Although leadership continues to play an important role in team effectiveness, how to lead teams of creative experts effectively remains a largely unanswered question. Within a performing arts context, this paper integrates the expert team and leadership literatures with the specific exigencies of the creative environment, particularly institutionalized theatre, and sheds new light on leadership and leadership behaviour in creative expert teams. The content analysis of semi-structured narrative interviews from two theatre organizations in Austria and Germany reveals five leadership discourses not only on success and leadership, authenticity, respect, autonomy and freedom, but also on the dark side of leadership. The paper concludes by discussing findings and implications on leadership research with respect to the sensitivity of the creative context.