The New Johari Window #1: Beginning a Journey
How do we go about answering these questions? What can we learn about interpersonal disclosure and feedback that will make us wiser in forming and sustaining relationships with other people? If we are in a helping role (as therapist, manager, minister, nurse, etc.), what should we know about the dynamics of interpersonal relationships that will enable us to be more insightful and hopefully more effective in being of assistance to other people? I propose that a model of interpersonal relationship has been available for many years that can help us address these questions and can help us be interpersonally smarter. This model is called the Johari Window.
No other model of interpersonal disclosure and feedback has been as often used as a teaching and coaching tool as this Johari Window (named after its two inventors, Joe Luft and Harrington Ingram). While many people know of this model of interpersonal relationships, it is sometimes dismissed as “old fashion” or “too simplistic.” This set of essays is dedicated to showing how the Johari Window is still quite relevant. In addition, I offer an expanded and revised version of the Johari Window, introducing several late 20th Century and early 21st Century concepts that provide even more insightful perspectives regarding these fundamental interpersonal questions and, more generally, the complex and dynamic dance of human interaction.
The Window’s Dance
This remarkable model of interpersonal relationships has been widely used by educators, trainers, consultants and coaches. This model is often praised—and even more often used (even by those who are skeptical about its ultimately validity). This model goes by an intriguing name: “The Johari Window.” Perhaps this is one of the reasons for its remarkable popularity. There are other reasons why this model is probably the most widely-used representation of human interaction to be found in the world today. It is graphically very appealing. Symmetrical. Great to present on Power Point or on a flip chart with multi-colored markers. It holds an immediate appeal. Capturing something about the mysterious dance of human interaction.