If Harry Potter were a Leader

Leadership in stories

Harry Potter turns 40 today and I wonder what kind of a muggle leader he could have been.

It is rather fascinating that the best-selling children’s fiction series of J K Rowling has some of the deepest wisdoms in life and leadership.

The wildly entertaining story of witches and wizards conveys powerful leadership insights.

Great stories provide deep insights into our own narratives.

The biggest lesson Harry carries forward would probably be that while we want the magic wand in our lives to solve our problems, most of Harry’s problems cannot be solved through magic.

If in the book Harry was a work in progress, at 40 he may have honed his skills in courage, temperance and justice. The three qualities that formed the foundation of his character in the book.

Harry also exemplifies the notion that leadership excellence arises from personal excellence. Something that even Dumbeldore his mentor could not completely achieve. This fact was so well brought out in the end of the seventh book when the resurrection stone opens to Harry’s words – “I open at the close”

The most easily forgotten leadership skill is emotional self-control. Harry in the book learns to keep himself emotionally distanced from Voldermort by training in occlumency. To not show emotional vulnerability when your opponent can manipulate and use it to his advantage is an important skill to learn. But you can see Harry mastering this particular skill even early on with the Dursleys and particularly with Dolores Umbridge.

While looking at the opponent, the book shows the dark side of leadership in stark clarity. It is easy to see the dark lord, Voldermort as the ultimate villain but let us be honest. How many Voldermorts can we see in this world? Hitler maybe?

But the book shows more dangerous leaders who can be found around every corner in the muggle world as well.

One is deceptively dressed in pink, a smile firmly in place masking the cruel mind behind. Yes, Dolores Umbridge is a far more dangerous leader than Voldermort for she is mean and cruel without a vision for such an action. In her boxed perspective, she is following the rules. Voldermort has a vision, terrible one but a vision. Umbridge has no vision and all her decisions are blinded by her ego and her need for authority.

Another blind yet dangerous leader in the making is Draco Malfoy. While on his own he does not possess the will to be truly evil like Voldermort, he is easily diverted to the dark path. Leaders in this stage are people who have the skill to deliver results, the narcissism that will help them shine out but can hide the tendencies to be selfish.

If Harry were a leader today, he would have built on the strengths of his people with humility and loyalty and courage. We have seen this in the way he led the Dumbeldore Army. Maybe they would have been a great bunch of leaders. Happy Birthday Harry Potter.

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