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

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

There is a third problem associated with the internal/external gap. This concerns the ongoing intra-psychic and interpersonal tensions that are likely to be precipitated by the gap. These tensions are exacerbated by the unpredictability and distortion I just mentioned; yet the misalignment inevitably creates tensions even without these other two problems. Both Elizabeth and Daniel feel very uncomfortable about their interpersonal relationships at work. Elizabeth has often considered leaving her position as a manager because of the tensions caused by her inconsistent and unpredictable supervision of subordinates. Daniel also feels considerable tension—mostly conflict within himself—about whether or not he is letting down his company during the negotiations. He is considering another career in which he doesn’t have to be as “secretive.”

Both Elizabeth and Daniel come to dread their work with other people (Elizabeth within her own organization, Daniel with representatives of other organizations). This fear eventually distorts all of their interpersonal quadrants, and they are both left with a growing gap between the interpersonal world they control (or at least influence) and the interpersonal world they do not control (or influence very little). Elizabeth has received some coaching assistance which has enabled her to more closely align her internal and external panes (especially in Quad One), whereas Daniel has received little assistance and believes that he has been left to “fend for himself” in what he perceived to be the “uncaring” and “cut-throat” business of procurement and price negotiations. Like many men and women who experience a widening gap between his internal and external panes, Daniel sees his own powers (internal locus) declining and the forces outside himself (the other parties to the price negotiations) growing in power. No wonder he wants to escape to another line of work.

In addition to the challenges that people like Elizabeth and Daniel face in seeking to narrow the gap between the internal and external panes, there are additional challenges associated with the issue of personal awareness. To what extent does each of us see the internal and external forces that interplay with one another in our interpersonal relationships? How aware am I and how much control do I have over what I convey to other people? Both disclosure and feedback are helpful in this regard. Disclosure and feedback do much more than expand Quad 1 (and reduce some of Quad 4).


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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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