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.


Tony Flannigan


Tony began his career as an apprentice draughtsman in the shipyards in north-east England. He was nominated to join a graduate development programme at Newcastle University, where he attained the only first class honours degree in naval architecture in the UK in 1992.

After 10 years of designing and building ships he joined ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) at its Teesside (Middlesbrough) ethylene cracker as a technical engineer. He was subsequently promoted to maintenance management and then operations management roles.

In 1995 he moved to ICI’s catalyst business, initially in a techno-commercial role, selling consultancy services. In this role he gained valuable experience in various cultures in many regions, including the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

Tony was then appointed as the site manager in ICI’s UK catalyst manufacturing plant. He soon took on extra duties involving the acquisition and integration of new businesses and joint ventures, and had a role in the acquisition of ICI by Johnson Matthey (JM).

Soon thereafter he became global operations director of JM, during which time he gained a masters degree in manufacturing leadership at Cambridge University. It was there he came across the care and growth leadership framework, which he subsequently introduced in the JM operations function.

Tony then joined JM’s head office to implement a global manufacturing excellence programme. He was asked to focus on leadership aspects and so further introduced the framework into the global management development programme for JM.

Tony’s final position at JM was talent and development director, in which he further refined his skills in people development. After 42 years of full time employment he retired in 2021 to work as a consultant with Legitimate Leadership.

Tony’s other interests include property development. He fulfilled a lifelong wish to build his own house by converting a derelict barn which provides space for other hobbies such as older car and motorbike restoration, and getting stung by the bees he keeps!