Home Interpersonal & Group Psychology Disclosure / Feedback The New Johari Window #3: Interpersonal Relationships and the Locus of Control

The New Johari Window #3: Interpersonal Relationships and the Locus of Control

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Interaction between Internal and External Panes

The gap between internal and external panes is critical. When the gap is large we find three interrelated problems. First, the behavior of the person with the gap is likely to be unpredictable. Shifts in behavior can be quite dramatic, depending on the specific circumstances in which this person finds herself. She is governed at one moment by her own will and at another moment by someone else’s will or by external exigencies. For example, a woman whom I have coached (I will call her Elizabeth) often exhibits nonverbal behavior of which she is aware, but which is discrepant with what she says, particularly with regard to her sense of self-confidence. In her words (Quad One-I), Elizabeth conveys a strong sense of self and presents very clear directions and offers readily understood timelines and criteria for successful completion of her subordinates’ tasks.

Yet, in her nonverbal communication (particularly tone of voice and posture), Elizabeth conveys a quite different impression. Through her voice, Elizabeth seems to be apologizing for giving her subordinates any assignments. Furthermore, she sometimes fails to follow up to see if the assignments have been completed, thereby conveying, through her actions, that either she doesn’t really care about the completion of these specific assignments, or she doesn’t think she is “worthy” of asking her subordinates to complete specific tasks that she has asked them to do. Elizabeth has received ample feedback regarding her nonverbal communication and sporadic lack of follow-up (this is not Quad Two material).

That’s why she has a coach. Yet, she feels like her nonverbal behavior is “out of her control” (Quad One-E) and that sometimes she can’t assert herself with regard to follow up without coming across as a “demanding boss.” Prior to our coaching sessions, the nonverbal communication remained for Elizabeth “out of her control.” As a result of the coaching, she began to realize that she was not too demanding—rather she was unpredictable. This is what frustrated her subordinates. Elizabeth came to see that greater predictability regarding follow-up was critical to her effective leadership and that self-confidence resides not only in what one says, but also in what one does. This increase in compatibility between words (Quad One-I) and actions (Quad One-E) helped Elizabeth to begin speaking in a manner that conveyed more confidence and self-assurance.

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