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These Cartoons Show Exactly How To Be Good Leaders

These Cartoons Show Exactly How To Be Good Leaders

Indescribable magic happens when milk meets cereal, booty meets couch cushions, and a child’s eyes meet cartoons. No doubt the pinnacle of every kid’s week, cartoons offer an animated escape into a limitless world. Cartoons free our imaginations, bending the realms of possibility in the exact ways that are forbidden and restricted in our mortal world. But beyond the entrancing animation styles, squeaky voices, and reoccurring characters are underlying themes that greatly benefit our lives.

We see our favorite characters struggle, and share in their triumph when they overcome. We relate to them as children, and remember them fondly when we reminisce as adults. Yet, no matter how long it’s been, or how vehemently you tried to convince your friends that you “only watched it once,” your favorite cartoons will always be very special to you. Some of them teach us about love, others teach us about acceptance, but the most memorable, remarkable, and beneficial ones teach us how to be fearless leaders.

Here are the 15 best animated advocates of awareness, in no particular order.


Tommy

    Tommy Pickles

    Though I’ll admit I’m not the biggest Rugrats fan, Thomas Malcolm Pickles can’t be left off this list. Though he and his diaper dandies are regularly stuck in a “pickle” as a result of Angelica’s evil schemes, Tommy always puts the safety of his people over the need of his nap. In the many ways Tommy teaches us to lead, none is more strong than his adventure-seeking, positive, proactive attitude towards his associates and younger brother, Dil Pickles. [Best leader trait: Empathy]

    Arnold

      Arnold

      The only character with an purposefully unknown last name to make the list, Arnold is perhaps the strongest leader to emerge from Nickelodeon in the ’90s. Revered by nearly everyone, Arnold is always looked to for advice, moral help, and to pinch hit against the fifth graders in the vacant lot. His odd head shape is more than a funny reference and catchy tag line. It also serves as a efficient command center to house his idealist perspectives, his many dreams, and everyone else’s best interest. An interesting factoid is that Arnold didn’t start his acting career in animation, but in clay. [Best leader trait: Optimism]

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      Porkchop

        Porkchop

        Before Brian in Family Guy, Goddard in Jimmy Neutron, or Santa’s Little Helper in The Simpsons, there was Porkchop, Doug Funny’s nearly-human canine sidekick. Although he does not talk, Porkchop displays his leadership abilities through an elaborate system of gestures, cute facial expressions, and words if he can find the appropriate writing tools. With sincerity and near telekinesis, Porkchop alleviates most of Doug’s frustrations quickly, effectively, and mindfully. This dog certainly raises the bar for any other animated faithful four-legged companion. [Best leader trait: Accountability]

        Eliza

          Eliza Thornberry

          To rival Mr. Pickles above, Eliza’s yearning for constant adventure often places her and her loved ones in danger, but she always seems to manage. Gifted with the ability to talk to animals thanks to a African mountain shaman at age 10 (great parenting there, Nigel), her knowledge and ability to predict what animals can do often plays to her advantage. Her intrigue frequently gets her into trouble with predatory animals, but she’s no doubt one of the most fearless 12-year-old characters to grace the tube. [Best leader trait: Awareness]

          Reggie

            Regina “Reggie” Rocket

            Big sister to the legendary Oswald (Otto) Rocket, this purple-haired speed machine grinded and kickflipped her way past almost every extreme sports gender gap.  She often acted as the voice of reason for her friends, and refused to be silenced in the media by teaming up with Squid to make “The Zine.”  Reggie’s can-do attitude often saves the gang from losing in a last second game against Larz and his cronies. [Best leader trait: Ambition]

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            Wanda

              Wanda

              Wanda Venus Fairywinkle-Cosma, whose name is too fun not to note, is by actual age and practical wisdom the most mature on this list. Even though she’s constantly bombarded by the idiotic wish granting of Cosmo and Timmy’s nimrod antics, she remains level-headed and always manages to save her fairy godson from danger, her husband from himself, and the day all at the same time. Her deep intelligence is often mistaken for senseless nagging. [Best leader trait: Patience]

              Sandy

                Sandra “Sandy” Cheeks

                Sandy is the only character in Spongebob Squarepants that humans can relate to on the basis of oxygen-reliant. This karate kickin’, science lovin’, ultra friendly Texas native exemplifies perhaps the most important characteristic of leadership: fortitude. Whenever Spongebob, Patrick, or any of the other semi-relevant aquatic residents of Bikini Bottom are in trouble or feeling down, Sandy always seems to be the first on the scene with encouraging, progressive, high-ya! plans of action. [Best leader trait: Strength]

                Eddy

                  Eddy

                  In this instance, the negative sounding adjectives that describe this money grabber outweigh most of the more pleasant ones. Eddy is thought of as selfish, overambitious, power hungry, greedy, a loud mouth, and jealous, but do these not perfectly describe some of the best leaders of our time? No matter how you feel about Eddy personally, he’s one of the first toons on this list that I would call if I were starting a company. No matter how often he’s shut down, deterred, or falls short of getting a quarter (and, in turn, a jawbreaker), he’s always back in the next 15 minute segment with another harebrained scheme. [Best leader trait: Tenacity]

