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Lisa Chatherine Ehrich and Neil Cranston

Increasingly, leadership is argued as a way forward to improve performance and practice in a variety of contexts. School leadership is no different. There is little doubt that in the current globalised world characterized by change and complexity, effective school leadership is a key requirement. The contribution of this chapter is framed around a synthesis of current research, writing and theoretical insights regarding leadership. It draws upon three bodies of writing. Firstly, it begins by distilling several key themes and trends regarding educational leadership from the current research and writing. Secondly, it reports on the findings of a current research project carried out by the authors that explored the leadership stories of ten outstanding leaders from non-educational settings in Australia. Finally, it concludes by referring to some of the paradoxes and tensions inherent in the work of school leaders. It is argued that understanding and endeavouring to reconcile these dilemmas is a pre-requisite for school leaders as they continue to operate in an environment fraught with change and complexity.