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.
Stuart Foulds has over 15 years of experience in change management, organisational development, communication strategy and organisational communications, as well as training and leadership development.
He spent almost 10 years as an expert consultant at McKinsey & Co. He was responsible for delivering communication strategy, change management and related advice to corporate and government clients in various countries and sectors. Thereafter he ran his own communication consultancy for three years, based in Luxembourg and serving clients in four continents.
Back in South Africa since 2015, Stuart was appointed as senior manager for organisational development at AllLife, a niche life insurance company. This role included creating the architecture to assess and build capabilities and effectiveness within AllLife’s management team.
Stuart then spent time with Sinequanon, a start-up people analytics consultancy, where he helped develop a suite of implementation products to enable clients to translate Sinequanon’s analytical insights into action. Focus areas included leadership development, employee communication/engagement, and optimising critical people processes like performance management.
Stuart has been associated with Legitimate Leadership since 2017.