Thursday, February 8, 2018

How to Build Trust

Trust Management Using JOHARI WINDOW

From my Academic (Management Lecture) Archives:

For many years  I used to teach and lecture on the applications of the JOHARI WINDOW in various aspects of management  especially in project management  and all facets of relationship management.

My observations for many years made me realize that one of the major problems in relationships, both personal and professional  at home and at work  is the increasingTRUST DEFICIT

So, a few years ago I wrote an article on how to reduce TRUST DEFICIT (and build Mutual Trust) using the JOHARI WINDOW. 

On request from an erstwhile student of mine  I am re-posting the article on application of the JOHARI WINDOW in reducing TRUST DEFICIT – which I had written long back based on my management lectures – and which I had posted on my blog a few years ago.

As always  I will appreciate your comments, views and feedback.


I trust people.

Depending on the way you look at it, one of my chief virtues (or shortcomings) is that I trust people. 

That is why it is easy for anyone to take me for a ride, and make an “April Fool” of me, as so many have done.

Yes  I have a trusting nature.

That’s why I did not try my hand at business.

By nature  I am an honest, straightforward, outspoken person and I like to be transparent.

I am not a “smooth operator”.

I do not have the “talent” to indulge in one-upmanship.

I do not possess the “tact” to be opaque, secretive and “diplomatic”.

It is because of my trusting nature that have I avoided taking up a profession where one has to put on a mask of pretence, hide things, indulge in mendacity and be Machiavellian to succeed.

In the Navy of yesteryear  we trusted each other.

Yes – Naval Officers of the “old-mould” attached great value to Trust.

In fact  mutual trust was the main factor on which the Navy system worked.

On a ship  everyone trusted the Captain  and  the Captain in turn trusted his officers and crew.

Sailors trusted Officers and  in return  Officers trusted Sailors.

It has been my experience that trust is the key ingredient in any relationship, personal or professional  and – it is always best to associate with trustworthy individuals.

Trust is greater than Love.

That is why arranged marriages based on trust may be more enduring than marriages based purely on love.

Trust matters a lot at work too.

One of the plus points I experienced in my career in the Navy was the atmosphere of trust which made work stress-free, productive and enjoyable.

I feel that trust is the bedrock of a good relationship.

This is why old fogies like me feel dismayed at the increasing TRUST DEFICIT in all spheres of life, at both the macro and micro level.

It seems that no one trusts each other.

Opposition Parties do not trust the Government and vice versa.

There is mutual trust deficit between the military and bureaucrats

Organizations do not trust each other.

Bosses do not trust their subordinates and junior do not trust their seniors.

Even in personal relationships, trust deficit is on the rise.

Husbands and wives do not trust each other.

Parents do not trust their children and children do not trust their parents.

There is trust deficit between teachers and students too.

I do not know whether it is true, but a young officer told me that nowadays there is increasing trust deficit in the navy too and he has seen cases where even coursemates do not trust each other.

The moot question, therefore, is: 

Can this problem of Trust Deficit be tackled and mitigated?

Are there any methods to reduce Trust Deficit?

Well, let me suggest one method  JOHARI WINDOW

For many years I have taught and lectured on the applications of the JOHARI WINDOW in various aspects of management, especially in project management and all facets of relationship management.

My observations for many years made me realize that one of the major problems in relationships, both personal and professional, at home and at work, is the increasing TRUST DEFICIT.
So, a few months ago I wrote an article on how to reduce TRUST DEFICIT (and build Mutual Trust) using the JOHARI WINDOW.

On the request of some of my friends I am posting the article below once again. 

As always, I will appreciate your comments, views and feedback. 


“Should I tell my would-be spouse everything about my past?”

“Should I share my sexual past with my soon-to-be spouse?”

“Should you tell your spouse about your ex?”

These are common questions which arise in the minds of young people and you can see so many about-to-be married youngsters asking similar questions to “agony aunts”.

Conventional wisdom says that the answer is: 

“Yes. It is best to be open and honest with your spouse. Be transparent and do not hide anything. There should be no secrets between husband and wife.”

But  to my surprise  I have seen some “agony aunts” giving advice that being totally honest may not always be desirable and it would be wise to hide your past affairs...

I find this quite shocking. 

Trust is the bedrock of any relationship  especially a lifelong relationship like marriage – in fact  trust is the cement that bonds the marriage. 

Once trust is broken  the “cement” holding together the bonds will disintegrate  and the marriage will collapse like a pack of cards. 

How can you build a marriage on the foundations of mistrust...?

There is one more danger if you hide things and keep secrets from your spouse. 

You will forever live under the “Fear of being Found Out...

The “fear of being found out” is a terrible fear  which causes great internal stress which can be detrimental to your health  both physical and mental. 

This  in turn  will adversely affect the marital relationship.

