The nature and the practice of local political leadership are undergoing rapid change. In the UK, policy initiatives have included the adoption of executive leadership systems in the form of the directly elected mayor or the increasing selection of council leaders for four-year terms rather than through annual nomination. The drive toward elected mayors and other reforms of local management continues under the current coalition government. This article draws from extensive research in the UK, other European countries and the USA, in order to propose and develop a matrix for the analysis of both local and national political leadership. Illustrations are offered of how the matrix might be used in such analysis, alongside a consideration of prospects for further research in this area.