The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control
An interpersonal context will discourage reactive disclosure when other people seem indifferent to us, when it doesn’t feel safe, or when norms regarding disclosure are unclear or inconsistent. Like many of my colleagues who facilitate groups, I often begin my work with a new group by offering a “warm-up” exercise that requires some disclosure (“What would you like to achieve in this workshop?” or “Share with us the worst job you have ever had”). If someone comes in late, I often give them a bad time by telling them that “everyone in the room has already shared their most intimate secret [or most embarrassing moment in their life] . . . you’re next!” While they almost immediately realize that I am kidding them, there is that moment of sheer terror on their face when they confront an interpersonal context where the norms regarding disclosure are unclear. Am I a skilled group facilitator—or a sadist!
Internal and External Locus of Control in Interaction
Several important dynamics are revealed when we look at the Quad Three interplay between the direct and indirect disclosure that arises out of an internal locus of control, and the proactive and reactive disclosure that arises out of an external locus of control,. First, the direct disclosure that is engaged with an internal locus tends to create a positive proactive context (external locus): when I disclose things about myself (Quad Three to Quad One) then other people are more likely to disclose things about themselves. Direct disclosure also can create a positive reactive context in which other people want and ask for even more information about me. This relationship, however, is curvilinear in nature. I can disclose too much about myself (the narcissistic inclination), leading other people to be quite reticent about asking for even more disclosure.