The Johari Window Team Building Activity
Increase team feedback, trust, and self-awareness
In this activity, each team member will assess themselves and then each other using the Johari Window. Through this activity, each individual will learn more about themselves and how others perceive them too.
The goal of this activity is to facilitate a discussion on each team member’s strengths and blind spots, and how the team can better work together.
Our blind spots lie at the intersection of how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. The Johari Window was developed by Psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham to help us become more self-aware.
The Johari Window tool is ideal for increasing self-awareness. It focuses on understanding what’s visible (or not) to us and others.
It’s ideal for developing both self and team awareness.
ARENA: Traits and behaviors that both yourself and others are aware of. It includes anything about yourself that you are willing to share. This area drives clarity and builds trust.
MASK: Aspects about yourself that you are aware of but might not want others to know. It can also include traits that you are not sharing with others without you being aware of. What you show to others is a mask that hides your authentic self as I wrote here.
BLIND SPOTS: What others perceive, but you don’t. Important to note: not valuing your strengths can also be a blind spot. Feedback from others can make you more aware of your negative traits but also of the positive ones you are not appreciating.
UNCONSCIOUS: What’s unknown to both you and anyone else.
Though this matrix has four quadrants, the size of each is not necessarily equal. Each window pane will vary depending on:
- How much you share with other people
- How well others (try to) know you
- How well you know yourself
You can expand your “Arena” area by:
- Disclosing more about yourself, thus reducing the “Mask” area
- Uncovering more about your “Unconscious” area
- Becoming aware of your “Blind” area
To assess yourself and others, use the following 55 descriptors from here.
Assign a username for each participant. Compile them into a list to be shared with everyone.
Include the following link in the document: http://kevan.org/jh/username
Using the following link https://kevan.org/johari choose 5 adjectives that best describe yourself. Be objective and honest.
Fill in your username and click “save.”
Once everyone has finished their own self-assessment, the entire team will evaluate their colleagues.
Using the provided usernames, assess your teammates with the same criteria you evaluated yourself. Remember to choose only 5 and to be both honest and objective.
Fill In the Johari Window Panes
Compare this list with the list the individual generated about themselves.
- Where an adjective appears on both lists, place it in the Arena Quadrant.
- If an adjective appears on the individual’s list, but not on the group’s, place it in the Mask Quadrant.
- When an adjective appears on the group’s list, but not on the individual’s, put it in the Blind Spots quadrant.
- Any adjective that appeared on neither list can go in the Unconscious Quadrant.
Review & Analysis
Once everyone has finished, allow each participant to review his/ her Johari Window assessment. Instruct them to compare notes between self and team assessment.
Spend a few minutes discussing the adjectives that appear in the open quadrant.
Ask an individual to disclose by talking about one of the adjectives they selected for themselves, but the group did not.
Have the individual select one of the adjectives the group has identified, but the individual did not. The group now has the opportunity to give some feedback to the individual about this adjective.
Use the following questions to promote reflection and learnings:
- How easy or difficult was it to select the adjectives to describe yourself? Why?
- How easy or difficult was it to select the adjectives to describe your team members? Why?
- After comparing feedback, what were you surprised by?
- What can you do to reduce your Blind Spot and/or Facade, and move those traits into your Arena instead?
- How can you apply what you learned about you and your teammates to improve collaboration?
Remind the team not to be judgmental. There are no right or wrong answers. The purpose of this exercise is not to provide a score but to help people uncover the areas that are not visible to them.