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

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

It is the same with feedback and the double paned Johari Window. Feedback we receive from other people regarding those aspects of ourselves about which we are truly ignorant (Quad 2-E) encourages our own self-insights regarding information about ourselves that we know at some level but block off from self-awareness (Quad 2-I). A man with whom I work (we will call him Harold), for instance, did not realize that he tends to patronize and act in a condescending manner toward younger women with whom he works. One of his colleagues provided him with feedback about shifts in his tone of voice and rate of speech when working with younger women (Quad 2-E to Quad 1-E). Harold’s voice goes up and he begins to speak slower, which can easily be interpreted as Harold being condescending to and irritated with his younger female colleague.

When Harold received this feedback, he not only took it to heart, but also to consciousness (Quad 1-E). He became fully aware of his own lingering sense that he appeared to be irritated with virtually all of the women with whom he works. With the help of his coach, Harold explored the reasons for this irritation and discovered that the real issue concerned a lingering sense that he was somehow “responsible” for the success of these women. He wanted them to succeed because he thought that women had every right to be in the workplace. He laid too much responsibility on his own shoulders for making this happen and, as a result, was resentful and, frankly, patronizing. Harold’s support for women’s rights had backfired and he only began to relate his inadvertent self (Quad 1-E) with his ignorant self (Quad 2-E) after receiving the feedback.

In general, we don’t like to link together our internal and external panes. On the one hand, we don’t want to acknowledge that some things are out of our control. We want to believe that we are in charge of our own self—if not the world around us. It is not just (as Joe Luft noted) that we don’t want to believe other people know things about ourselves that we don’t know (Quad Two). It is also that we don’t want to believe that there are aspects of our public (Quad One) and private self (Quad Three), as well as our potential self (Quad Four), that resides outside our control and even our awareness. We are always tempted to move from external to internal locus so that we can perpetuate a personal myth that we are captains of our psychic ship.


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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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