On Tuesday I did a post about how to develop task and people skills, and the importance of both. Today I want to develop the people side a bit more. A colleague introduced me to this helpful grid as a guide to interpersonal transaction. It’s called the ‘Johari Window’ – named after the two people who came up with it – Jo and Harry – no joke!
The diagram illustrates that in any transaction there are a number of things going on at the level of that which is revealed and concealed. So there will be things out in the open – common knowledge; there are some things that neither of us knows – because they haven’t happened yet or aren’t in the public domain; there are some things that I know that you don’t – maybe in regards to a situation or another person; and there will be things you know that I don’t.
It’s these latter two which I think are so important. It’s easy to fly off the handle at someone for failing to carry out a task whilst being completely unaware of a traumatic family situation they are going through. Similarly confidentiality means sometimes we’ll take the rap for something that isn’t quite our fault but we can’t divulge details to others. The lesson is always to seek to broaden the ‘open’ area of knowledge, as far as possible, whilst being aware that there will always be things, on both sides, that we don’t or can’t know. A bit more understanding and sensitivity in this area would go a long way to removing much relational tension in our communities.