Look Through The Johari Window
The Johari Window provides useful perspective for interpreting 360 results. Named not, as it sounds, after a mystical Eastern philosophy but rather, for its inventors Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingam, the contingency table divides ways to understand one’s 360 responses.Optimally, all of a survey recipient’s reactions to his or her 360 data would fit in the “Public” block; 360 data recipients would be able to perfectly predict all their responses.
Working with thousands of scientists and their 360 data, we have not yet encountered anyone who perfectly predicted—or has been completely surprised—by his or her 360 responses. A few peoples’ predictions closely approximate, and some broadly miss, their actual results, but most are generally accurate. Nearly all miss a few things. They say the survey results are helpful in pointing out specific items they need to work on.
Some of the things people need to work on reside in the “Blind” block. These are aspects of their communications that elicit reactions they were not aware of. Scientists’ “Blind” block often includes others’ reactions to their efforts to criticize. The scientist did not realize that the criticism of others’ work that they thought was “crisp” and “rigorous but fair,” was perceived by the recipients of the criticism as “devastating,” “withering,” “over the top,” or “dehumanizing”.
Other, different things people need to work on fit more accurately in the “Hidden” block. These are aspects of their communications that they thought they had made clear, but that others apparently have not seen. This occurs when scientists thought they were providing more than enough information about progress on key tasks, only to find that their 360 survey respondents want and need much more.
The distinction between “Blind” and “Hidden” responses is important because each requires a different action response. Responding to “Blind” issues asks 360 survey recipients to generally withdraw, to pull back on behaviors that irritate, annoy, or anger others. Responding to “Withheld” issues, on the other hand, requires 360 survey recipients to generally step up, push forward, and communicate more about matters that interest, involve, or impact others.