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.
Mixo Mayimele has over 20 years of experience in South Africa and internationally in consulting engineering, telecommunications technology and investment. He has founded and managed companies in technology project management and venture capital investment.
His tertiary education was in South Africa and The Netherlands. He has worked in Johannesburg, Shanghai and Amsterdam.
In 2015-2019 he was MD of the Southern African-Netherlands Economic Chamber and was a director of the Euro Chamber in South Africa (whose membership is primarily European multinationals).
He has also headed Pepperfield Ventures, a boutique advisory venture capital firm focused on supporting early-stage African companies in their growth and being investor-ready. He particularly does deal sourcing and corporate finance, and provides leadership and strategic direction to early-stage companies.