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 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.
Sean brings his passion and experience in organisational change management for global brands to the Legitimate Leadership team.
Having graduated in chemistry from Surrey University, Sean started the first phase of his career as an analytical chemist at Carlsberg, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). While he progress in those organisations he also observed major organisational change. This sparked his passion for Lean Manufacturing and , at GSK, he completed his green belt in Six Sigma and ran several “Lean Lab” projects to improve manufacturing efficiency and performance.
In 2010 he moved full time into Lean at Johnson Matthey’s Clean Air Division manufacturing facility for catalytic converters for the European market.
At Johnson Matthey he worked on quality engineering, focusing on product and process design robustness. This role was also customer-facing as he was often asked to attend customer visits to explain how quality requirements were met throughout the design process. He then moved full time into major problem-solving projects, running multiple teams to resolve high-impact customer issues using structured problem-solving methodologies. His team rolled out the training and development of structured problem-solving process across multiple manufacturing sites.
He then worked as operations manager at Johnson Matthey’s catalytic converter plant in Royston, UK. The site leadership team constantly had to handle soaring and unpredictable demand while contending with a legacy plant and a very large product mix, a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) deployment and multiple stock builds. In April 2020 he was appointed plant manager and immediately had to contend with COVID-19.
Johnson Matthey then began major restructuring, and he was given the sad task of closing the plant, which employed over 800 people.
Sean started working full time for Legitimate Leadership in May 2022.
Based out of Cambridgeshire, Sean is married with three young children. He’s also an avid sports fan with a Google-like ability for football statistics. He loves attending live events, especially at Wembley. And he has also picked up marathon running again after a few years off.