The concept of leadership means different things to different people. At present there is no single definition of leadership nor an established theoretical approach. Despite this, leadership in the clinical environment is becoming increasingly cited as an important component in the transition of the National Health Service (NHS) and in the development of clinician led services. In medicine, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will soon be operational and the Department of Health (DH) seeks to establish a similar approach in dentistry, where local clinicians drive forward a quality agenda with a focus on patient outcomes. To facilitate this, the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) are in the process of developing Local Professional Networks (LPNs) for dentistry. Given this shift towards localism and clinician led services it would appear that leadership will have a significant role in both medicine and dentistry. This paper explores what leadership is, before determining why it might be important in providing a clinician-led, patient-based and outcomes-focused service.