12/10/12

Motivating Your Employees - Opening the Johari Window

A good manager is the one that people know and trust, the one that people are not afraid to share ideas, thoughts and fears with, the one that shows not only strengths but also weaknesses. Good communication is a critical key in a team. Only when your teams knows you, they will trust your decisions even when you are not allowed to share all the details with them.

A good tool to build engagement and motivate your employees is opening the Johari window.
What on Earth is that you may ask?

Well, you can find a lot of great details about it on Wikipedia if you want to go in further detail. It's a concept developed by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the US, in the 50s. I will not detail it too much - I will just tell you that from the table below which represents the Johari window, you need to start opening the Hidden area, the area which includes all the items you know about yourself and that others don't and would be useful to know for the well-being of your team.

The Johari Window
The Johari Window
All nice so far, but what to do exactly to open this area?
I will tell you what I did. I created a set of open questions, some work-related and some personal that we all answer during our weekly meetings.

At the end of each regular weekly HR meeting where we discuss important items for our department, I bring out a set of 5 questions that each of us has to answer (refusal is of course an option - nobody is forced to do it, but answering allows us to know each other better and allows the ladies in the team to know me better and understand my decisions).

5 questions in a session are enough because answering them (we are 4 people) takes us around 15-20 minutes, so that's enough for one session. You can use our ideas or create your own questions - the idea is to start communicating with each other and share thoughts and ideas, know each other better, know what you like or dislike and understand your fears and reasons for being proud - the purpose of the exercise is to bring the team together and create stronger bonds.

Ideas of questions to use:
1. What I like most in this company is that...
2. What I would improve in the way our team works is.....
3. What I like about you best is ... (here each member of the team tells each of the others what they like best)
4. The positive items that I bring to this team are...
5. What I would improve about myself is.......
6. I find it difficult to work with people that...
7. I would like you to support me when...
8. The most difficult thing about my work is...
9. During week-ends I love to...
10. I find balance in life doing.....

The list is practically endless - you can put in it whatever you can think of. Just make sure to insert personal details as well not only work-related; the team is stronger if the members have personal connections as well, not only work-related. And use it as often as you can. You will be surprised to see how many new things you discover about each other.

Take care,
Geo

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