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.


Rean du Plessis


Rean was born and raised in South Africa.

His first job, in 1980, was as a prison warden. He immediately began integrating psychology work with this job and came face to face with a lack of care and accountability.

He later moved to one of the largest gold mines in South Africa, working in training and development as well as leadership assessment. He then worked as an industrial psychologist for various organisations. .

In 1999 he began a career in executive coaching where he was co-director of one of the largest coaching companies in SA

His expertise today includes practical leadership experience, global executive leadership growth, behaviour assessment and management, industrial and organisational psychology, strategic business planning and analysis, risk evolution and mitigation, and project planning and execution.

As a consultant and executive coach he has worked for a wide range of companies, in many places – including Rössing Uranium Mine of Namibia, the Saudi Arabia Saline Water Conversion Company, the Botswana Power Corporation, Kenya Syngenta & Monsanto, Volvo, Glencore, Anglo American, etc.

Rean received the Da Vinci Mandala Research Award for applying the principles of systems thinking to his PhD research.

In his spare time, Rean enjoys spending time with his family, writing, travelling, and on the farm with his cattle.