The New Johari Window #25. Quadrant Three: The Hidden/Protected Area

The New Johari Window #25. Quadrant Three: The Hidden/Protected Area

The third quadrant is all about privacy and disclosure. This is the hidden dimension of interpersonal relationships. What is known to self and not known to others is the private, hidden or (I suggest in the New Johari Window) “protected” realm. Here discretion reigns.

Struggle for Control

While discretion and protection are of primary importance in Quad Three, it is important not to overlook an even more fundamental challenge operating in this quadrant. It is in Quad Three that we so vividly see the tension between internal and external control of self. This quadrant is all about the extent to which I can control the swirling potential for disclosure that sets the stage for leakage of protected material into public view. (Quad One)

Internal Control of Self

The third quadrant is a repository for what you know, including what you know about yourself and about others, and prefer to keep to yourself. This is the perspective of Quadrant 3 when there is a strong internal locus of control (a bias that underlies the original Johari Window). In essence, the disclosure of internally-controlled Quad Three (Q3:I) involves two fundamental issues: (1) what does this other person want to know about me and (2) what does this other person have a right to know about me.

First, what do other people want to know? Do I tell them about my unsightly rash or my hemorrhoids? Probably only if they are my intimate partner or physician. What about my financial fears or my dread of growing older or dying? Probably only if they are my therapist, financial advisor, coach or pastor. Should I tell this other person that I really have an aversion to people who are loud or who dominate a conversation?


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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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