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Trick or Treat

A representation of the Johari window, illustrating the different areas of self-awareness and visibility.

With Halloween around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about trick or treat. Well, more specifically the trick part. What as leaders, do we trick ourselves into thinking? As a leader, we may not always be aware of how our actions influence others.

In several of the last few leadership trainings I have given, we have discussed the Johari window (see picture above).

The window breaks down like this:

Open: When we are aware of things and others are as well

Example: A leader with an extroverted personality, the leader is aware of it, as are those they lead

Hidden: When we are aware of things (talents, feelings, abilities, experiences secrets) about ourselves, and hide them from others

Example: An analyst has experience in sales, but chooses not to share that with the team, in order to avoid being asked to accompany salespeople on calls

Unknown: Things that we and others are not aware of

Example: Jack Johnson (the musician) was not aware of his talent as a singer until he had a surfing accident. The singing talent was unknown to him and others for many years.

Blind Spot: Things we are not aware of, but others are

Example: A director refuses to admit when they are wrong, they intimidate many of the people on the team and they do not realize it.

Being able to ask for candid feedback from those we trust can help us uncover things in our blind spots.

Reflection Question: What actions will I take to discover what is in my blind spot?

Next Topic: Types of Bias

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