How To Solve A Problem With Your Thinking Hat On…

24 June How to manage with emotional intelligence at work

Problem solving and decision making are much easier with the flexibility of seeing a situation through a different perspective.

Especially if that perspective gives powerful insight and expands awareness. De Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats are a great way to do this.

Each of the 6 hats has a different colour to represent a frame of thinking; process, facts, feelings, judgement, benefits and creativity.

I love teaching this concept to kids by giving them coloured hats to wear or funny glasses. It really helps them to easily associate into different ways of thinking and it’s fun! But it’s not just for kids. Even the most balanced thinker can benefit from trying on a different thinking hat.

Each hat breaks down your thought process so the situation can be seen more clearly. This is great if you or your child gets stuck thinking about the negatives or struggles to see beyond feelings or facts. You may notice that a certain hat really resonates with you or that it feels like a whole new way of thinking. To really get the benefit from the hats work through each perspective. Let’s take a look at what each hat focuses on…

1.The White Hat is about facts. It discusses the objective information about the problem. For example;
What are the facts? What information do I have? What information do I need? What information do I know?

2.The Red Hat is about emotion. It’s great for sharing feelings and emotions about the situation. The super logical types will benefit from thinking – How do I feel about this? What do I like about it? What don’t I like about it? What don’t I like about it? Do I feel it will work out?

3.The Black Hat is about judgement. It represents negative aspects, or worst-case scenarios regarding the situation. This is great if you tend to dive in without considering the risks or losses. Take a step back and think- Can it be done? What could go wrong? Is this the best solution? Will this work?

4.The Yellow Hat is about benefits. It focuses on the positives, or advantages of the situation. This will really help if you find yourself focusing on what could go wrong. Take a moment to consider – What are the good points? Why is this the right time? How can I make this work? Why is this a good thing?

5.The Green Hat is about ideas. It inspires creative ideas that come from looking at the problem in a new way. This is great if you feel stuck and want to inject some renewed enthusiasm. Stop and think – Can we do this a different way? What’s my suggestion? Can I create something new? What new ideas are possible?

6.The Blue Hat is about planning. It brings it all together and sums up the learning from the situation. This can be really helpful when you want to get clear on direction. Ask yourself- What thinking is needed? Where are we now? What’s the next step? Where do we go from here?

So which hat stood out for you? How would your life’s decisions be different if you learnt this as a child? Some schools already use this process to help children develop their critical thinking skills. How great is that! Give it a whirl at home to help your child work through their challenges and see another point of view. Make it fun with coloured hats, glasses or objects and it will become a memorable and enjoyable way to problem solve!


About The Author:

Emily is the founder of Mind Tools For Kids. She teaches coaches how to inspire, engage and encourage kids through their BIG emotions.

Check out to find out more about the MTFK movement.

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