This paper analyzes the Spanish school principal figures and their future patterns of leadership and development, according to educational policies in Europe. The first part presents a comprehensive overview of the situation of school principals in Spain, according to the Spanish policy; in the second part, its real practice in a secondary school is evidenced based on the results of a conducted research. The tensions and dilemmas currently faced by school principals in Spain will be analyzed: pedago leadership versus management-oriented principals. The interviews carried out reveal the meaning that the different agents give to “leadership”. A climate of trust and collaboration has been established between the management team, middle leaders and teaching staff, necessary conditions for the development of a shared school project and ensure its sustainability for achieve school improvement.