For a number of decades now, ‘leadership’ has been both an assumed answer to and cause of organisational and societal problems. Its popularisation has led to many definitions, yet the issue of ambiguity in definitions in leadership literature raised nearly 40 years ago by Pfeffer (1977) still remains (see Alvesson and Spicer, 2014). Since the start of the millennium, interest in distributed, shared, collaborative and collective conceptualisations of leadership has gathered momentum, adding to leadership’s popularisation, particularly in the field of education. This distributed ‘turn’ is attractive due to the implied democratic, inclusive flavour of the related nomenclature. It can also appear as an antidote to the romanticism that Meindl, Ehrlich and Dukerich (1985) claim is associated with heroic leader-centric models of leadership ‘dominated by views of leaders as exceptional individuals’ (Gronn, 2011, p. 438). Evidence of this distributed ‘turn’ lies in the rapid increase of associated publications (Bolden, 2011) and the assertion of distributed leadership as a new direction in the leadership field (Grint, 2011; Contractor et al., 2012).