Just over two years have come and gone, and left the ‘COVID’ mark on every person on the planet. Many have been affected in one way or another, some more radically than others. What’s been affected the most has been our personalities, and as a result, our behaviour has changed.

Do you ever think, “Who’s the real me”? Knowing who you really are, how others really feel about your behaviour, and how you come across is all part of self-awareness. Self-awareness is so crucial that it’s been dubbed “the meta skill of the 21st century” by organisational psychologist and researcher, Dr Tasha Eurich.

The part of self-awareness that I want to unpack is that ‘something’ about our behaviour that limits us or takes us to the point of destruction because it pushes people away and can destroy relationships. It’s like when we have this ability to spot a problem in others, but we are blind to it when looking at ourselves.

Human skills, as growth advisor and sales strategist Seth Godin puts it, are an art that we learn over time, and they lead to higher emotional intelligence.

An example of one of my own blind spots is that I see myself as a great listener and believe that those who know me believe this too. But if I asked them, they would say, “Ahem, Teresa, there are times when you do not listen. You are impatient and just waiting for me to finish what I’m saying, so you can voice your own opinions.” Regrettably, I’m blind to parts of who I really am. We all are.

Understanding your own behaviour is key to personal growth and it’s where you unlock your untapped talents and abilities.

I’m sure you can think about people you know – colleagues, friends, clients, or family members – who are oblivious or have a degree of self-denial about how they come across.

  • They think they have a great sense of humour, while others cringe at their sarcasm and inappropriate comments.
  • They think they are respected for being straightforward, but people avoid them because they are intolerant and insensitive.
  • They think they’re being helpful by sharing their opinions and suggestions with everyone they meet, but they interrupt others to do so, and their input is often unsolicited

Every age has its massive moral blind spots. We might not see them, but our children will – Bono, U2 lead singer

I’ve found the Johari Window trust model useful to clarify the dynamics of our awareness and trust levels, as they pertain to relationships. It’s based on two premises:

  1. By disclosing hidden characteristics about yourself to others, trust will develop.
  2. Learn about yourself from the feedback of others.

Like a windowpane, the trust model has four ‘panes’: the open self or arena; the hidden self or mask; blind spots; and potential.

When you look through your own window, you can see the arena (the actions, behaviours and information known to you and those around you) and the mask, but you can’t see your blind spots nor your potential. Yet, when others look through the same window, they can see the latter.

Personal development is about opening the whole window, so that people you have a relationship with – whether a partner, co-worker, or friend – will be able to see all four of the panes. That’s when the levels of trust and love will be elevated, and a solid relationship will be established.

In the next Wetu Wednesday Workplace issue, we go more in-depth with the Johari Window trust model and discuss DISC behavioural assessments – and how they can benefit you in your personal growth journey or your business.


*Teresa M. Richardson is the founder of TM Reworked (PTY) Ltd.

I help business owners effect positive change in the behaviours, actions and attitudes of their workforce, allowing them to use their innate strengths to create a culture of trust, enhanced communication, increased productivity and profitability through behavioural profiling analysis and practical training methologies.

TM Reworked. Enhancing Business Results Through People.

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