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The quality of medical education hinges on the quality of leadership in academic medical centers. Medical education programs that lack leadership, or are poorly led, are unlikely to thrive. In the effort to improve the quality of our leadership, we need to define the curriculum for leadership development. What do effective leaders know what skills do they possess, and what practical experiences do they bring to bear on organizational problems? What characteristics separate effective leaders from ineffective leaders? Merely having the will to lead is insufficient; we must also know how to do it, and bring the skills necessary to do it well. The essential organizational characteristics of leaders, the key necessities of their self-development, and the vital role of moral vision in effective leadership merit special attention.