The interest in leadership continues to grow over the past few decades. Leadership Development Programs (LDPs) have become a priority for all sectors, especially for the public sector. However, LDPs tend to be based on Western leadership theories, and predominantly utilize Western leadership development approaches, and do not consider the influence of national culture in their utilization, namely high-context cultures, as exists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This exploratory study focuses on elucidating leadership conceptualizations among Emirati leaders identifying their perceptions of the factors that impact on LDPs and leadership outcomes in the UAE public sector. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 leaders from three Dubai government organisations and data were analyzed using NVivo 10. The significance of the findings of the study are: (1) leadership conceptualizations were based on the common themes of inspiring others and communication, (2) mentoring and coaching were noted to be among the best mechanisms utilized in LDPs, (3) leadership challenges included access to financial resources, adapting to 'smart' government, and building and retention of leaders- hence the need for effective LDPs. The study provides a unique and significant contextual contribution highlighting improvement in opportunities for leadership development programs in the UAE public sector.