The Johari Window (A Guide To Self Awareness & Better Communication)  

What is the Johari window?

Description of the Johari Window

– Applications of the Johari window concept

What is the Johari Window?

The Johari window is a cognitive psychology tool. It is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. It was created by psychologists Joseph Luft (1916 – 2014)  and Harrington Ingham (1916 – 1995).

This model was named Johari using a combination of their first names: Jo from Joseph and Hari from Harrington. The Johari window is a powerful Communication Skills and Coaching Tool. The Johari window is depicted below:

Known to self Not known to self
Known to others
Arena (Open) Blind Spot
Not known to others
Façade (Hidden) Unknown (Null)

Description of the Johari Window

The Johari window concept can be visualized as a house with 4 rooms. Essentially, these 4 rooms form the 4 quadrants of the Johari window. They are room 1 (the part of ourselves that both we and others see and know), room 2 (the part that others see and know but we are unaware of), room 3 (the part we see and know but hide from others, which they cannot see) and room 4 (the unconscious part of us that neither we nor others see or know).

1- Quadrant 1 (Open): This is the Arena or the Open space. This quadrant has to do with behavior that is known by you and known and acknowledged by others. Someone may exhibit wrong behavior which he or she knows but refuses to correct, which is clearly visible to others in the vicinity.

In such a case the culprit must be confronted so as to draw his or her attention to their wrongdoing and demand must be made for a change to better behavior. This will require patience and caution.

2Quadrant 2 (Blindspot): This is the Blindspot. This quadrant captures what is known about you to others which you are completely unaware of. Usually, this results in people talking about you behind your back. They can see or perceive something which you cannot.

Bad mouth odor, perspiration odor, untidiness, nonchalance are all examples of this. Genuinely the person does not know. It takes someone with boldness, courage and tact to call the person’s attention to this, at the risk of offending him or her. These shortcomings can cause irritations within a group if not addressed, and if unaware the person in question may continue without change which may lead to him or her being ostracized.

3- Quadrant 3 (Hidden): This quadrant is the Façade or Hidden area.  This has to do with what is known to you but unknown to others. People can decide to keep information hidden and not share it with others. Many people have vices and behavioral defects which they deliberately hide from the wider society.

In some cases, some people are addicted to watching pornography, sex, hard drugs, smoking weed, or may have sadistic and masochistic (sado-masochism) tendencies. Others are pathological liars, have a fear complex (unnaturally fearful), and are dishonest.

Furthermore, still, others are prone to outbursts of anger, fits of rage and violence. Psychologists and law enforcement working in tandem, have discovered that a small percentage (approximately 2%) of the entire human global population are psychopaths and sociopaths.

This explains why deviants like serial killers and mass murderers get away with their actions over a period of time before being finally caught. Interestingly, virtually all these people were hardly ever suspected and were seen by neighbors, coworkers, family members and even spouses as peaceful, upright, innocent people until their false persona was destroyed by hard evidence.

4- Quadrant 4 (Unknown): This quadrant is the Unknown. It is a great mystery because it encapsulates what is unknown to both yourself and others. Only God knows this about humans. People may find it hard to believe but there are facts, attributes, gifts, defects, weaknesses you may have which even others do not see or know.

Often a major event or a mega-crisis tends to bring out the best and the worst in people. People are capable of things they do not even know they are capable of, both good and bad.

Applications of the Johari window concept

When someone behaves in a way that is seen to disturb their environment, it is vital they are given feedback per their perceived behavior. Sometimes it is difficult for people to confront others about their behavior, as many would rather not rock the boat.

However, it is vital that this is done because often people are not always aware of their own behavior, or even when aware refuse to admit it. Feedback is one of the best, if not the best way to address unwholesome behavior. This can be achieved through the use of concepts of the Johari window.

Furthermore, it gives insight into both your own behavior and that of others. In addition to this, it helps to foster better communication thereby proactively helping to avoid or mitigate conflict.

The following are spheres where the Johari concept can be applied:

1- Marriage: It is an undeniable fact that men are different from women. Men are wired in a way that is totally unlike how women perceive things. The wife may expect the husband to talk more, show physical affection, and many times expect him to react just as she would.

The husband’s inability or perceived failure to do this results in a communication gap and may inadvertently lead to conflict (The Blindspot window quadrant). Knowledge of the Johari window can make a wife lovingly call her husband’s attention to this, which in turn effects a positive change which leads to overall health in the marriage.

Sometimes a partner in a marriage may deliberately behave badly in a way that is known to both parties and refuse to admit his or her guilt or refuse to change (The Open window quadrant). The “innocent” partner must in love confront the other and insist the unacceptable behavior must change.

In some extreme cases, the injured partner must even be prepared to impose sanctions on the erring partner to compel them to change. This is because you do not reward bad behavior, you confront it. Rewarding bad behavior just causes it to continue.

Imagine a partner in marriage, who is addicted to having extra marital affairs, which he or she keeps cleverly hidden from the other (The Hidden window quadrant). The innocent partner is completely in the dark until something happens to expose the person defaulting.

What the injured party can do is this: encourage full disclosure in the relationship ab initio, and ensure he or she fulfills their side of the bargain by meeting up with the marriage obligations. A prime example are wives who deny their husband’s sexual intimacy over long periods of time, eventually the husband will look elsewhere for sexual satisfaction.

The naked unbridled truth is this: very few males can stay in a sexless marriage except for a tiny percentage who have self-discipline probably due to tenets of their faith, moral code or family upbringing. The vast majority will either quit the marriage, marry another wife, patronize prostitutes or initiate an extramarital affair.

However, the innocent spouse can avail himself or herself of knowledge which is readily available on the internet, or by consulting relationship or marriage experts who can guide the person on how to address the issue.

2- Workplace:  The workplace harbors different kinds of individuals with varying traits. In addition to this, the management styles may range from autocratic, authoritative or democratic. A team leader with insecurity issues may lord it over subordinates or treat the unfairly, without the person being aware (The Blindspot window quadrant).

The burden falls on the HR in that organization to call such a one to order. On the other hand a member of staff can deliberately sabotage the efforts of other coworkers or take the glory alone for successes achieved by the team without caring what others may feel (The Open window quadrant).

A proactive HR manager must be in constant touch with all staff, know their fears and concerns. The HR upon investigation can liase with the staff member’s direct line manager for a caution. In addition to this certain staff members may also have hidden talents or abilities for example leadership but may conceal it for fear of victimization from his or her insecure line manager (The Hidden window quadrant). In such an instance the HR must be able to identify and bring such staff to the limelight while protecting the individual from the line manager who may want to put him down.


In conclusion, as earlier stated the Johari window can be used as a tool for improving communication skills via feedback. Furthermore, it is very useful for life coaches who would want to see their clients develop and improve their interpersonal skills thereby enhancing their productivity.