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.
Zenobia hails from Cape Town. She studied at Rhodes University; on completion, she lectured and tutored in the Psychology and Sociology Departments and was instrumental in setting up the first university-based corruption-monitoring unit in the Eastern Cape – the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM).
She returned to Cape Town to work at a non-profit organisation (Foundation for Contemporary Research) focused on good governance and sustainable livelihoods in the Western Cape. She then joined a niche management consulting firm (ODA) specializing in large scale change processes.
During her 15 years in management consulting, she played dual roles of project manager and advisory consultant, specifically focusing on organisational diagnostics and redesign, organisational review, institutional health, change management and business process review projects in the public sectors in South Africa and elsewhere in Southern Africa.
In 2010 she was the recipient of a Hubert Humphrey Fellowship, a Fulbright programme for mid-career professionals focusing on the public administration and philanthropy sectors. Hosted by the University of Washington in Seattle, this gave her the opportunity to meet global leaders and participate in wide-ranging leadership programmes across the USA.
Zenobia has a passion for involvement in the philanthropy sector and was most recently involved in mentoring facilitators at the Sistahood Girls’ Organisation in Hout Bay (near Cape Town), which focuses on educational development and empowerment of adolescent girls in the Imizamo Yethu area. She was appointed a Board Member in 2015.
She has also been a co-opted Member of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) since 2004.
Zenobia joined Legitimate Leadership in July 2018.