Call Me Old Fashioned But I Like My Men Dora the Explorer is a Leadership Coach

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Dora the Explorer is a Leadership Coach

Dora the Explorer is my hero!!!!!

Although I’m a big fan now, I have to admit that I haven’t always been so positive about Dora. That’s right folks, I am a former hater of the precocious little lady who brings joy to millions of boys and girls around the world.

Before you get all fired up, let me explain…

You see, I have a six year old son whom I affectionately call “Big Man”. The Big Man and I love going to the neighborhood video store to browse the isles and pick up a movie or two. Everything was fine until last year when something a little strange started happening…

The Big Man started asking for Dora videos! Call me a caveman, but it made me a little nervous to see the fruit of my loins, responsible for carrying on the family name, routinely pass over dad-friendly classics like Bob the Builder, Spiderman, Superman and Batman in favor of a cartoon made for little girls.

So I did what any good father would do…

I spanked him and called the family therapist. I am just kidding. I decided to sit down with him to watch a few episodes and see for myself what the Big Man was so excited about. Boy was I surprised when I watched the first episode. Not only was I reassured that the family name was safe, but I was thrilled because it was clear to me that Dora was teaching leadership skills that could be applied in both life and business.

Leadership is influence

Now I’m sure you’re asking…“TC, how on earth can you get business lessons out of a Dora the Explorer cartoon”

Thanks, I’m glad you asked! The first thing I noticed was that Dora was a great leader and her team loves her! They go everywhere and do everything Dora asks them to. John C. Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence nothing more, nothing less”, and Dora has influence!

Additionally, Dora was great at using her leadership skills to get everyone involved. That’s right, when you roll with Dora, she has a job for you! She even had a job for me and the big man. We had to memorize a song and be on the lookout for a sneaky fox trying to rob us. Dora made being on her team fun! How about you, if we were on your team, would it be fun? Would the work be satisfactory? Would we know what our job was and how we fit into the big picture? Or would we stand around, frustrated, waiting for the leader to lead?

The take away is simple; humans are social creatures, we love to be in groups and we need each other to be fulfilled. Every group needs a leader, and if you’re going to be in business, you need to be a group leader.

Strong leaders make it easy, fun and fulfilling for people to follow them. They know how to get team members involved and how to keep the team motivated. If you are a strong leader, chances are that many people will happily follow you, on the other hand, if you are not a strong leader, you will probably have trouble getting people to join your team, and those who join are dissatisfied or unmotivated.

If you want to sharpen your leadership skills, I recommend you read the book title “The 21 Indispensable Laws of Leadership: follow them, and people will follow you” by John C. Maxwell. Put the principles to work and you can be like Dora!

Leadership is vision

The second principle I noticed while watching Dora was less obvious but very profound. In fact, every good leader uses a…Drum roll please….Dora uses a card!!! That’s right, before every adventure Dora takes on her team, she first looks at her map. Do you have a card? In business, a map is a business plan. Have you mapped things out or are you whistling it. One of my mentors once told me “Rich people have a plan and poor people flew it!” Which one are you? If you don’t have a plan, there are plenty of great books available to help you get it together. I recommend “The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber

Management is communication

Lesson three was about people and examining how we as leaders treat those who follow us. Dora is a great leader, she was always positive towards her team even when they didn’t do things right. No matter what her team faced during each episode, Dora kept it together and her team always responded by getting the job done!! What about you? Do you stay positive when adversity strikes? Many leaders struggle with this principle. Too often managers beat up their teams with negative talk and then blame the team when results are poor. Don’t let it be you. Instead, let’s be like Dora and help all our team members reach their potential by using kind positive talk even when dealing with negative situations.

If you say to yourself; “TC the real world is not a cardboard box, if you are nice all the time people will take advantage of you”. My answer is simple. Kindness should not be confused with weakness. A strong leader is skilled at correcting negative behavior with a spirit of love and kindness. Master this skill and your favor with people will be second to none. If you are still struggling with this concept, I recommend you read one of the great books of all time on communication, “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie

Leadership is relationships

Last but not least, my new hero Dora the Explorer reminded me that this is important. Celebrate with your team when you achieve a goal (big or small). Every episode, after we accomplished our mission, me, the Big Man, Dora and Boots would dance and sing the catchy anthem “we did it”! You should also celebrate that with your team. Not only because it’s fun to celebrate, but because it’s healthy. Celebrating will help keep your team motivated and most importantly ensure they always feel appreciated.

Let’s review

Good leaders have influence and use it to involve their entire team

Good leaders have a clear plan for the future of their team

Good leaders know how to communicate effectively with their team

Good leaders know how to build relationships with their teams

Take action and apply a few of these ideas whenever possible to your life and business.

Thanks for reading, today’s article is over…”We did it!!!!!!

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