This paper outlines the findings of a study that examined the conceptions of academics regarding the nature of 'leading' and 'managing' learning and teaching in six Australian universities. These data were considered in the light of institutional systems and documentation regarding the leadership and management of learning and teaching and the contemporary literature on leadership and management, particularly in higher education. The research found that there was congruence between academic conceptions of the roles of leaders and managers in HE and those found in other contexts. In contrast, there was considerable variance and significant gaps between these conceptions and HR and professional development practices. The paper reports findings that have significant implications for more systematic and explicit professional development for University leaders and managers of teaching and learning. In addition, it argues that changes are required to the prevailing approaches in the current HR systems and policies in order to effectively develop, support and recognize effective leadership and management practices as they relate to learning and teaching.