I was recently working with a group of leaders and we were using Johari’s Window as a framework for reflection and exploring what they had learnt about themselves during participation in their leadership development programme. Much of the conversation focused around the Blind Spot quadrant of the window which represents those things that other people can see about you that are not visible to you. For example, it may be that your “thinking face” can make you look as though your are irritated, or it may be that others see you as very skilled in managing opposition. The key is that other people can see this and you can’t, so you can only find out about it from them.
Looking back on the session there were a couple of things that struck me. The first arose from someone’s observation that Blind Spot has a negative connotation. For example, the blind spot when driving is the other vehicle that we are likely to collide with if we don’t check the mirror before we manoeuvre. It was a great reminder that the language we use has a powerful effect on our expectations. Blind Spot suggests something we’ve missed, and typically we anticipate that will be bad. So perhaps when we are looking to get some insights on any potential Blind Spots it might be more effective to start the conversation with “What do you notice that I do well?”
Someone else then highlighted that when riding a motorcycle this action of checking in the mirror is called the Lifesaver. The use of the term Lifesaver creates a different energy and is much more action oriented than the term Blind Spot; it’s a great reminder of how language can engage and prompt action…or not!