The New Johari Window #23: Quadrant Two: Interpersonal Needs
Third, the questionnaire and survey results allow for comparisons among people. I can be more “in need of control” than you are, and you can be more “in need of openness.” We can both be less in need of inclusion than are most people. These comparisons can be very liberating when they are treated not as “good” and “bad” personality traits, but rather as legitimate and appropriate interpersonal differences. This more constructive comparison often is found only when the sharing of interpersonal need scores is facilitated by an experienced trainer, consultant or coach.
A third strategy is closely related to the second, though it is interactive in nature, rather than being based on administration of a specific questionnaire or survey. This third strategy is the systematic exploration and discussion of interpersonal needs through the use of group exercises. Often used as a team-building tool, the so-called “FIRO Microlab” builds on the FIRO-B survey developed by Schutz. Members of a small group are asked to respond to a set of stem questions regarding inclusion (e.g. “When I enter a new group I am likely to do . . . in order to gain acceptance.”), control (e.g. “I will give up control in a group to another person if they can show me that they can do . . .”) and openness (e.g. “I am likely to open up to another person when they do . . .”).
By moving systematically through a set of 10 to 15 questions (equal number in each of the three need categories), and by starting with inclusion and then moving on to control and, finally, to openness, a small group of workshop participants can gain considerable insight about their own interpersonal needs. They can compare their own needs—and how and when these needs are manifest—with other members of their discussion group. The FIRO-Microlab is even more powerful when used as a team-building tool with a newly formed task group. Members of the group move through the questions in one to two hours and at the end of this process are often in a place to move rapidly (and with interpersonal understanding and appreciation) into the convening task. In an era of short-term task forces and ad hoc work groups, the FIRO-Microlab has become a valuable tool for the facilitation of interpersonal and group relations.