Small regional communities are having widely different experiences of globalisation but many share dependent relations with corporations and governments. Those which are under threat are often finding themselves dependent on their own resources, including the leadership of local people. This article compares the interpretations of change and the experiences of local leaders in two geographically and historically diverse situations. It finds that despite such diversity, there are similarities of experience. It concludes with some consideration given to state policy regarding community leadership, tempering a view that leadership can provide solutions to regional decline.