Background: Within the current health care system, leadership is considered important for physicians. leadership is mostly self-taught, through observing and practicing. Does the practice environment offer residents enough opportunities to observe the supervisor leadership behaviours they have to learn? In the current study we investigate which leadership behaviours residents observe throughout their training, which behaviours supervisors report to display and whether residents and supervisors have a need for more formal training. Methods: We performed two questionnaire studies. Study 1: Residents (n = 117) answered questions about the extent to which they observed four basic and observable Situational Leadership behaviours in their supervisors. Study 2: Supervisors (n = 201) answered questions about the extent to which they perceived to display these Situational Leadership behaviours in medical practice. We asked both groups of participants whether they experienced a need for formal leadership training. Results: One-third of the residents did not observe the four basic Situational Leadership behaviours. The same pattern was found among starting, intermediate and experienced residents. Moreover, not all supervisors showed these 4 leadership behaviours. Both supervisors and residents expressed a need for formal leadership training. Conclusion: Both findings together suggest that current practice does not offer residents enough opportunities to acquire these leadership behaviours by solely observing their supervisors. Moreover, residents and supervisors both express a need for more formal leadership training. More explicit attention should be paid to leadership development, for example by providing formal leadership training for supervisors and residents.