                  Velma

                    Velma Dinkley

                    No doubt a genius in every sense of the word, Velma is the unspoken and unrecognized hero resulting in much of the “gang’s” success. If you’ll take notice, she often has a pre-instilled sense of pride and certainty before they pull the mask off the bad guy at the very end. She’s also extremely well-versed in Morse Code and martial arts, two impractical daily skills that seem to come in handy at the right moments. [Best leader trait: Intuition]

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                    TJ2

                      Theodore Jasper “T.J.” Detweiler

                      Nothing “whomps” about this kid as a bold and brave ring leader. With a sweetness and sincerity that only a mother could love, T.J is often the voice of the voiceless when his friends are in danger, and treats each child of the playground with unfiltered equality. Far from an ‘A’ student, his intelligence and know-how is unquestionable. One is left to wonder if he’d be more like Gretchen if he gave an honest effort in his academics. Either way, this red-hat-flipped-backwards playground deviant is fit to lead, so move aside King Bob. [Best leader trait: Brevity]

                      Jimmy

                        Jimmy Neutron

                        It’s pretty common that Jimmy’s big brain gets him, and the rest of Retroville, in serious trouble. This normally requires Jimmy to invent something else to fix the trouble he caused in the first place. He’s not very well-liked by anyone, really, with the exception of his parents, and his socially outcast buddies, Sheen and Carl. But no matter his adversities, Jimmy always finds the brain and willpower necessary to keep inventing, producing, and testing his limits. [Best leader trait: Courage]

                        Brain

                          Brain

                          Say this with me: “megalomaniac mouse.” Isn’t that fun? Brain’s character can be compared to a coconut. Behind his hard, tough exterior of rudeness, short temperament, anger, and sarcasm beats a sensitive heart that truly cares about the world he so desperately tries to take over. Based of the legendary Orson Welles, Brain exhibits leadership qualities bountifully, but none are stronger than his ability to tolerate Pinky and all of his redundant questions. {Best leader trait: Tolerance]

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                          Courage

                            Courage

                            At first glance, this snaggletoothed dog’s name may seem ill-fitting, but as each episode plays out viewers can tell he fits his title. Abandoned as a puppy, Courage is easily frightened and quick to hide when monsters and ghouls show up to greet him, Muriel, and Eustace on the farm. His instinctual fortitude kicks into overdrive upon the realization that his masters (friends) truly are in trouble, particularly Muriel. Though he’s usually at odds, this pup does not allow his shortcomings to stop him from doing whatever is necessary to keep his friends safe. [Best leader trait: Selflessness]

                            Max Good

                              Max Goof

                              Anyone who personally knows me and my love for cartoons is not surprised by this pick. Playing majorly off The Goofy Movie, Max’s story of love and constant disparity is relatable to everyone. He goes to drastic measures to please his friends and impress Roxanne at the assembly, and his display of tireless refusal to back down in the face of adversity is inspiring. Though he stretches the truth by telling Roxanne he’s going to the Powerline concert instead of on an around the country road trip with Goofy, it ends up playing to his favor in his never-ending struggle to do the right thing. [Best leader trait: Poise]

                              Dexter

                                Dexter

                                Known for his intelligence, Dexter fears no risk. Despite his projects often backfiring because he’s either overanxious or overconfident, Dexter is highly skilled at using quick reflexes and problem solving to get the job done. Even though his clueless parents are obviously American, he speaks with a distinct Russian accent which makes me believe that there’s more of an “off screen” life of his that the viewers know nothing about (my wager is on spy). Regardless, Dexter always has his hands in projects and is determined to invent the next useful thing. [Best leader trait: Focus]

                                Tito

                                  Tito Makani

                                  As the ancient Hawaiians say, “The most important races are won in the ocean of the soul.” An endless source of baffling, meaningful quotes like these, Tito is the fry flingin’ burger bandit who runs the Shore Shack with Ray(mundo). He’s always quick to offer the kids “useful” advice and is very eager to listen and help everyone he comes across. His teddy bear-like stature makes him easily approachable, and rumor has it that his burgers are worth missing the incoming swells. [Best leader trait: Compassion]

                                  It was tough to narrow it down to 15, as there were a lot of solid characters that lead me through my childhood. I’m curious to hear what you think. Who did I miss?

                                  Featured photo credit: Cartoon Collage/@WeAre90sKids via twitter.com

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                                  Last Updated on February 11, 2021

                                  10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                                  10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                                  Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

                                  You have to work hard to develop the right skills

                                  If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

                                  1. Make your presentation short and sweet

                                  With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

                                  JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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                                  2. Open up with a good ice breaker

                                  At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

                                  • Joking
                                  • Tugging on their heart strings
                                  • Dropping a bombastic statement
                                  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
                                  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

                                  You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

                                  3. Keep things simple and to the point

                                  Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

                                  4. Use a healthy dose of humor

                                  Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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                                  It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

                                  5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

                                  Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

                                  6. Practice your delivery

                                  Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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                                  7. Move around and use your hands

                                  Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

                                  8. Engage the audience by making them relate

                                  Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

                                  9. Use funny images in your slides

                                  Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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                                  10. End on a more serious note

                                  When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

                                  As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

                                  Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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