Background: Effective nursing leadership is necessary for the delivery of safe, high quality healthcare. Yet experience and research tells us that nursing leaders are commonly unprepared for their roles. Take The Lead (TTL), a large-scale, multifaceted professional development program was initiated in New South Wales, Australia, to strengthen the capacity of Nursing/Midwifery Unit Managers (N/MUMs). The aim of this study was to examine the effects of TTL on job performance, nursing leadership and patient experience. Methods: Nursing/Midwifery Unit Managers (n = 30) and managers of N/MUMs (n = 30) who had completed the TTL program were interviewed between August and December 2010. The semi-structured interviews included a combination of open-ended questions and questions that required respondents to rate statements using a Likert scale. Data from the open-ended questions were thematically analysed to identify and categorise key concepts. The responses to the Likert items were analysed via descriptive statistics. Results: Nursing/Midwifery Unit Managers' participation in TTL engendered improvements in job performance and leadership skills, as well as some improvement in patients' experiences of care. The program facilitated role clarification and helped foster peer-support and learning networks, which were perceived to provide ongoing professional and personal benefits to participants. Conclusions: Our study revealed a consensus about the beneficial outcomes of TTL among those involved with the program. It supports the significant and ongoing value of widely implemented, multifaceted nursing leadership development programs and demonstrates that participants value their informal interactions as highly as they do the formal content. These findings have implications for delivery mode of similar professional development programs.