Self-awareness is the capacity to recognise your own feelings, behaviours, and characteristics to understand your cognitive, physical and emotional self. It involves being aware of different aspects of the self, including traits, behaviours, and feelings.
Self-awareness plays a central role in facilitating effective interpersonal communication. It is defined as the process that allows healthy communication that is free of assumptions and judgements. It is a listening practice that helps an individual in learning one’s inner self as well as understanding the other’s point of view.
Self-awareness is an important skill that aids in learning and developing emotional intelligence. There are various tools and models available to analyse self-awareness, such as ‘Johari Window’, that is used to understand the process of human interaction.
Johari Window is a psychological tool invented in 1955 by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. It is a simple technique for demonstrating and improving self-awareness and mutual understanding between individuals within a group.
This technique also aids in enhancing communication and teamwork and understanding group dynamics. The relationship between an individual and the group depends upon two factors, i.e., what an individual knows about himself or herself and what other people in the group know about the individual.
It is also called the model of personality development, self-awareness, group development and understanding interpersonal relationship. As per this model, there are four quadrants that can help in analysing self or personal awareness. Figure 1.1 shows the model of the Johari Window:
Let us discuss these four quadrants in detail:
It defines all the aspects that an individual is willing to share with others about himself in order to build trust. The goal is to increase the open area of the window by asking for feedback from people or having meaningful interactions with other people.
Anything that is not acknowledged by an individual, but is noticed by others within the group comes under blind area. Blind area decreases if feedback is gained from others. The more feedback sought from others, the more one knows about his/her shortcomings, and therefore the blind spot diminishes.
It can help an individual become aware of his/her positive and negative traits as perceived by others. By working with others, one can discover and become aware about himself/herself that he/she never knew and appreciated before.
There are traits which one does not want others to know, but is aware of those aspects. For instance, an employee does not want to show his dissatisfaction with the job to others. This would certainly reduce the open area and increase the hid- den area.
There are various aspects that are unknown to both parties, i.e., to the individual and the group. When areas are unknown, there are opportunities for discovery. For instance, an employee has good artistic and creative skills but he is unaware of his hidden talent and his company is also not aware of his drawing skills. The company has hired someone to design a logo. In this case, both parties are unaware of the potential existing inside the company.
Johari window reflects how individuals understand their relationship with themselves and others. Organisations also use this model to learn about the interpersonal behaviour of its employees. It can be applied to all types of communication and work settings.
The aim of the Johari window is to expand the ‘Open Area’ without stating anything too personal. People with large ‘Open Area’ communicate more openly and honestly. They get along with group easily. Therefore, the ‘Open Area’ is an important quadrant as the more you understand people in work settings, the more productive, effective and cooperative you will be when working together.