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Johari Window as a Tool in Interpersonal Communication

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The blind spot quadrant of the Johari Window describes the dynamics of information that is unknown to one person, but known by others. As applied to relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate, the blind spot consists of activities that the supervisor expects the subordinate to perform, but the subordinate is not aware that he is expected to perform (Wilson, 2014). This blind spot may include behaviors that the subordinate is exhibiting and that are affecting others in a particular way. The subordinate may be unaware or perceives himself as not having the ability to perform in a certain situation. However, the supervisor can see exactly how the subordinate feels or knows from the subordinate’s behavior or a previous experience that indicates the subordinate does not have the skills and abilities to perform in a particular situation. An analysis of my potential blind spot leads to a realization that even as a team member there is more information that I am not aware of, but which all the other team members may know. I may not be aware that I am communicating information to my teammates as they take it from my verbal cues, and certain gestures and mannerisms, or from the way I say things, or the behavioral style in which I relate to others. An example for this is I may not be aware that I am not capable of looking straight to the person I am talking to and that this behavior shapes my teammates’ perception of me as an individual that they cannot fully trust.

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The hidden spot in the Johari Window consists of an information regarding how I resent my supervisor’s behavior and that his behavior has also earned him the resentment of many employees in our workplace and that he is not aware of it. Our supervisor always brags of his financial situation and how he is intellectually superior to all his subordinates because of his salary rate. The supervisor further thinks that all his subordinates are truly amazed and inspired by his fortune, but the truth is that his overly arrogant behavior has been perceived as a rude person and that his arrogance is hurting his relationship with his co-workers. All his subordinates are intentionally underperforming with their tasks so that the supervisor will be reprimanded by upper management for his department’s low productivity. Despite knowing this information, I keep this information hidden from the supervisor because I fear that he will attack me personally if the supervisor knew how I feel, what my perceptions and opinions are about him. While I was able to withhold information and kept a hidden spot, I hold the same thought for my supervisor and suspect that he also has hidden spots.

The Johari Window analysis is “a process of giving and receiving feedback” (Luft, 1984) that is important in the supervisor-subordinate relationship. Through the feedback process, a person can see himself as other people see him and vice-versa and thus with the established knowledge of information on how a person’s behavior affects other people, the emotions and perceptions and vice-versa, the process of giving and receiving feedback can help in improving the supervisor-subordinate relationship. The Johari Window analysis can be used to improve the supervisor and subordinate relationship through self-awareness and better understanding. The Johari Window provides the supervisor and his subordinates, including myself, the opportunity to look into how each individual view themselves and how others view them. It facilitates for the opening up the different lines of communication with others as it shows how everyone become increasingly more open to others as the supervisor and his subordinates get to know each other and share information about themselves. Through the Johari Window, the supervisor and subordinates are moved into the open area through the “process of disclosure by exposing relevant information and feelings” (Saxena, 2015) thus, reducing the hidden area. The disclosure and exposure processes can increase the open area and reduce poor behaviors, misunderstanding, confusion, or fear of judgment thus, for building “cooperation, understanding, trust, reliability, healthy team work, and efficacy” (Saxena, 2015).

A transactional analysis of the supervisor-subordinate relationship demonstrates an instance when the supervisor acted like parents or adults which is whenever my supervisor gets into a conversation with a subordinate with the gesture of wagging his finger at the subordinate. As the supervisor wags his finger, he also speaks in a rather harsh tone as he points out the tardiness of the subordinate and telling the subordinate what should be done to correct this, thus illustrating the instance when the supervisor is in a parent-to-child ego state. The supervisor can be considered as exhibiting the parent ego which refers to personality attributes such as value, attitude and parental behavior of parent. Parental ego can be a nurturing parent ego or critical parent ego. A nurturing parent ego is described with “over protectiveness, helpful, distant, dogmatic, indispensable and upright parent behaviors” which when exhibited to a child may result in the child inheriting the same pattern of behavior” (Chapter 9, 2007). In the case of my supervisor, he can be considered as exhibiting the critical parent ego as reflected by his hurtful behavior such as waging finger at the subordinates and his expression of dissatisfaction. The critical parent ego displays behavior that is strict as it entails “quoting rules, laws and greatly relies on successful people.

 The supervisor-subordinate relationship can be improved using transactional analysis in “examining the nature of interpersonal communication between the involved individuals and to analyze its effectiveness” (Chapter 9, 2007). Each person transacts from all the three ego states, but each one has one dominating ego state. “A transaction is effective when stimulus and response is from the same ego state and the complementary in nature while crossed transactions create conflict and problems for interpersonal behavior” (Chapter 9, 2007). The transactional analysis works in the organization in which the supervisor will get the work done from subordinates by “advising, guiding, and by assigning rewards for good work and punishment for non-performance” (Chapter 9, 2007). The subordinates or the child ego will listen to the supervisor and look forward for advice, guidance, and assistance at each stage of their productivity. However, because of these behaviors of the subordinates, the supervisor may get frustrated as he may develop the feeling that he is controlling an inefficient work force. In the case of my supervisor, transactional analysis leads to the goal of obtaining a favorable outcome from the child-to-parent ego state when the subordinate apologizes and says he won’t be late again which illustrates a “complementary transaction” (Schieltz, 2016). Also, a parent-to-child ego state is demonstrated if the supervisor talks to the subordinate in the attempt to figure out what went wrong and a complementary response from the subordinate as he yields and cooperates in resolving his issue with tardiness.

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