13 October 2009

The Johari Window

When others know me better than I know myself, I often wonder why I cannot see the obvious as well. For this, I find the Johari Window to be a useful tool benefiting my understanding of why I seem to be missing vital information about myself. The Johari Window allows me to close the gaps between how I see myself, how others perceive me, and how I can connect the dots.

Like most MBA concepts, the Johari Window uses the 4 square method to illustrate the concept.

I know what I think I am portraying to people around me. But, is that how they view me? This can be painstaking to uncover. Yet, the rewards for delving into this issue can be extraordinary. Suddenly, perhaps, you may realize that people like you for characteristics you never realized you possessed.

I am not suggesting that people are always correct in their perceptions, but perhaps you are exuding something which you did not realize. For example, I chose to apply for the Foreign Service recently. Several people (who did not know one another) suggested that I think about diplomatic relations as a career path. Frankly, I had never thought of it, but 3 different people from different backgrounds thought that it would be a perfect match for me. They saw something inside of me which I missed, a desire to use my communication and diplomacy skills in an ever-changing environment. I did not even know that people viewed me as "diplomatic" and yet several people have said it to me throughout the past year.

Slowly, I am painting a picture of the difference between how others see me and how I thought I projected myself. Between listening to others' opinions on me and understanding myself, I am minimizing those blind spots. I can see myself more clearly.

The Johari Window is a great personal tool. the better I know myself via curtailing the blind spots and decreasing the unknown, I will be a happier, more productive person.


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