During my many years as a professor of leadership, I’ve been asked one question more times than I can count: Can leadership actually be taught? I usually respond with a well-rehearsed answer: Much like athletic prowess or musical talent, people’s innate capacity for leadership varies. But just as good coaches and teachers can help athletes and musicians realize their full potential, good educators can help people become better leaders. To do that at Harvard Business School, we draw heavily on John Kotter’s framework, which breaks a leader’s job down into three key functions: articulating a compelling vision, aligning people around it, and motivating them to execute it.

A version of this article appeared in the January–February 2024 issue of Harvard Business Review.