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The Johari Window: A Strategy for Improving Team Communication

Healthy communication among team members heavily contributes to the culture, organization and performance of the workplace. So, when communication breaks down or becomes uncomfortable among team members, the productivity of everyone in the workplace will likely suffer.

However, this isn’t an inevitable outcome that employers and employees alike have to accept. Instead, there are ways to prevent either a lack of communication or the deterioration of it.

In fact, psychologists have dedicated a lot of time to the creation of various communication models over the years. Today, we’re taking a close look at the Johari Window. Let’s get started.

Johari Window
Johari Window is a technique for improving self-awareness within an individual. It helps in understanding your relationship with yourself and others. The vector illustration has four matrix windows.

Background on the Johari Window

In 1955, American psychologists Harry Ingham and Joseph Luft developed the Johari Window. Ever since then, it has been used to improve personal relationships and communication skills among people operating within the same group.

According to Communicationtheory.org, “The idea was derived as the upshot of the group dynamics [at the]… University of California and was later improved by Joseph Luft.” In fact, the name of this group communication model, Johari, is a combination of the names Joseph and Harry.

The Johari Window now utilizes a literal window frame that contains four panes. It is designed to allow each group member to get a more well-rounded understanding of themselves as well as one another. Let’s take a look at a breakdown of each pane and its role in a Johari Window group communication exercise.

Pane No. 1: Known to you, known to others

This quadrant is open, meaning information you know about yourself and that others also know about you. These qualities can be based on your behaviors in social settings, attitudes in stressful situations, emotions in general, skills in the workplace, perceptions of the world and other traits or general factual information about you.

For instance, if you believe yourself to be a punctual person and your fellow team members also view you that way, then that quality belongs in the open quadrant. When you start the Johari Window communication exercise, the open quadrant is the ideal place to begin the process.

This is because none of the information in this pane should surprise anyone in the group. When you begin with information everyone can relate to and bond over, you’ll establish a foundation of familiarity and camaraderie among team members. This makes more difficult communication later on in the exercise a lot easier.

Pane No. 2: Unknown to you, known to others

This area is blind, meaning characteristics others see in you, yet you do not see them in yourself. The second pane is quite literally all about blind spots. They can be positive strengths or negative weaknesses.

For instance, let’s say you don’t realize that you accidentally interrupt your co-workers when they are speaking. However, other people on your team notice this, so they should bring this insight to your attention during this stage of the exercise.

You can reduce your blind spots by seeking feedback from others and applying objectivity upon receiving the feedback.

Pane No. 3: Known to you, unknown to others

This section is hidden, meaning qualities you embody, yet they go undetected by everyone but you. By addressing your hidden qualities, you can let people get to know you and better understand your motivations.

The hidden area requires you to be more vulnerable as these are often characteristics that you either don’t want other people to know about or that you hide for a reason. That said, respecting personal boundaries is crucial here, and refraining from judging people for what they open up about in this part of the exercise is key.

Pane No. 4: Not known to anyone

Last but not least, the fourth quadrant is an unknown area. It contains characteristics you do not recognize in yourself, and the group won’t recognize them in you either. To make this area smaller, prioritize self-improvement so that you can reach your potential and let your unrecognized talents emerge for everyone to see.

In summary

All in all, the four panes of the Johari Window can help everyone who’s part of the team. Each member can strive to improve their self-awareness while bettering how everyone communicates as a whole by focusing on the open, blind, hidden and unknown panes of the Johari Window.


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Emily Gooding

Payroll Specialist

Emily is graduating in May with a BA in Business Administration from Lander University. She has gained valuable experience as a payroll intern for BMW. We are so excited to have her on the team and  to see her excel in her role as a Payroll Specialist.

Madison Capps​

Payroll Specialist

Madison received a BS in Psychology from Southern Illinois University in 2019. Since then, she has been working as a supervisor at Starbucks and earning her second degree, a BA in Administration and Accounting, from USC Aiken in the fall. She will be joining us as a Payroll Specialist and a valuable addition to our Paysmart team.

Kristen Wilby

Payroll Specialist

Before moving to South Carolina with her husband, Kristen worked as a Sales & Marketing Specialist for Premium King in Feasterville, PA, where she gained valuable experience in strengthening the brand and generating new business. Kristen also brings to our team several years of professional experience as an Executive Assistant and as an Office Manager, where she was first introduced to payroll. Kristen’s knowledge and her innate ability to establish genuine relationships contribute greatly to the team as we continue to grow and serve our clients.

