Argues that school leaders face tensions which result from simultaneous and contradictory influences towards sameness and difference. The tensions which influence leaders can be seen in varying forms at the global, macro-political, policy and school levels. Established ways of working (sameness) continue to dominate school operation and leadership practices. Recommends that government and school leaders deal with these tensions by challenging the sameness underpinning school operation, through valuing and learning from difference within the school community. Suggests challenging sameness in schools can be grounded in valuing and learning from the differences comprising the school community. Copyright © 1998 MCB UP Limited.