Aims This study aimed to identify the key elements of effective leadership in interdisciplinary health and social care teams providing community rehabilitation and intermediate care in England, and investigate their impact on services, staff, team dynamics and patient outcomes. Methods This mixed methods health services research investigated workforce issues through the use of a range of methods including a literature review, qualitative study and a cross sectional quantitative study. Fifteen staff interviews were conducted during the qualitative study. Data was recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically using a template approach. The cross-sectional study generated data from 10 teams, including 210 staff and 2210 patients. Results The results of the qualitative study show that because of the interdisciplinary nature of the workforce in community rehabilitation and intermediate care services and the unique context in which they operate, interdisciplinary team leadership (IdTL) does require a distinctive form of leadership. However, IdTL does demonstrate many of the same elements as generic theories of team leadership. The quantitative study found that there were significant associations between: Service structure and working practices and IdTL; IdTL and staff and team behavioural dynamics; staff behavioural dynamics and team behavioural dynamics. No direct relationship was found between IdTL and patient outcomes. Weak statistical relationships were found between staff and team behavioural dynamics, and patient outcomes Conclusions The research shows that effective IdTL can significantly improve staff and team behavioural dynamics. There is some indicative evidence of the effect of staff and team behavioural dynamics on patient outcomes. These results were achieved with a sample of only 10 teams, which provides encouragement that leadership in IdTL is worthy of further investigation.