About Us

A key problem facing leaders at work is to establish a sense of legitimacy for their leadership, to mobilise the consent of their people to being led by them. This only happens when leaders have a sincere and genuine concern for those in their charge and enable their people to realise the very best in themselves. In other words, managers have the right to demand delivery of their people, not because they pay them or because they are in a position of authority, but because they Care for and Grow them.

Care and Growth are the universal criteria for any Legitimate Relationship of Power.

What are the roots of the Legitimate Leadership Model?

The Legitimate Leadership Model originated from seminal research into trust in management in the South African gold mines in the late 1980s. Contrary to expectation, trust in management in the apartheid era was not consistently low, but varied immensely, both across mines and even in different shafts on the same mine. Trust in management was not found to be a function of working/living conditions, rates of pay, trade union activity, or the sophistication of the company’s human resources policies and systems. Rather, trust in management was granted or withheld on the basis of the employees’ perception of their leadership’s genuine concern for their welfare. The leadership of a mine was seen to be legitimate and worthy, or not, of support on this basis only.

Whether the management of any enterprise is trusted and viewed as legitimate, therefore, is ultimately a function of the intent of the immediate supervisor at any level in the hierarchy.

Where has the Legitimate Leadership Model been applied? 

Over the past 25 years the original research findings have been applied in more than 250 diverse organisations around the world. Legitimate Leadership Partners and Associates work with clients globally both on-site and from their home locations in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, Belgium and Finland.


Our core consulting team of Legitimate Leadership directors and associates are supported by an exceptional back office team and specialist staff, as well as a broad network of consultants, coaches and mentors who work together to enable the shift from TAKING to GIVING.


Angela Donnelly


Angela was born and raised in South Africa. She now lives in Canada with her husband Sean and their three young daughters (including twins).

During the 1990s she and Sean backpacked and travelled throughout Canada, the US and the UK.

Angela began her career as an owner, head coach and international judge of a YMCA gymnastics club. She later worked for Unilever in South Africa and Italy, then in various positions in training and consulting. She then spent 10 years as a head of learning and development in two major South African banks. During this time she also studied part-time for her commerce degree.

Angela was first exposed to the care and growth leadership framework in the early 2000s. Her experience of how a shift in her intent could reorient how she viewed her entire contribution as a leader enabled her for the first time to feel truly congruous (something she now understands as ‘legitimacy’) in raising the bar of human excellence and holding others accountable for their contributions.

She later became an independent leadership consultant in South Africa, specialising in the framework, and continued with the framework when she set up her own consulting firm in Canada.

She has recently worked with clients in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Scotland, Paris and New York.

Angela is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), a SAP Business One Certified Implementation Consultant and a certified Neurolinguistic Programming practitioner.

In her spare time, Angela loves doing anything creative – as well as reading, paddle-boarding, golfing and walking on the beach or in snow (hopefully with her faithful dog Jack).