Clinical leadership is becoming more relevant for nurses, as the positive impact that it can have on the quality of care and outcomes for consumers is better understood and more clearly articulated in the literature. As clinical leadership continues to become more relevant, the need to gain an understanding of how clinical leaders in nursing develop will become increasingly important. While the attributes associated with effective clinical leadership are recognized in current literature there remains a paucity of research on how clinical leaders develop these attributes. This study utilized a grounded theory methodology to generate new insights into the experiences of peer identified clinical leaders in mental health nursing and the process of developing clinical leadership skills. Participants in this study were nurses working in a mental health setting who were identified as clinical leaders by their peers as opposed to identifying them by their role or organizational position. A process of intentional modeling emerged as the substantive theory identified in this study. Intentional modeling was described by participants in this study as a process that enabled them to purposefully identify models that assisted them in developing the characteristics of effective clinical leaders as well as allowing them to model these characteristics to others. Reflection on practice is an important contributor to intentional modelling. Intentional modelling could be developed as a framework for promoting knowledge and skill development in the area of clinical leadership.