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.


Leanne Maree


Leanne started her career in South Africa in the fast-food industry, then moved to the tumultuous security industry in the mid-1990s.

She was instrumental in the formation of a new employer organisation in the South African security industry and was later appointed vice-chairperson of this body; she also served on a regulatory body for the industry.

After a brief period in the construction industry in Zambia, Botswana, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates, she returned to the fast-food sector in South Africa as a shareholder and director.

Leanne’s key strength is converting business strategy into a measurable HR strategy.

Although a generalist, her passion is conflict resolution, change management and improvement of HR service delivery within an organisation.

Since 2012, Leanne has been consulting to various sectors including NGOs, the security industry, light engineering, manufacturing, aeronautics, hospitality, and fast foods. Projects have included disciplinary hearings, conciliation and mediation council representations, coaching and mentoring, policy and procedure re-engineering and implementation, equity reports, facilitation, and industrial relations training.

Leanne has been a Legitimate Leadership associate since November 2016.