We're coming upon the end of the Harry Potter saga, at least in the movies. The saga actually ended in 2007 with the final book, but the movies take a little while to get through.

The importance of this series of books will be debated by many people who really have too much time on their hands over the next decade or so. People are already debating whether this series of books was anti-religion, racist, or even good fiction. So much hate for what began as a kid's tale and ends up at a story that's worthy of adult attention, whether or not adults can bring themselves to believing it.

If you know anything about the Harry Potter books, you can easily recognize that throughout all 7 books, including the original, he was a leader, even if he never meant to be. He's exhibited some great leadership qualities while dodging those who kept trying to kill him, his friends, and another group of people that, as far as the books go, would have been "us". What made Harry Potter a great leader? Without getting too much into names that only fans would understand, let's take a look at it.

1. He chose his friends well. Early on, he had a chance to be with those folks that could have helped him be successful and powerful. Instead, he chose other friends who he felt would be good and loyal companions of his no matter what; he turned out to be correct.

2. He paid attention to what was going on. While others were ready to dismiss many things as just being coincidental, he saw things for what they were by deductive reasoning. Many times people will intentionally miss things because they don't want to get involved; leaders don't act that way.

3. He learned early on how to use people's talents for the greater good. Every person has talents that they either share with others or talents that set them apart from others. Harry learned how to accept help when it was needed and how to delegate tasks to those with the proper skills to get things done.

4. He was brave. Harry didn't wait for others to take care of things that needed to be taken care of sooner. He went places that others were afraid of and did what was necessary, including taking chances in giving up his own life, for the greater good.

5. He treated everyone fairly. Whether it was a witch, wizard, goblin, elf, or any of the many magical creatures that were introduced in the series, he never once acted like he was above any of them. Thus, he was able to identify with anyone who felt as though he was one of them, even though they all knew he was much more deep down inside.

6. Even in the spirit of competition, he does the right thing. In Goblet of Fire, he was in a competition with 3 others where the winner got a big prize. In the first challenge he had an advantage of knowledge over his main competition yet he told the guy what was coming. In the second challenge he tried to save one of his friends even though that's not what he was supposed to do, then ended up saving someone else even though it almost cost him the entire competition. And in the final challenge, even though he had it won, he went back to help out his main competitor instead of leaving him to the unknown, even though it's possible in retrospect that leaving him to the unknown might have left him alive.

7. When called upon to educate others for the greater good, he stepped up to the challenge even though he didn't have any background knowledge of how to do it. In Order of the Phoenix, it was recognized that many of the students needed to learn some fighting skills and how to protect themselves, and when asked, even though he didn't want to do it, he stepped up to the task because he knew it was the right thing to do. Even better, people were willing to learn from him, even knowing he didn't have the teaching background.


8. He always knew when it was time to defer to a better leader. In this case it was the headmaster of the school, which one might think makes sense to defer. But there were times when he knew he had to rely on himself as well, which was most of the time, so his ego was in check enough to know when to back down and listen to someone with superior knowledge and skill.

9. He had a skill that helped him convince others to take chances in helping him get things done, even if he didn't ask for the help. Great leaders establish themselves over time with their deeds and people see that. Then when things get rough, they'll often readily volunteer to help the leader fix things, sometimes even when the tasks are dangerous. Most of the time he didn't want the help, but he got it anyway.

10. He was ready to lay down his life for the protection of others. Wow, isn't that the ultimate leadership trait that would define all of us? Multiple times throughout the entire series, including the pre-climax of both the Harry Potter series and the movie, he's ready to give up his life to save pretty much the world. That selfless act, especially for someone so young, is a lesson that most adults will never learn, yet we saw a lot of that back on September 11, 2001.

How many people do you know that have all of these leadership skills? I hope most of us never have to find out if we have the last one.