What hat are you wearing when you think? Years ago when I was studying what makes an effective team I came across a book, The Six Thinking Hats by Edward DeBono. One of the premises was that for effective teamwork that it was important to have different perspectives. And, as a team leader it is important to have a variety of prisms in thought in order to be able to move forward on a project or task with greater confidence.
First, it is important to understand that each team member has preferred ways of thinking. As a leader, you may be able to discern what is the best hat for someone to wear.
1. White Hat Thinking-With this thinking you focus on the data available. You analyze from past trends and extrapolate from historical data.
2. Red Hat Thinking- You look at problems using your intuition, not reaction and emotion. Your goal is to understand others’ response intuitively, even if they don’t know your reasoning.
3. Black Hat Thinking- You look for all the bad points in a decision. You look at things cautiously and defensively. You observe why they may not work. Your goal is to highlight the weak points of a plan. With good Black Hat Thinking flaws can be found and corrected that will make the plan stronger.
4. Yellow Hat Thinking- This is about thinking positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it.
5. Green Hat Thinking- The Green Hat stands for creativity. You develop creative solutions to problems. It is a freewheeling way of thinking where the team is not there to criticize them so much as to encourage as many ideas as possible to come forward to make for a better project or plan.
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