The leaders we want? Clones, drones, and dragons

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


This talk examines a number of key issues around successful school leadership and leader development in the Asia Pacific region. Three metaphors are used to frame, track and analyze recent research and commentary in the area – these are clones, drones and dragons. The metaphors provide a useful way to examine the evolution, development and ongoing uncertainties which continue to plague our attempts to understand and prepare successful leaders. Clones duplicate what others think they know about successful leadership. Drones are controlled ‘from-afar’ by centralized authorities or other ‘outsiders’. Dragons take organic forms which can mutate in terms of shape, color and form in line with more localized needs. As such, they aim to nurture leaders who lead change successfully within their communities with reference to but not dictated by standardized knowledge. Issues flowing from interactions between these categories form a set of questions or tensions faced by systems and leaders across the region.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Walker, A. (2011, November). The leaders we want? Clones, drones, and dragons. Paper presented at the UCEA Convention 2011: “Forecasting the Future of Leadership Preparation and Practice: Reclaiming Ground through Research, Policy and Politics.”, Westin Hotel, Pittsburgh, United States.


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