This article proposes, justifies and applies a framework that can be used to analyse leadership stories. Extracts from three leadership stories are examined using what we have called the CII Frame. Our basic premise is that stories hold rich opportunities for understanding leadership in schools, but that stories are often wasted because they are neither noticed nor interpreted. The CII Frame is one way of guiding interpretation of leadership stories through exploring the context, intuition and influence leaders communicate through storytelling. Context relates to understanding the context within which the leader operates and the meanings they attach to this. Intuition refers to the leader's subjective 'voice' of what happens in their work lives. The influence frame attempts to probe reasons why leaders do what they do. It acknowledges that principal actions and beliefs are grounded in previous experience and within the make up of their school. Copyright © 1999 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.