Trust deficit has the potential to totally destroy a relationship, and even if it does not totally destroy a relationship, trust deficit will certainly inhibit the relationship from realizing its full potential.

There is a Marathi Serial currently running on Zee TV Marathi called Tu Tithe Mee which depicts the dangers of hiding your past from your spouse. 

The story of Tu Tithe Mee portrays in dramatic fashion how a marriage can crumble once a husband unexpectedly finds out secrets about his wife’s past life that his wife has hidden from him.

The story shows how even the smallest seed of mistrust can amplify into a demon of suspicion and create huge distrust which can shake the very foundations of marriage.

It is not only in marriage  but  trust is the essential ingredient in any successful relationship

Whether that relationship is between two people, between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, between friends, between parents and children, between relatives, between neighbours and acquaintances or within a family.

Even at the Workplace  for optimal functioning – Trust is a must between boss and subordinate  between peers and colleagues  in project teams  in business and partnerships  in Customer Relationship Management (CRM)  and  all professional relationships.

In many cases  employers are secretive  and employees hide things from their employers  because of Trust Deficit

One example of Trust Deficit is the prevailing trend of “Pay Secrecy” in the Private Sector  particularly in MNCs and the IT industry.

In our daily life in Society too, whether it be in the social community, in sports teams, and at schools and colleges, between teachers and students, or a relationship in any facet of life – Trust Deficit can be detrimental.

At the macro level too  trust between the citizens and the government is essential for effective and efficient functioning of governance. 

Trust is the cardinal element that allows the relationship to function effectively.

That is why it is sad to see “Trust Deficit” everywhere. 

People do not trust each other anymore. 

Yes  we humans do not implicitly trust each other now-a-days. 

You can see absolute and total trust only in canine-human relationships – yes  dogs unconditionally trust their human masters and and most human beings trust their pet dogs too.

How can we reduce Trust Deficit...? 

How can we enhance Mutual Trust...?

Well  there is a management tool called JOHARI WINDOW which can help. 


The concept of the Johari Window is relatively simple. 

Assume that you are the wife (self).

There are things about yourself that you know and there are things about yourself that you don’t know.

Also, there are things about you that your husband knows and there are things about you that your husband does not know.

Now it is the same with your husband (other)

There are things about himself that he knows and there are things about himself that he does not know

Also, there are things about him that you know and there are things about him that you don’t know.

Now put yourself in the place of Self and put your husband in the place of Other and have a look at the picture below (called Johari Window based on contraction of the names Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham who developed this tool to help people understand and improve their interpersonal relationships). 

The TRUST in a relationship is directly proportional to the OPEN Area 

The other areas (HIDDEN, BLIND AND UNKNOWN) are sources of TRUST DEFICIT

Hence, in order to enhance TRUST  and reduce TRUST DEFICIT all you have to do is to increase the OPEN area (also called Arena) and reduce the HIDDEN Area (also called Facade) by Disclosure (Telling) and also reduce the BLIND area (also called Blind Spot) by obtaining Feedback (Asking). 

The UNKNOWN Area will also start reducing over time as the bonds of your mutual relationships become stronger and stronger and you get to know each other better and better.

TELL (disclosure) each other and ASK (feedback) each other and COMMUNICATE(give yourself interactive TIME together) to reduce the hiddenblind and unknown areas respectively.


Here is how the Johari Windows will look before and after:



[Open Area or Arena Represents TRUST and the other three areas (Blind, Facade, Unknown) represent TRUST DEFICIT]



[Notice how the Open Area of Arena (TRUST) has increased and the other three areas (TRUST DEFICIT) are reduced]

So now you know what you must do in order to reduce Trust Deficit in a relationship.

Whether it is a home or at work or any other relationship.  

Just sit together and work on Johari Window. 

Both of you must use Self Disclosure and Feedback to enhance Mutual Trust and reduce Trust Deficit and consequently improve your relationship. 

After you succeed in a one-on-one (two person) situation, you can extend this technique to multiple participants too.

This works for me. 

Why don’t you try out the JOHARI WINDOW and see if it works for you. 

Try it out with your boss and colleagues at work. 

If you are in the service industry try it out with your customers, and if you are in business, try it out in your business relationships.

Try it out at home with your spouse and kids. 

If you are in a relationship, try it out with your boyfriend or girlfriend while dating and courting and having a relationship. 

When you make friends, remember that deep friendships based on Mutual Trust are more enduring and truly fulfilling than superficial “Hail-Fellow-Well-Met” type of casual friendships.

Did it work? 

Did the Johari Window Technique help build trust and reduce trust deficit? 

What was your experience?

Dear Reader: Please comment - I look forward to your views and feedback. 

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1. These are my personal views. Please do your own due diligence while applying these techniques.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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