Team Activity: The Johari Window

Posted by Kristin Arnold on October 4, 2022

team activity johari window

This team activity allows you to creatively discuss the importance of team building activities and feedback, using a communication theory model you may have heard of or seen before called the Johari Window.

The ideal team size is five to thirty people and the time requirement is about fifteen to twenty minutes.

Team activity materials:

  • Easel paper with “window” drawn without the labels
  • Marking pen
  • Paper for each team member
  • Pens

Begin this activity in a space large enough for the team to mingle about and gather in a circle. Describe the elements of the Johari Window, while writing the elements on the easel chart:

“There are things you know about me, and I know about me. This is called my ‘open window.’” Ask for examples of things the team knows about you and that you know about yourself (e.g., I have two children. I live in Virginia).

“There are things I know about myself that you don’t know about me. Some of these things you will never, ever know. This is called my ‘hidden window.’ However, as you get to know me, I let you know more things about me. I let down my ‘façade’ and move things from my hidden window into the open window. Icebreakers such as these help us get to know each other better.”

“There are things you know about me that I just don’t know about myself. Like that poppy seed that got stuck between my teeth at lunch. I may not know it’s there, until I go home and look in the mirror and gasp ‘I have a poppy seed stuck between my teeth! How ‘come nobody told me?’ This is where the power of feedback is so important in teams. Both positive as well as constructive feedback.”

“But the really exciting thing is this last window, where both you and I don’t know what we know. This is the window of the ‘creative unknown.’ A very exciting place to be! But notice, we can’t tap into the team synergy without team activities and feedback. So let’s do a fun activity that leverages our creative unknown.”

Ask each team member to write his or her name on the top. Then ask everyone to pass the paper to the person to your right.

Ask each team member to write the name of a movie, TV show, book or magazine that somehow describes the named person.

When the paper has been circulated to every member on the team, ask each team member to read his or her paper aloud. Team members may agree or act surprised at the comments.

Debrief and Summarize

After each team member has read the paper aloud, remark that we have just given feedback through a team activity! Debrief the activity:

  • What did you like most about this activity?
  • Which windows opened for you?
  • Which is easier, to give or receive feedback?
  • How can giving feedback contribute to the team dynamic?
  • How can giving feedback hurt the team dynamic?
  • How might we apply this concept to the team?

If you like this activity, check out my book, Team Energizers, for 49 other team activities!


Related Articles:

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Team Building Activity: Rainbow Connections

11 Promises from a Manager…with a Team Twist!

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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