The New Johari Window #23: Quadrant Two: Interpersonal Needs

The New Johari Window #23: Quadrant Two: Interpersonal Needs

Control

Those with a strong need for control, coupled with an external, reactive focus must address a somewhat different issue than do those with reactive inclusion needs). Those with a high, reactive need for control must seek out answers to a question that is fundamental to their interpersonal relationships: “Is anyone in charge?” There are two closely related statements: “I want someone else in this relationship or group to provide leadership and assume authority and responsibility.” “I fear that no one will provide much direction in this relationships or group, leaving the relationship or group unfocused and chaotic.”

When we specifically turn to Quad Two, the question to be asked is altered a bit: “Does anyone know about my need (or lack of need) for exerting control in this relationship (group) or about my need (or lack of need) for someone else to exert control in this relationship (group)?” When my need for control is being engaged primarily through the second quadrant, then other people must detect (or infer) my need for control or influence or my need to have someone else take charge.

Our desire to be in charge (proactive) is manifest in many ways. We can openly express our desire (Q1) for control, but this is not acceptable or “polite” in many societies. Furthermore, we often are not even openly aware of this need. As a result, our desire for control or influence is often expressed indirectly – through our tendency to interrupt other people, excessive advice-giving or criticism, or (from a more positive perspective) enthusiasm regarding a specific project or the willingness to lend a hand in organizing or enacting a specific project.

The same dynamic often operates in one’s expression of a need for someone else to be in charge. We usually express this need indirectly. Rarely do we say: “hey . . . isn’t anyone going to run this show!” – though we might like to be this candid (Quad One) when we find ourselves working in a messy and disorganized setting. Anarchy is rarely pleasant! We may complain a bit about disorganization or the failure of our group to complete a task, but we usually are not candid enough (Q1) or insight enough to indicate that we are uncomfortable with a lack of clear leadership or guidance. Our expression of a reactive need for control out there among other parties in the relationship or group is more likely to “leak out” (from Quad 3 or even Quad 4). This need is subsequently observed, but not acknowledged or discussed by other people in the relationship or group (hence it is situated in our second quadrant).

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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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