Is it the ability to navigate in the choppy waters of change? Do leaders see the hidden opportunity in every setback? Is there really any such thing as a “born leader”? Five Harvard Business School (HBS) faculty and some prominent alumni offer their perspectives on an increasingly essential quality for managers at the dawn of the 21st century.

Leadership has been central to the mission of Harvard Business School since its inception almost a hundred years ago. “Our primary purpose has always been to educate leaders,” notes Dean Kim B. Clark. “Our students learn to be managers here, but they also learn that it is important to make a difference in the world to bring commitment, integrity, and a sense of values to their work.”

The initiative draws on the accumulated wisdom of HBS faculty members whose groundbreaking research in leadership has helped to define the field. Five of these experts Joseph L. Badaracco, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, John Kotter, Nitin Nohria, and David A. Thomas agreed to help the Bulletin answer perhaps the most basic question asked about leadership: What are the qualities that make a good leader?