Do I See Us As You See Us? – Psychology At Work

For all you know, your mind could be playing tricks on you. Do you really see yourself and other people in the workplace or does your perception inhibit you from truly seeing at the reality around you?

According to Psychology, there are things that you alone know about yourself, things that others know about you, things that both you and others know about you, and there are blind spots in your personality which remain undetected. These four concepts are encapsulated in a heuristic (experience-based) tool that is commonly used to assess one’s understanding of interpersonal relationships and communications called the Johari window.

The Johari window, on top of serving as a tool to assess personality, is a very effective tool for understanding human interaction and perception at the work place. It tries to simplify perception in the workplace as well, whether its perception about oneself or perception about the others.

By using the descriptive power of 56 well-selected adjectives, the Johari window unravels the 4 quadrants of a person’s personality. The first quadrant ñ the Arena or Open quadrant ñ offers a quick view of the person’s personality according to his personal knowledge and the knowledge of the other participants about himself. The second quadrant called the FaÁade or Hidden quadrant is exclusive to the perception of the individual about himself. These comprise of information that are of private nature and are not usually revealed to others. The third quadrant is the Blind Spots or Blind quadrant. This comprises of information that is only obvious to others, but not known to the person who possesses them. The last and final quadrant, the Unknown quadrant, is the most mysterious of all as it contains the subconscious or unconscious components of the person, may it be attitude, personality or behavior.

Perhaps, the quadrants that are of great interest to people who are trying to link the reality with their own perception are the open and the hidden quadrants. The former is important because this presents everything that is factual ñ the behaviors, motives, feelings, needs and wants of the person, in fact, any information that can be confirmed by both the person and the people around him. This essentially ties one’s perception about oneself with other’s perception about himself. The second quadrant, meanwhile, could warp one’s perception about his environment. The things he knows about himself but chooses not to reveal to others could produce conflicting perceptions. Any discrepancy between these two quadrants could produce differences between a person’s perception and the reality.

According to the principles of the Johari window, people interact and communicate at the Open quadrant plane and whatever is enclosed in the Blind quadrant may affect human interaction, usually in a negative way.

While very effective at identifying the differences in perception between the person in question and the participants who are helping to decode his personality, the Johari window does not fully answer the questions of whether or not a person truly sees himself and others as they are. This is because the idea itself of perception is highly variable, highly subjective, and heavily dependent on a variety of factors (results can sometimes change depending on some extraneous variables). Not to mention, the principles that govern human interaction at the workplace is very complicated and is not readily answered by a single heuristic tool.

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