AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the application of a Multidimensional Model of Clinical Leadership on the community healthcare leader and on transforming community services. BACKGROUND: Healthcare policy advocates clinical leadership as the vehicle to transform community and healthcare services. Few studies have identified the key components of an effective clinical leadership development model. DESIGN: The first two stages of Kirkpatrick's (Personnel Administrator 28, 1983, 62) Four/Five Levels of Evaluation were used to evaluate the application of the multidimensional model of clinical leadership. METHODS: Eighty community healthcare leaders were exposed to this multidimensional clinical leadership development model through attendance of a community clinical leadership development programme. Twenty five leaders participated in focus group interviews. Data from the interviews were analysed utilising thematic content analysis. RESULTS: Three key themes emerged that influenced the development of best practice principles for clinical leadership development: 1. Personal leadership development 2. Organisational leadership 3. The importance of multiprofessional action learning/reflective groups CONCLUSIONS: Emergent best practice principles for clinical leadership development include adopting a multidimensional development approach. This approach encompasses: preparing the individual leader in the role and seeking organisational leadership development that promotes the vision and corporate values of the organisation and delivers on service improvement and innovation. Moreover, application of the Multidimensional Model of Clinical Leadership could offer the best platform for embedding the Six C's of Nursing (Compassion in Practice - Our Culture of Compassionate Care, Department of Health, Crown Copyright, 2012) within the culture of the healthcare organisation: care, compassion, courage, commitment, communication, and competency. This is achieved in part through the application of emotional intelligence to understand self and to develop the personal integrity of the healthcare leader and through supporting a culture of lifelong leadership learning. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Embedding the best practice principles of clinical leadership development within a multidimensional model of clinical leadership provides a promising approach to: equipping the healthcare leader with those transferable leadership skills required to help them embark on a journey of lifelong leadership learning; and producing the healthcare leader who is caring, compassionate and can confidently and effectively transform community services.