In one of my introduction exercises during my last workshop, I have asked the participants to represent themselves in a simple symbolic picture, showing what is the best thing they are known for. For example, a ‘+’ sign would represent a positive person, a smiley face would represent a happy person etc… and to my surprise, there was a high number of people who, actually didn’t know what to draw, or scratched a picture which wasn’t at all representative of their characteristics.
People sometimes tend to think that they are fully aware of all their good behaviors, qualities and virtues. Few are the ones who actually acknowledge their little mistakes or what we call vices. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in my last mentioned example, as the majority of the 40 attendees, couldn’t tell me that ‘one thing’ that differentiates them from their other colleagues. Over and above all, what intrigued me was how challenging to have all the team in agreement with the symbol each one chose.
In fact, and as per the JOHARI window, a person is represented by four quadrants as follow:
- The Arena Quadrant represents the things that ‘I know’, and ‘others know’ about myself.
- The Façade Quadrant represents the things that ‘I know’, but ‘others don’t know’ about myself.
- The Unknown Quadrant represents the things that ‘I don’t know’ and ‘others also don’t know’ about myself and finally,
- The Blind spot Quadrant represents the things that ‘I don’t know’ but ‘others know’ about myself.
In order to make myself clearer, here are some examples of Blind spots I have discovered in people I met lately:
- People might think they are punctual however they keep coming late to work.
- People might think they have team spirit but they don’t show it when the situation occurs.
- People might think they are positive, but there are many cases where they show negativity.
- People might think they have high interpersonal skills, but they show aggressiveness when communicating.
The whole point is not about what we show and we don’t show. The learning key for all of us is to discover our Blind spots and move to the Arena Quadrant, by acknowledging our areas to improve and increase our self-knowledge. The crime in this case would then be to discover our little vices without taking any action to improve. So to assist you discover your blind spots, here are 9 useful tips:
- Get continuous performance feedback from your managers and supervisors.
- Do psychometric testing to assess your skills (personality & ability tests, Emotional intelligence test,…).
- Run a 360-degree assessment to check on the opinion of all the people working and interacting daily with you.
- Review your job description every while to check where are you towards your desired performance.
- Don’t hesitate to ask your colleagues about a suspicious behavior on a separate one to one meeting.
- Listen to people advices as they wouldn’t share them with you if they don’t care for development.
- Be open to criticism, as sometimes we need it to shake ourselves and wake up from our own world.
- Compare yourself to the best performer in your team and observe what are the things that make them a star performer and act upon the differences.
- Work and live your values, after all we can’t select our values if we don’t portray them professionally in front of others.