During my graduation days, we used to conduct a small exercise in the classroom. On any given day, we would select a single student and for the next ten minutes, the class would contemplate about them and then write some positive and negative traits of the individual. This is a primitive implementation of the Johari Window.

What is the Johari Window?

Johari window is a management concept which describes a person’s personality in terms of two factors: “Knowledge of Attributes to Self” and “Knowledge of Attributes to Self Others“. On the basis of these two, the personality of any individual is defined in terms of four specific windows:

  • Hidden: Attributes known to self, not known to anyone else
  • Open: Attributes known to self, also known to others
  • Blind Spot: Attributes not known to self, but known to others
  • Unknown: Attributes known to no one.
See 2020 through Johari's Window | Daily FT

It makes an excellent exercise to build one’s own Johari Window; it is also a useful tool for self-discovery and self-improvement. Read more about Johari Window here.

The Classroom Exercise

On a particular day, I was made the subject of this exercise. Out of a class of 60 students, I got a total of 43 replies of which I was been able to preserve about 9 (it has been over 4 years since this exercise was conducted). It was quite true to what I was then, to an extent it is true for what I am today too. I share these 9 chits with you today (I have added my own remarks in parentheses with every chit):

The first chit lists my positive attributes as: “Very helpful during exams, down to earth, and helpful”; while my negative traits are: “shakl achchi nahi hai (does not have a pretty face), chashma bahut bada hai (wears glasses of a big frame), shave nahi karta (does not shave)”… Okay, a bad chit to start with…

The second chit does not see any negative in me, it says Kinshuk is “good in studies and hard working”.

The next chit also doesn’t see any negative traits in me, strangely it doesn’t see anything positive either. it simply states some of my behaviours. “Kinshuk is”, it says, a “man of principles and values, always talks of philosophy, and has a different perspective to life”. Hmm….

The next chit is a wise one. According to it, I am a “typical bihari, our own joker, and very intelligent”. That means either I have a good sense of humour, or an extremely pathetic sense of humour so as my follies make others laugh; silly me.

The next one stays true to the exercise, a bit. It says, my positive traits are: “punctual, intelligent, and helpful” and my negative traits are: “hairless (??), too outspoken, and always raising questions”. Now, outspoken-ness has always been a big problem of mine.

The next one again skips my negative traits (I love all my classmates). My positive traits, according to it are: “computer mechanic (must mean skilled in computers), “always lives in technical world” (trying to be geek), “sentimental towards Bihar and motivator (a-ha!)”.

The seventh chit is critical of me and also tries to state facts about me. It says: Kinshuk is “argumentative, changes words very oftenly (I am quoting the exact wordings from the chits), is mad for something he himself doesn’t know, is very rational and logical, and wants to be a very true human being”.

The next one finds me praiseworthy: Kinshuk is “decent, helpful, soft spoken, good in studies, jolly, and small in size (err…)”.

The next one looks like a person who didn’t know me well, for they attempted to copy what the person writing the 8th chit had to say: Kinshuk is “decent, helpful, soft spoken, good in studies, and [some scribbling]“. Perhaps, they ran out of time.

I would recommend such activity to you but with some alterations.

Conductive Effective Johari Window Exercise

An effective Johari Window exercise should be conducted in small groups. Don’t go for a huge sample of 60 students. Do it with a group of 4-7 friends. Repeat it with a number of such groups.

Prefer people who know you well, but do not exclude people who have just got to know you. The first impression, after all, is the last impression. Be honest and sincere. Take all criticism positively.

Don’t try to suck up to people; Don’t try to impress them or be in their good books; Don’t try to be too harsh or over-critical. You are ruining the exercise.
Document all results.

I found an online solution that simplifies this process to an extent. There is a web application developed by Kevan Davies that provides you with your own Johari Window. In fact, Kevan went a step further and created another application of Johari Window, which he calls the Nohari Window. The first application is your Johari Window for your positive traits or Virtues. The Nohari Window is your Johari Window for Negative Traits.

You can find my Johari Window and Nohari Window at these individual locations.

Feel free to share your experiences with Johari Windows, suggested exercise, or anything else for that matter.