The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control

The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control

There is a strong bias toward internal locus of control when it comes to Q3. We want to control what is given out to other people and often ignore the fact that information about our self (especially our feelings and attitudes toward other people) is leaking out all over the place (Q3:E to Q1). Furthermore, while Quad Three is often linked directly to an internal locus of control (Q3:I), there are many dynamics about Quad Three that are directly related to the social context within which the disclosure is being or could be made (external locus of control) (Q3:E).

Q3-I: The Withheld Self

There are several reasons why we choose to control our disclosure to other people. Some of these reasons make perfect sense in a postmodern world that often involves an invasion of our privacy and an overwhelming demand on our time and energy. Some of the other reasons are less justifiable and contribute to the destructive dynamics of misguided human interactions. I will specifically identify five reasons and frame them, as I have in previous essays, as different senses of self: private self, cultural self, false self, reticent self, deferential self, defiant self and prejudicial self.

Private Self

Participants in a postmodern world—which includes most of us—are often in search of personal boundaries and, even more generally, personal integrity. I have already described the challenges of the saturated and overwhelmed self in a postmodern world. Like Greta Garbo, we sometimes “want to be alone.” The world is intruding on our personal space and we don’t know who we are or who we will become. We don’t want to open ourselves up to other people until we are clearer about our “true” self. We fear that by opening our selves up we will be obligated to take in the stories and needs of those people with whom we have disclosed. In other words, we fear that the movement of our Quad Three material to Quad One will mean that we will have to absorb the Quad Three of other people—and we are already filled to capacity (saturated and overwhelmed).


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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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