Meg Whitaker

Payroll Specialist

Meg brings nearly twenty years of professional experience to the team. Most recently, she worked as a Payroll & Benefits Specialist in Centennial, Colorado. She and her husband recently moved back to the Carolinas for his job, and we were fortunate to find her! Before Colorado, Meg worked at CPI Security Systems in Charlotte, NC, for twelve years as a Billing Coordinator and Senior Administrative Assistant. She also gained three years of experience as an HR Assistant for a law firm in Fayetteville, NC. Her expertise significantly adds to our team and benefits our clients as we continue to grow!

Rachel McClaran, EA


Rachel plays a crucial role in developing Paysmart’s core processes and procedures, as well as overall strategy within the company. Rachel graduated from Bob Jones University and is an active member of the Junior League of Greenville and the South Carolina Association of CPAs. Her desire to serve her community has led her to become involved with several nonprofit organizations and to serve as the past Vice President of Finance for the Junior League of Greenville. Outside of the office,Rachel enjoys spending time on the water and traveling with her husband and their two children.

Hina Rogers

Payroll Specialist

Hina joined the Paysmart team in August 2022. She grew up in Portland, Oregon, before moving to Greenville, SC. She earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education. After college, she represented her alma mater as an enrollment counselor in the Southeast and Western states. She enjoys traveling, road trips, cooking, and quality time with her family. Hina looks forward to serving your company’s needs! 

Sharon Quantrille

Payroll Specialist

Sharon has spent several years in the accounting industry and has completed courses to hone her skills as a Payroll Specialist. Her background as an educator, professional musician, and Human Resources Generalist has contributed to her communication skills, commitment to professionalism, and organizational skills that make her a tremendous benefit to her Paysmart clients and colleagues. A graduate of Bob Jones University with a B.S. degree in Music Education, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and a Human Resources Generalist Certificate, Sharon spends her free time gardening, hiking, playing the piano, and spending time with her four adult children.

Haleigh Bates

Payroll Specialist

Haleigh joined our team in May of 2022 as a payroll specialist. Haleigh has over eight years of experience helping personal and small business clients with their financial needs. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia Southern University. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their three children, Caden, Addie, and Mason.  She likes to go hiking, spend time at the beach, and volunteer at her church in the children’s ministry. 

Courtney Rossello

Payroll Tax Manager

Courtney joined the team at Paysmart Payroll Services in September 2020.  She was raised in Simpsonville, SC, and graduated from Clemson University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a concentration in public administration.  Courtney began her payroll career in 2011 and currently works in the payroll tax department at Paysmart.  She strives to make every client feel comfortable knowing their payroll taxes and tax returns are handled accurately and efficiently.  Courtney is also a volunteer Treasurer for a local middle school in Greenville County.  In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with special needs children, road trips, and spending time with her two daughters. 

Emily Hargrave

Senior Payroll Specialist

Emily received her bachelor’s degree in music from West Coast Baptist College. Since her college days, Emily has gained nearly 18 years of experience in office operations and project management. Emily joined Paysmart in 2017 and enjoys using her skills to support clients and the Paysmart team.

 At heart, Emily is a small-town country girl from the Midwest but is happy now to call the Upstate home, where she doesn’t have to endure harsh winters. Emily’s favorite ways to spend her free time are reading a good book, challenging herself with puzzles, and doing her best not to kill the plants in her garden.

Julie Shull

Client Success Specialist

Julie is the Client Success Specialist for Paysmart Payroll.  She joined the team as a Payroll Specialist in March of 2020. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from NC State University and earned an MBA from Gardner-Webb University while playing on the GWU women’s tennis team. After starting her career with Wilson Sporting Goods as a Financial Analyst, she took a few years off to raise twin boys until she began working for Greenville County Schools in 2014.  Julie enjoys spending time with her family and outdoor activities.

Brad Detandt

Payroll Administrator

A graduate of Northland International University with a BA in Counseling, Brad Detandt leads the day-to-day operations of the Paysmart team. He is eager to grow the firm’s client portfolio. He brings a diverse employment background in retail, manufacturing, nonprofit ministries, and business development, with
a specialized focus on team development and process improvement. Brad’s professional – and personal – mission is to “Be Great. Serve!” Brad enjoys spontaneous activities and weekend trips to state parks with his wife Miranda and his three children.

Stephen C. Stokes

Managing Partner

Stephen has more than 14 years’ experience working with individuals and businesses to meet their tax, accounting, and payroll needs. He has been the managing partner of Paysmart Payroll Services since January 2009. He is a licensed certified public accountant in South Carolina and Georgia. Stephen is also a member of the South Carolina Association of CPAs, the Georgia Society of CPAs, the American Institute of CPAs, and the Professional Association of Small Business Accountants. He has a bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. Stephen was born and raised near Atlanta, Georgia and moved to Greenville, South Carolina, several years ago. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Tiffani, and daughters, Madeline and Julianna. He is actively involved in his church and enjoys reading, sports, and other outdoor activities.