When I was little, a summer evening often meant sitting in an outdoor rocker with my grandmother, making necklaces out of dandelion stems, and listening to her stories about Scotland. I can still recall her lovely Scottish burr as she quoted one of her favorite Robert Burns poems, To a Louse (On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church). The phrase I most remember from the poem is,
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
My mother was also fond of quoting those lines, perhaps a bit too frequently during my teenage years. Today, I find myself quoting them in conflict management workshops, carrying on a multi-generational tradition of wisdom from Burns’ words.
It’s the poem that came to mind when I heard about an online Johari window. A Johari window is a graphic model used to understand the ways that self perception and others’ perception of you influences group dynamics. It’s named from a combination of its creators’ (Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham) first names and has four quadrants, like a four-paned window.
Quadrant I is the “public area,” where behaviors and motives you see in yourself are also known to others. Quadrant II is the “blind area,” where others see things in you of which you are unaware (think of it is as Robert Burns area). Quadrant III is the “avoided or hidden area,” where certain things you know about yourself are not revealed to others. And Quadrant IV is the “area of unknown activity,” where neither you nor others are consciously aware of certain behaviors or motives.
I’ve used the Johari window heuristic for years with workplace clients who want to better understand their group’s interpersonal communication or interactions. Now the online version makes it easy and fun to create your own Johari window and get some helpful information about your Quadrant II.
You can get your own Johari window here. You’ll be invited to click on 5-6 words you believe most describe you, then invite friends and colleagues to visit your saved window and click on the words they think best describe you. There’s much food for thought and compelling discussion, I promise you. Ready to meet Robert Burns’ challenge?