A study of eight senior managers from different organisations has combined Critical Theory and Grounded Theory approaches. This study builds on the findings of a previous substantive study (Kriflik 2002) which identified the most successful leadership strategies, as perceived by participants. The most successful strategies are those in which leaders focussed on their own behaviours, attitudes and actions. Building on these findings this study explores leadership competencies and the mechanisms which enhance, or enable, leaders’ ability to learn such competencies. Interviews were conducted and transcribed, then analysed, and became the basis for the choice of subsequent participants. The study identified critical reflection as crucial to leadership learning.