Directive communication is a key leadership practise in schools. However, very little direct attention has been given to this important feature of the school communication system. The purpose of the research reported here was to produce a richer description of directive communication in the context of Australian primary schools, and in so doing, explain why it should be considered important leadership practise in schools. Participants were 52 staff members from cross-sectorial schools (government, catholic systemic and independent) across five states and territories of Australia. Data were obtained from interviews conducted face to face and via email. The study found that directive communication by principals: (1) concerned a limited range of topics including policy and procedures, teaching and learning and information about school organization and events, (2) ranged in intensity from guidance to command/control, (3) occurred mainly through face to face and staff meetings and (4) provided staff with information to do their jobs, reduced ambiguity and encouraged a team culture. While these provisions are useful and help schools to run well, excessive directive communication poses potential problems for school climate and staff morale.