This paper provides contextual information and specific findings about how principals in Bangladesh lead their schools. While the rate of change in education can sometimes be overwhelming in Bangladesh, school leadership still largely follows a hierarchical model. The principal is often seen as the person who makes a school successful and they also act as the gatekeepers to transform a school though change initiatives. School principals in Bangladesh struggle with the practical realities of management in a school system that is itself undergoing change. There is some recognition of the need to distribute some of the power to teachers for successful school change. In this paper we explore to what extent the urban principals in Dhaka city are moving towards distributed leadership for effective change. Both qualitative and quantitative data provide insights into the extent to which four principals use distributed leadership. This depended on their knowledge and application of the ideology of distributed leadership. The findings have implications for the development of principals as leaders in the future.