It is widely acknowledged that Turkish public administration, with its centralized, hierarchical, rule driven bureaucratic structure and administrative style, is unable to adjust effectively to current developments requiring strong and effective leadership. In this context, the leadership skills of the sub-governors as top level district managers in Turkish administrative system are significantly important on which this study focuses. Accordingly, the paper presents a short review of the current structure and problems of Turkish public administration. Then, it discusses the findings of a survey conducted with 325 sub-governors, indicating that sub-governors exert leadership in their jobs despite several obstacles. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and peer review under the responsibility of Prof. Dr. Andreea Iluzia Iacob.