Leadership is the achievement of meaningful goals for an organization through the management of others. It is about articulating a vision, setting strategy, coping with change, and aligning and motivating people. The best way of motivating people is through resonance, which is to engage their passion and excitement in order to produce positive, sustainable results in an atmosphere of cooperation and trust. A leader cannot depend upon power alone, but must excel in building authentic relationships, an ability the changing business climate renders indispensable.

Organizations need both leadership and management to survive in turbulent times. By definition, management focuses on achieving goals while coping with complexity. It involves planning and budgeting, organization and staffing, and controlling and problem solving. In the past, there were philosophical arguments that leadership and management skills were different, and one person could not be expected to fill both functions. Once American business experienced wave after wave of downsizings as the business climate became more competitive, the answer became clear: a leader must do both.

Leading others requires self-management (which includes integrity, maturity, self-awareness, authenticity, and empathy), and having a comprehensive range of social skills (which include relationship building, optimism, communication, persuasion, influence, conflict management), to manage others. Leadership skills and abilities are the subject of this section while management skills will be addressed in other sections.