Effective communication is important – in business as well as in personal life. Successful communication results in a successful business. However, communication is not applicable only to two or more people. Effective communication with self is the foundation of effective and successful communication with others.
Importance of Effective Communication With Self
Self-awareness leads to effective communication with self.
For example, a manager’s first task is to plan goals and how to achieve those goals. To set the goal properly, the manager needs to know what he/she exactly needs to achieve using the available resources.
If the manager is not well aware of the actual needs, his own ability to achieve the goals, and his team’s ability to achieve the goals – the manager will not be able to set the proper goals.
Conflicts for Ineffective Communication With Self
Without effective communication with the self, various conflicts will arise. Simply put, conflict is disagreements. Conflict can be of three types:
- Intra-personal conflict:
This type of conflict arises within a person. An example of intrapersonal conflict is when you are not sure about your capability to achieve something or you are not sure exactly what is expected from you.
- Interpersonal conflict:
It is a conflict between two or more people.
- Inter-group conflict:
This is a conflict between multiple groups
An individual is a common entity in all three types of conflict. So if there is intra-personal conflict, that might generate Interpersonal and Inter-group conflict.
Johari Window Model on Effective Communication
Johari Window Model is named after the researcher Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, who made the model. This model analyzes and understands how people act in group dynamics.
Effective communication depends on how much you know yourself and how much other people know you. Therefore, the factor of knowing someone from 2 perspectives (self and others) is put in a matrix.
Here is the Johari Window Model:
|Known to Self||Not Known to Self|
|Known to Others||Open Area||Blind Spot|
|Not Known to Others||Hidden Area||Unknown|
In this region, you know yourself, and your team members know this part of you. So everyone feels comfortable. Communication is easier. Collaboration happens easily without any barriers. Therefore, productivity increases, and the possible conflicts remain at the least level.
Here you do not know something about yourself which is known to others. As we grow, we build perceptions about ourselves. However, sometimes some of those perceptions are not right. Unless anyone else tells you, with empathy and sensitivity, you will never know that part of you. This is your blind spot.
Feedback can reduce your blind space. But communicating feedback is very sensitive. So both the receiver and the sender of feedback should be very careful.
You may call it the private area that you dislike sharing with others. So, only you know about this part of you. As a result, others feel discomfort discussing topics that fall under your hidden areas.
As the open space is the space of productivity, the hidden space is the opposite. This area stops productivity. If the hidden area is bigger, it will reduce the open space area.
This area is unknown to both you and your team members. As natural instinct, we feel fear of the unknown. So this is the locked area where communication is not possible.
How To Improve Effective Communication:
You have to broaden your Open Area to improve effective communication. This is the part of you that is known to you and also known to others. Here effective communication leads to the maximum level of productivity.
The open area is the area where the possibility of conflict is minimum. Therefore, a manager needs to broaden his/her open space.
1. Open Area is Effective Communication Area
The first step to broadening the open area is to realize the importance of this area. You can use the concept of the Johari window to increase your self-awareness. This will improve your communication with others.
The more information you can bring into the open area from the hidden, blind and unknown areas, the better your interpersonal communication will be.
Let’s discuss this with an example. When you join a new team, other team members don’t know about you, nor do you know the other team members. As a result, no one will feel comfortable discussing anything.
Once you know others’ education, job context, strengths, focus, etc., you will feel comfortable communicating. The same goes for other team members about you.
For this reason, when a new team is formed, the first step is to know each other.
2. Decrease the Space of Other Areas
In the Johari Window, the four areas are related to one other. If you want to expand one space, you must narrow the other. Therefore, the second way to broaden Open space is to decrease the space of other areas.
If you want to decrease the space of Blind Spot, you need to seek feedback. Make other team members comfortable with making constructive, sensitive, and neutral feedback on you. Welcome to such feedback. Give that time, though, and good judgment. If you accept feedback with proper consideration, you can decrease your blind spot and increase the open area.
If you want to decrease your hidden area, you need to communicate that part of you that is known to you but not known to other team members. Open up on the areas that will facilitate productivity.
3. Communicate Properly
Intra-personal conflict results from frustration, conflict in the role, or conflict in the goal. If communication within self and within the team members is facilitated, then intra-personal conflict will not be generated.
For example, if the manager is well aware of the sales team’s need for vehicles to visit clients, the manager will allocate resources accordingly. So, the salesperson needs to communicate his/her need to the manager to remove the hidden area.
In this example, another important thing is assuming that the manager knows everything. Though the manager knows about the need for a vehicle, he/she might not feel the importance. So, rather than assuming, the salesperson should communicate properly.
4. Develop an Open Area for Team Members
To facilitate productivity and decrease conflict, the manager must focus on developing an ‘open area’ for every person. Other team members will expand their open area when the culture or working environment is friendly. When we work with others who are well known to us, we feel comfortable working and achieving together.
5. Be a Good Listener
Established team members logically tend to have larger open areas than new team members do. New team members start with relatively small open areas because relatively little knowledge about the new team member is shared. The size of the open area can be expanded horizontally into the blind space by seeking and actively listening to feedback from other group members.
6. Facilitate Effective Communication in the Team
Group members can also help other team members to expand their open area into the hidden area by asking the person about him/herself. The manager can play an important role here by facilitating feedback and disclosure among group members. The manager can also give feedback to individuals about their own blind areas.
Knowing thyself is the foundation of effective communication. The Johari window model is simple to understand and a good tool to facilitate required communication for productive team performance with the least conflict.