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Inclusivity Through Life Sharing

I have been thinking a lot about the ideas of the Johari Window lately. I have included an image as illustration below, but the crux of the idea is we all have quadrants of our personality and identity that are known and unknown by us and those around us. I have always been a person who compartmentalizes home and work lives, but the pandemic forced all of us to rethink those boundaries. The boundaries still exist and are being slowly rebuilt now as we come out of the height of the pandemic, but should they be?

I have written about the desire to make my leadership journey a more social endeavor. This is in direct relation to the Johari Window and how to expand the quadrants (image below). My mother is the gold standard of this phenomenon and it is directly related to inclusion in the workplace. My mother (and, by extension, her staff) feels comfortable being 100% herself in the workplace. Her staff know me and my children, even if just by name, still image, and story. At times, when looking at my Johari Window, I envy that openness.

To be clear, this is not about the inclusion of my work environment. This is a conscious decision that I have made to create separation between the two areas of my life, but this does create unnecessary stress in each space. The move to remote work has meant that when I have a sick kid at home, I am still working, whereas in the past I would have had to (wanted to?) take a sick day. Since the pandemic and the familial bonding that took place over the course of the last two years, I bring a lot more of personal self to work each day, including my level of exhaustion.

All this to say that I want to be intentional about what I am bringing to and from work and home. The forced expansion of my Johari Window has been largely unintentional and a common experience, especially for parents of young children. So too I do not want that intentional expansion to come from a place of strategy so much as a place of relatability and desire. Perhaps that same intentional expansion in myself can open the door for my teams to feel more open, welcoming, and inclusive.