By Michael Mooney, NACM Exec. Elder
Recently I was considering the great potential for ministry practitioners to use the Johari Window during their times of reflection.
If you have never heard of this approach, it is a communication model that helps to identify patterns in our social relations with others. Considering that human relations are at the crux of all ministry, a tool that helps ministers improve their communication skills seems essential. Probably most revealing is how this tool brings light to the reality of our personal blind spots of “the self.” This is achieved by picturing a window with four panes:
The open self describes the personal understanding of how ministers “come across” to others. In this pane, ministers are aware of their influence on others, and the influence that others have on them. With this knowledge, interpersonal conflict remains minimal.
The hidden self describes the understanding of influence that ministers have on others, while lacking awareness for how others influence them. This often leads to poor communication as a result of ministers becoming defensive. If you ever find yourself becoming defensive in a conversation about God, you may want to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the part of your “hidden self” to you so that you can grow in this area.
The blind self describes when ministers feel they understand the needs of others, but are unaware of the impressions they make with others. Because they are unaware, they are unable to pray about their shortcomings and take steps to improve their behaviors. This state is very likely to result in interpersonal conflict. Often this category is one of the biggest reasons churches do not grow, and the message of the Gospel goes unheard. Unfortunately because this is a blind spot, ministers who encounter poor social relations tend to judge others as not having an interest in the things of God.
Lastly, the undiscovered self describes the conditions where ministers lack self-awareness along with the understanding of others. In this state, ministers are clueless of themselves and others. The possibility for conflict is at its highest point under these circumstances.
Johari window. (2009). In Business: The Ultimate Resource.