This article aims to reveal the leadership role in the transformation of higher education institution in Indonesia. The samples taken are higher education institutions in Surakarta. From the sample which is lined with purposive sampling technique, it is analyzed based on the organization's life cycle and its leadership role. The results show that based on the stages of higher education can be classified into stages of initiation, actuation, and existence. The leadership role in each of the stages varies. The stages of initiation of leadership roles are fully involved in determining organizational policies. In the actuation stage the leadership role has begun to be delegated through the process of motivating and establishing a standardized system. At the existence stage, leadership roles have only focused on strategic steps to strengthen value, quality, and innovation by prioritizing logic, skills, morality, and attitude.