How to Increase Self-Awareness Using the Johari Window


Understanding how others see you is vital for workplace relationships. It’s even more critical if you are a leader. We can use many tools to help uncover others’ perspectives, from 360 review tools to the Johari Window. These tools compare your self-perspective to other’s perspectives to help you identify strengths, development areas and blind spots. The Johari Window is perhaps one of the earliest methods to gather and compare feedback in the modern workplace. So, what is the Johari Window, and how do you use it? 

What is the Johari Window?

The Johari Window is a model beneficial for improving self-awareness and understanding others. The Johari Window concept is a convenient model to enhance communication and relationships between group members. Because of this, the model is often used to support team development and improve team cohesion. The simplicity of the Johari Window model makes it widely applicable in various situations and environments.

Who Invented the Johari Window?

Psychologists Joseph Luft (1916–2014) and Harrington Ingham (1916–1995) created the Johari Window in 1955. Luft and Ingham crafted the name Johari Window model by combining their first names, Joseph and Harrington.

Luft and Harrington used the model primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a self-awareness and personal development exercise. The Johari Window quickly became a popular model for improving communication, working relationships, group dynamics and team development, in addition to self-awareness and personal growth.

How to Use the Johari Window

To use the Johari Window, a team member selects adjectives from a pre-determined list that best describes their personality. The other group members then choose adjectives from the same list they believe best represents the person. The team then inserts these adjectives into a two-by-two grid of four cells, creating the four quadrants of the Johari Window model.

What are the Four Quadrants of the Johari Window?

Four quadrants comprise the Johari Window model, set out in a two-by-two grid of cells. Two of these panes represent the self, and the other two represent the part unknown to self but known to others. All of the segments together provide a comprehensive understanding of the individual. Using the Johari Window will enable the discovery of strengths, areas for improvement, blind spots and differences in perception.

The four quadrants are:

  1. Open Area
  2. Facade
  3. Blind Spot
  4. Unknown Area

Open Area

The first quadrant is the open area. Johari Window open area examples include information about attitudes, behaviour, emotions, feelings, skills, and views. The respondents and the self know the information in this arena. This is typically the area where all communication and interactions occur. The larger this area is, the more communication occurs, and relationships are likely to be more effective.

Hidden Area or Façade

The second quadrant of the Johari Window model is the hidden area or facade. Information in this area is known to the self but not to others. This can be any personal information that you feel reluctant to reveal. This includes feelings, past experiences, fears and secrets. We keep some of our feelings and information private as it affects our relationships. Depending on the situation, the individual may choose to reveal things in this area to improve communication and build trust between group members.

Blind Spot 

The third quadrant is the blind spot. Information in this area includes things that the group knows about someone but remains unknown to the individual. Others may interpret you differently than you expect. For example, you have unconscious communication habits that you are not aware of that others have observed. Things in this area may be a barrier to self-awareness and can be reduced by seeking feedback from others.

Unknown area 

The last quadrant of the Johari Window matrix is the unknown area. This area includes information that is unaware to yourself and others. Essentially this is any information waiting to be discovered. Johari window unknown area examples include things like feelings, capabilities, and talents. The person will be unaware of these things till they discover hidden qualities and capabilities. The key to reducing this area is to try new experiences and move out of your comfort zone.

Johari Window and Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is hardly a new concept in personal and leadership assessment. The Johari Window technique created in 1955 is used as a way to help individuals understand their relationship with themselves and others. 

The Johari Model suggests we all operate within one of the four quadrants at any given time, Open, Façade, Blind Spot and Unknown. People move around these four ‘windows’ on any given day. Improving our awareness of our impact and sharing more of ourselves with others at work means we can spend more time in the “Open” space. Alternatively, we’ve all known people who seem to live perpetually in the Blind Spot area. 

An Open 360 feedback assessment operates in a similar way to the Johari window. Once relevant data has been collected from the 360 assessment, we can combine the findings into a Johari Window to support development. 

  • Open Areas: These are the behaviours that are known to the individual and the respondents. In an Open 360, these areas are indicated by a green traffic light and positive scores. The score between the person and the respondents are usually the same or very similar.
  • Hidden Areas: These are the strengths or qualities a person believes they have but are not known to others. In an Open 360, these are indicated by red or orange traffic lights depending on the gap in perception. More significant differences have a red traffic light, and smaller differences will be orange. The individual will have rated themselves higher than the respondents. This may include private information, such as ambitions and opinions, which the individual chooses to keep hidden for fear of negative feedback.
  • Blind Spots: These are the aspects others see, but the person does not. In an Open 360, these are the areas where the person has rated themselves lower than the respondents. The information in the blind spot can be positive or negative. The results may reveal hidden talents or areas for development. 
  • Unknown: These are areas not recognised by the individual or your raters. In these areas, the person gives themselves a low score and also receives low scores from the respondents. This may be because the behaviours are simply not needed in the environment or the person has not exhibited the skills.