Where Johari Window and Maslow’s Hierarchy Combine


The Secret to Successful Teams

Many studies reveal a consistently counterintuitive result about the make-up of the most successful teams. It is not the people with the longest, most impressive list of credentials, including experience, that make up the best team members. These studies have found that when all else is equal, social skills add the magic (co-operation, collegiality, and that elusive attribute called being mutually supportive). I suppose that makes sense as we are trying to find the combination of people that are going to consistently perform at the highest levels, together. Team happiness is going to be a big success factor.

Going Beyond the Job: Why Team Trust is Important

A positive element in team dynamics is that the members know each other beyond just the job.

A fundamental of a successful team is that the players trust each other. Furthermore, it is a huge asset that they also like each other, to some extent, and that at a minimum that they respect each other. In fact, the old relationship guidelines of “know, like and trust” are required ingredients among the members of the most powerful and successful teams.

These aspects rely little on the list of past accomplishments of the members. Instead, they arise from getting to know each other and upon at least some self disclosure.

I was in a newly formed group and the Facilitators had us, one by one, tell a personal story about ourselves, something that most people would not be aware of. It took some hours (there were 19 of us). The atmosphere was charged as we each revealed something only a very few others knew. It was sacred. We became a tight group.

The JoHari Window and Maslow’s Hierarchy for Team Success

In 1955, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham introduced the JoHari Window, a model aimed at understanding oneself and others. One is what I know about me, and, you also know about me. Two is what I know, but you don’t. Three is what you know but I don’t (things like unintended impact fit there). Four is what neither of us know about me (something not yet discovered).

The group I was in made a huge deposit into quadrant two, and probably uncovered some new quadrant one insight. Those had the effect of shrinking quadrant four. It was certainly a powerful connective experience and made us into a strong group quickly.

In 1943, Abraham Maslow announced his Hierarchy of Human Needs, a motivational model. According to Maslow, the lowest need must be met before individuals can fulfill a higher motivational need. If a lower need is not met, most humans stall in their willingness to contribute. Interestingly, these needs are primarily social.

Applying these Models to Create Safety & Trust

Now, imagine survivors who find themselves on a deserted island. Notice how understanding the Johari Window and Maslow’s hierarchy could be a massive help in getting folks to pull together toward survival. Notice how the initial concentration would be on a particular quadrant of Johari and on a particular level of Maslow (to start, safety and trust of each other). Feels obvious.

Yet, in business, a new project, new team member, market shift, a new boss, many things, though not quite landing on a desert island, safety and trust are vital.

 So, what to do?

When inviting new members, Abraham reminds us of how fundamental feeling safe is to a well performing and successful team. What about how safe people on the existing team feel, right now, with the arrival of this new unknown person? Check. And so on up the hierarchy. Consider strengthening the group using concepts proposed by Joseph and Harrington. I can show you many ways to accomplish these things.

This is tricky and personal, yet valuable beyond belief. So… tread softly, and, keep going. Your team’s level of success is on the line. Get Abraham, Joseph and Harrington onto your team.

#teamwork #teambuilding #strengtheningteams

Joseph Seiler MCC 2011-2022

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