Recent literature has emphasised the distributed nature of leadership in higher education and the multitude of actors and factors that contribute towards organisational outcomes. Gronn (2009, 2011) suggests, however, that rather than using such evidence to provide broad, normative accounts of leadership practice, greater attention should be directed to mapping the ‘hybrid configurations’ through which leadership practice emerges. This paper responds to this call through an analysis of employer engagement activities in UK higher education. Using a qualitative case study approach it illustrates the complex, interdependent, and contested, nature of leadership practice in cross-boundary environments. The paper concludes by suggesting how a hybrid perspective may enhance leadership theory and practice in tertiary education.