Many of us in leadership positions can recall the time when we first got an office with a window. For some like me, it was a move from the inner cubicle maze to the outer perimeter where the weather outside was no longer a mystery. The pane of glass was a window to the outside world. Few would consider the fact that the window worked both ways, simultaneously providing a view from the outside in.
I was recently introduced to the Johari Window. This model was introduced 60 years ago by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram. It’s a simple quadrant model that represents what is known and unknown by both a person and others. This window is all about the inside view others have of leaders from the outside.
In summary, the Open or Public Arena is the easy spot for most leaders. It’s what we know about ourselves AND what others know about us. From there, it gets more complicated – the things that we keep Private or Hidden; the Blind Spots we don’t know exist; and the great Unknown. For leaders, the challenge we all face and should lean into is opening up the Public Arena. It’s about gaining more ground in this quadrant.
One way we can do this is by asking for and acting on feedback to deal with Blind Spots. Another way to do this is through self-disclosure of what have to-date kept Private. By opening up our “window” in both directions, it draws those we lead into deeper and more mature relationships, such that leadership influence can begin to grow. While the intersection into the Unknown is about the courage required to discover new things that help us and those around us, we shouldn’t miss that courage is also necessary to seek feedback and for self-disclosure as well.
Ultimately, this is all about leadership effectiveness with a direct correlation to the size and substance of our own Public Arena. It’s the motivation we have at Soderquist Leadership to equip leaders through experiences, tools, and resources. I urge you to exercise courage in seeking to open up your window.
Written by Chuck Hyde
CEO of Soderquist Leadership