Seeing Clearly in 2020
As we ring in the new year, it is important to look back on our past working year. It is a great opportunity to consider where our groups or teams can improve. For me, I work with the teachers on my team to strategize an excellent middle school experience. Creating personal resolutions can help you put your professional goals in perspective (check out our post on New Year’s Intentions). However, uniting ideas is essential for establishing alignment for 2020.
With your group, it is vital to think through questions such as: How are things really going? What tired habits among my group should be left in 2019? What bad blood among my co-workers could seep into 2020? Moving forward, what are my professional goals for the year, and how can I work with my team to get them accomplished?
I suggested to my team that we come together and create some group resolutions. In one of our meetings, we pondered what we knew and what we needed to know to set ourselves up for a successful year. For our exercise, we utilized the Johari Window, a model developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955.
We considered what was known to our team and what was known to others. The “self” aspect is our team of teachers, and the “others” are students, parents, administration, the community, etc. By working through each of the four-quadrants, we were able to gain deeper insights into ourselves and our group, enabling us to be more intentional of our goals in 2020.
Starting in the first quadrant, we began by reflecting on what we know about our team and what others know about our team. This was fairly easy given our defined roles and engagement in the school community.
We then moved into the bottom-left quadrant, considering what is known to ourselves but not known to others. This can be somewhat difficult as it is not always easy to share what is only known to you, but we agreed that in order to move into a successful new year, we needed to be honest and respectful of one another. It is often the first step in expressing concerns and making team members aware of workplace issues. As a bonus, it was also helpful to see that many of us shared some of the same concerns.
We then moved into the third quadrant, the blind spot. As a team of teachers and administration, we have a pretty decent understanding of the school culture and climate, but there is also a lot we don’t see. Therefore, it is important to consider areas and perspectives that are not always at our immediate attention. Being forthcoming with some blind spots allowed us to be honest about our areas of improvement.
Unknown to All:
The last quadrant of the Johari Window requires a higher level of thinking. Attempting to brainstorm what is unknown to us or unknown to others requires patience and profound cognitive energy. It is an excellent opportunity to think about what you and your team members value and what they fear. For our team, this brainstorm involved envisioning an ideal workplace, goals that we could start working towards, and ultimate perceptions from our stakeholders.
Through this process, I was able to learn more about what my team members truly want out of our workplace. It encouraged us to consider what is unknown and uncomfortable to a clear, 2020* vision. So, at the end of this year, don’t regret taking out time to set clear expectations and complain that “hindsight is twenty-twenty.”
Try conducting a Johari Window exploration to align your team! As you work through the exercise, keep these 2020 tips in mind:
Leave secrets in the past: If you are someone who is reluctant to speak up, consider how your insight could be helpful to the whole group. Your insight and opinions could be beneficial for reaching goals.
Be honest: Not knowing the answer is okay: a humble approach to prevent misdirection is better than pretending to know everything. I often have to catch myself from jumping into problem-solving and admit that I’m not the expert in tackling a certain issue.
Holding back a truth can be more work than it is worth: Some of my stress simply comes from insecurities that I created for myself. Out in the open issues help to alleviate indirect ownership and assure others to know that you care about every aspect of the process.
Respectful of feelings: Remember that your team all has the same goals. If someone has an alternative process or a seemingly outlandish thought, that person may be bringing up a concern that is unknown to you.
Have a happy and aligned 2020!
*Meet the Author*
Meghan has been with Leadership Inspirations for four years. She holds a B.A. in Integrated Educational Studies from Chapman University and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Regis University
Favorite Quote: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wild
Fun Facts: 1) My dream job would be an SNL cast member, 2) I love to plan parties and 3) I sing in my car like I’m performing a sold-out show.