’ll inspire people until those people demonstrate it – so they know it before him)
Known to Self and Unknown to Others (Hidden Area)Unknown to Self and Unknown to Others (Unknown Area)
1. Is a secret womanizer
2. Has low personal net worth
3. Is good at negotiating with Republicans behind closed doors
1. Will protect more natural land than any other president
2. Will preside over longest economic expansion in history
3. Will lower poverty rate to record lows
4. Will fail to pass comprehensive healthcare
5. Will be scandal-plagued due to his secret affair

This Johari Window might represent Bill Clinton at the time he runs for office.

There will be a lot in the open area window because his entire job while campaigning is to tell everyone as much about himself as possible.

There will be very little that is in his blind area because people at the time talked about him constantly on the news. He will also likely have very little in the hidden area because he is so scrutinized.

The unknown to self and others column represents all the things he’ll learn about himself and achieve in office as president over the next eight years.

Example 2: Harry Potter’s Johari Window

Known to Self and Others (Open Area)Unknown to Self and Known to Others (Blind Area)
1. He is an orphan
2. His parents died and left him to his aunt and uncle
3. He has a scar on his forehead
4. He’s a boy, aged nine
1. He’s a wizard
2. His parents were killed by Voldermort
3. Voldermort tried to kill him and failed, to everyone’s surprise
4. He will go to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry soon
5. He is hidden and protected for his own safety
Known to Self and Unknown to Others (Hidden Area)Unknown to Self and Unknown to Others (Unknown Area)
1. He has strange powers like the ability to talk to snakes
2. He is mistreated by his aunt and uncle
3. He is mistreated by Dudley
1. He is excellent at quidditch
2. He will be a Gryffindor
3. He has the bravery of a lion
4. He will feel very much at home at Hogwarts
5. He will consistently find himself in match-ups against Voldermort

This Johari Window might represent Harry Potter at the beginning of the first book, before he even knew he was a wizard.

Example 3: New Employee Joins Team

Known to Self and Others (Open Area)Unknown to Self and Known to Others (Blind Area)
1. Well-qualified
2. Great resume
3. Age and gender
4. Relevant experience
1. Doesn’t know how things are done in the new workplace
2. Doesn’t know how hard the job will be
3. Doesn’t know the historical relationships between team members
Known to Self and Unknown to Others (Hidden Area)Unknown to Self and Unknown to Others (Unknown Area)
1. Really good at working under pressure
2. Struggles working with assertive people
3. Knows how to handle difficult situations
4. Has tricks and strategies from previous workplace that will come in useful.
1. The new team member has a lot in common with certain established team members
2. The new team member’s working style is going to conflict with the team leader’s style

In this scenario, the person has just joined the team with amazing credentials. They are well-qualified and have relevant experience; after their first assignment, they ask their direct superior for feedback.

This increases the open area and decreases the blind spot because the feedback provides the person with the information they were previously unaware of about themselves. This new self-awareness enables the person to do their next assignment even better.

Despite this person now having a smaller blindspot, they still have a very large hidden area because they’re still fairly new to the team.

Management organizes a teambuilding event to allow everyone to get to know the new member and allow them to familiarize themselves with the team.

In talking to different team members, the person discloses lots of different information about themselves.

This decreases the hidden quadrant and increases the size of the open area because now more information about the person is available to the team.

Example 4: Established Team Member

Known to Self and Others (Open Area)Unknown to Self and Known to Others (Blind Area)
1. Proven at getting results
2. A good peer and colleague
3. Helpful with technological issues
4. Can be bad at organization
5. Arrives to work early and leaves early
6. Good at diffusing difficult situations
7. Quick at answering questions via email
1. Has a bad habit of saying offensive things without realizing it
2. Wasn’t very good when he arrived but improved rapidly
Known to Self and Unknown to Others (Hidden Area)Unknown to Self and Unknown to Others (Unknown Area)
1. Had a job in the past where she led a team
2. Is pretty good at teaching things but hasn’t had a chance to prove it
1. Really good at finding common ground between team members when in leadership roles
2. Is very good at getting the most out of team members when in charge
3. Tends to micromanage people when leading
4. Is good at delegating tasks.
5. Gets flustered when people ask for instructions on the spot.

In this scenario, an already established team member has a fairly big open area and small hidden and blind areas. This team member goes to management and asks for opportunities to further their career, so they’re given work that they’ve never tackled before.

In completing their new assignment which requires leadership skills, the team member discovers new skills and competencies they weren’t previously aware of because they’d never been given the chance before.

These new discoveries offer valuable information to management, and the rest of the team, about what is possible.

This decreases the size of the unknown area and increases the size of the open area.

Example 5: Recent Graduate Joins Team

Known to Self and Others (Open Area)Unknown to Self and Known to Others (Blind Area)
1. Has a good college transcript
2. Graduated with a major in engineering
3. Is good in interviews
1. Doesn’t know how things are done in the new workplace
2. Doesn’t know how hard the job will be
3. Doesn’t know the historical relationships between team members
Known to Self and Unknown to Others (Hidden Area)Unknown to Self and Unknown to Others (Unknown Area)
1. Was good at teamwork at university
2. Isn’t very good under pressure
3. Has a great sense of humor
4. Knows how to handle difficult bosses
5. Can study all night long if there’s a deadline upcoming
6. Has hesitations about the team’s current trajectory
1. Is surprisingly good at public speaking
2. Has good visual intelligence
3. Clashes with other team members who are lazy
4. Will be able to use the technology in the workplace really well
5. Works better independently than as a team member

In this scenario, there’s a new team member. This particular person has never had a job and is a fresh graduate.

In the Johari window, the open area is smaller than the other window panes because there is absolutely no information to go on just yet.

This person has no idea what they’re capable of yet, and neither does the team, so their unknown area is quite large. Their hidden area will also be quite large because the person is the only one really aware of what they’re capable of.

The blind spot is quite small because the team doesn’t know anything about the person as yet. In this scenario, management’s priority should be increasing the open area and decreasing the size of the others. This way, they’ll have a productive and efficient member of the team.

Conclusion

The Johari window model is an essential team development tool that can also lead to self-discovery and a better understanding of a team and its dynamics.

While this tool can be used to improve interpersonal relationships within a team, it also requires some emotional intelligence to get the most out of it.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

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