Johari Window and DiSC

Johari Window Model

The Johari Window is a useful model to help understand the relationship between two people. 

We introduce the Johari Window during DiSC Certification to help trainers understand how DiSC behavioral information affects our workplace relationships. Organizations and individuals use Everything DiSC to help enhance communication and to build healthier relationships. The Johari Window helps frame this process (no pun intended!).

Trainers, team leaders, and individuals can take advantage of the Johari Window as a tool to learn about themselves, discover personal blind spots, or share insights about themselves with others.

What is the Johari Window?

The Johari Window gives a person or a group a way to visualize a relationship. 

It was developed by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955. Each ‘window’ changes in size depending on how much information is contained in each section. To use it, you first need to understand all of the individual parts of the model:

1. The Arena

The arena represents things that two individuals know about each other. In the early stages of a relationship, this quadrant is very small. It also has a strong correlation with how much trust there is in a relationship.

As an example, think of a time you started a new job and the person you first sat next to.

You both only knew a limited amount of information about each other. Most of the information was probably simple facts; your names, the college or school that you attended, or the amount of time working in your particular industry. As you spend more time with each other, this quadrant of the window will begin to expand.

2. Blind Spot

The Blind pot quadrant is best understood by visualizing yourself driving a car down the highway.

As you are driving, individuals driving behind you have a better view of your decision if you should merge into another lane. They can see your situation from a different angle.

This quadrant contains information that others can see that you might have missed, and it is particularly interesting as we discuss DiSC and our own behaviors.

3. Mask

The Mask quadrant is information that we keep secret from others.

It’s important to note that the decision to withhold information doesn’t have to be a conscious one. Often, this quadrant could be larger because of insecurities, social norms, or culture. 

For example, a person might not disclose how they feel about a new project that their boss wants to start. They might have an experience of a similar project that failed, but the culture of their company doesn’t allow them to speak up and share that experience. Fear of how they will look if they disagree with their boss might cause them to stay quiet.

4. Unknown

The Unknown quadrant represents information that neither of us know about ourselves or each other. Trainers, coaches, and teachers work hard to shine light into this window through shared discovery. 

As an example, many individuals who become public speakers don’t seek out this line of work. Individuals who are believed to be shy and introverted might only learn about their skills in public speaking in the instant when they try it. Everyone present for that moment now has a better understanding of the person that they thought was only shy and introverted.

Johari Window and DiSC

The ultimate goal of an Everything DiSC Workplace Training is to build deeper relationships. When this happens, communication is more effective, and the team’s culture is more open and inviting.

During a DiSC Workshop and during our DiSC Certification, we ask participants to read page four of their Workplace Report and to ‘personalize’ their report. We ask them to do the following:

  1. Put a checkmark next to statements that you agree are like you
  2. Put an “x” next to statements that are not like you
  3. Put a question mark next to statements that you’re not sure are like you
  4. Underline the three statements that you feel best describe you

After participants take time to do this, we ask them to join in pairs and discuss their report with the person sitting next to them. In this moment, we can see live changes in the pairs relationship.

Using the Johari Window framework, the most noticeable change during this activity is that the mask window starts to shrink.

DiSC and the Mask Window

A person who has a strongly inclined DC/CD-Style recognizes that their skepticism is simply a part of their behavior, and that it’s valued on their team. That same person recognizes that their partner, who has a strongly inclined i-Style, adds value to the team by bringing enthusiasm and a desire to build relationships with everyone on the team. It’s not that they are lazy and avoiding work when they spend time asking each person how their weekend. Because of their style, they strongly value and seek out these interactions. 

DiSC and the Blind-Spot

An often overlooked quadrant that shrinks during this activity is the Blind Spot. As the pairs of individuals discuss their personal styles, we occasionally hear a rebuttal about a behavior that someone crossed off thinking they don’t exhibit. 

An example that happens more often than not is a person asking their colleague with a C-Style how they could possibly believe they aren’t skeptical. The fact that they are questioning if they are skeptical is a prime example of their skepticism.

DiSC and the Arena

The ultimate effect when individuals begin to share more about themselves is that the arena quadrant begins to expand. This is the goal of DiSC. When this happens, relationships get stronger, and trust is strengthened.

When work relationships have a large arena they can engage in conflict without fear of a fight. They can be open and honest with each other when providing feedback. Often, these teams enjoy coming to work and being around each other.

How to use the Johari Window during a DiSC Training

DiSC is only effective if it is used. While the theory is interesting, the value of DiSC is when two people are able to engage in using it. 

What does this mean? 

One of the Cornerstone Principles of Workplace is that all DiSC styles and priorities are equally valuable. Using the Johari Window, ask your participants at the end of your session to fill out one piece of information for each quadrant that they learned about their relationship with another person.

This short exercise allows them to take a moment and visualize one relationship. This exercise can also be used within a team meeting setting as a follow-up to the DiSC training.

Using a Different Version of DiSC?

We want to encourage those that use DiSC to consider using Everything DiSC. Learn more about the most personalized DiSC Profile: Everything DiSC Workplace.