The notion that leaders should be philosophers is not new. Indeed, it can be found as far back as Plato but it has never been widely accepted. As social institutions have become more bureaucratic and have acquired more specific functions, leadership has come to be identified either with managerial or interpersonal skills, or with charismatic personality. The idea that leadership could be the natural manifestation of a philosophical disposition has been rejected as being both impractical and elitist. It is an idea that has seemed to be incompatible with the industrial imperatives of modern society. As these imperatives have embraced more and more areas of institutional life, including the institutions of education, leadership has been defined increasingly in terms of management, efficiency and productivity. But this is a view of leadership which does not value critical reflection, personal autonomy or collective deliberation. It is, therefore, a view of leadership that is particularly inappropriate to educational institutions because it negates the educational purposes of those institutions.