The great lockdown of 2020 presented educational organizations around the world with unprecedented challenges, not least to leadership. For the research reported on here, thirteen leaders of schools, colleges and universities were interviewed about how they coped with the situation. It was found that, while the participants were undoubtedly leading in a crisis, they did not exhibit all of the classic signs of crisis leadership. Instead, they remained instructional leaders, but in circumstances radically different from those imagined by any literature on the subject. The degree to which a movement online added formality to relationships between leaders and followers proved to be a major problem, one which encouraged the conclusion that caution should be exercised when envisaging the lockdown period as any kind of template for a technology-enabled future for education as a practice.