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.


Bontle Phele

Office Administrator, Higher Certificate In Management Assistant

Bontle was born in Qwaqwa, Free State, South Africa and spent most of her childhood in the former gold mining towns of Welkom and Johannesburg.

After tertiary education, she began her office management career at an events management company. She later worked for a revival centre, where she became enthusiastic about media, and thereafter at a local high school.

She also worked for non-profit organisations – one enhances service delivery in rural and underprivileged communities; the other provides care for children with life-threatening and life–limiting conditions.

Bontle joined Legitimate Leadership in 2022. Her main roles are project dashboarding and business administration.

Bontle lives in Johannesburg. She is a proud single mother of a loving and outspoken daughter. Her most important interest is her family, followed by travelling, swimming, reading, trying out new restaurants and new cooking recipes.