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.
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.
Over the past 25 years these original findings have been confirmed in diverse organisations across the world.
Ian spent most of his childhood in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, initially in East London and later at boarding school in Grahamstown. After leaving school, Ian studied and worked in Cape Town, gaining bachelor’s and Master’s business qualifications, as well as valuable experience as part of an Internet start-up during the turn of the century IT boom.
Following his time in Cape Town, Ian lived and worked abroad briefly before he returned to South Africa and took up a business consulting position within a growing IT and management consulting firm. Whilst based primarily in Johannesburg, Ian was also granted the opportunity to live in London and experience Europe. Ian returned to South Africa in 2011 and currently lives in Johannesburg with his wife and two children.
Ian’s passion for leadership began early in his life and continues to this day. Ian has held various leadership positions from captaining the junior national rowing VIII to an MD role in London. Ian was more recently responsible for leading the Professional Services business unit at the aforementioned consulting firm – a role in which he experienced first-hand the power of the Legitimate Leadership approach to leading others. Ian believes that caring for, and growing, one’s team is the primary responsibility of any leader, and that the solution to many of today’s most challenging business problems lies in building strong and sincere workplace relationships based on these two core values.