The liberating leader: a manifesto for true influence and impact

The liberating leader: a manifesto

Our partner, *GiANT Worldwide*, coined the term ‘liberating leader’ to represent the kind of leader who is truly worth following. This article describes what a Liberating Leader is, why it’s so important, and what you’re ‘signing up to’ if you aspire to being a Liberating Leader.

Our (not-so) hidden agenda

Sure we can talk strategy, or value propositions, or tech-sector trends or organisational development. We love that stuff at xquadrant!

But there’s a deeper heartbeat at xquadrant. It’s to help leaders build amazing teams and organisations that accomplish great things.

In fact, we can go further. It’s to help ambitious individuals like you create a legacy of positive change and success in all circles of influence: personal, professional and community.

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    To create outstanding results - and build outstanding teams.
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    To have the satisfaction not only of ‘winning’, but of seeing the people you have influence over and responsibility for win too.
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    To have the sense of pride, as you look back, of both your results and of your investment in those around you.

You see, xquadrant was founded on the conviction that great leaders accomplish great things precisely because of their ability to create environments where people grow and perform at their best.

This is not blind faith. In his bestselling book Good To Great, Jim Collins reported that he was surprised when the data from a serious research project found a direct linkage between outstanding long-term business performance and the presence of humble and committed senior leaders.


Collins coined the term Level 5 leaders:


Level 5 leaders …. blend extreme personal humility with intense professional will.

We found leaders of this type at the helm of every good-to-great company during the transition era.

They were self-effacing individuals who displayed the fierce resolve to do whatever needed to be done to make the company great.

Jim Collins, Good To Great

What kind of leader will you be?

So here’s the question. We all have influence. We all lead in our different spheres of life.

The question, therefore, is not whether you will exercise leadership, but what kind of leadership will it be?


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    The first option is to be an accidental leader. We get on with the ‘job at hand’ without realising the impact we are having on those around us. We let our tendencies direct our behaviour. So whilst our strengths can take us quite far, the dark side of our tendencies undermines our influence and we leave on the table masses of impact.
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    The second option is to lead out of your fears and insecurities. We find ourselves trapped within a barrier of self-preservation and dominated by our own agenda. This can express itself is different ways. Whether we avoid the tough conversations that would lead to growth, or grind our team down through relentless critique and pressure, we miss out our full potential and significance.
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    The third option is to commit to becoming a liberating leader. A leader who commits to a different path. A leader who gets results AND grows people. A leader who strives to become the best possible version of themselves. A leader who fights for the highest possible good in the lives of those they lead. A leader who will leave a legacy that they’ll be truly proud of.

In the words of GiANT Worldwide:


We believe that if we commit to becoming and building leaders worth following, then we will see a massive shift in the cultures of organizations, families, cities, and countries across the world.

If we grow humble, liberating leaders then we will have less drama and insecurity within organizations, while at the same time improving productivity and health.

GiANT Worldwide

The manifesto of the liberating leader

Now, every community and movement has a set of rules & beliefs by which it stands. And because we are all about delivering the best possible results, we are in the business of releasing people to be the liberating leader that they can be.

So here’s a manifesto for the liberating leader.

None of us are perfect, and there is always room to grow. No-one is the perfect liberating leader. So this is not so much a statement of fact, but a statement of intent. It’s a declaration of the direction we desire to travel.

1. We pursue a lifestyle of liberation

We commit to becoming a liberating leader in all circles of influence: with ourselves, our family, our team, our organisation, our community.

We want to be the kind of leader that creates health and growth wherever we go. We want to be consistent and authentic.

As we pursue this lifestyle of liberating leadership, we aspire to be forever humble, hungry and smart.

2. We lead ourselves first

Before we lead others, we have to lead ourselves. Which means understanding our tendencies and replacing accidental behaviour with deliberate intent.

Simply put, we need to know ourselves to lead ourselves. Which means that we never graduate from the school of self-awareness; we remain teachable and embrace the opportunity for personal growth.

3. We fight for the highest possible good in the lives of those we lead

We fight for the highest possible good in the lives of those we lead. This doesn't mean softness: in fact, it means taking a stand and making tough decisions.

It does mean we are constantly asking ourselves how those in our influence can get to the next level, and how we can help them overcome the tendencies that are undermining them.

4. We bring support AND challenge to create a culture of empowerment and opportunity

Fighting for the highest possible good means learning to calibrate support and challenge. We know this creates empowerment, growth and opportunity.

We commit to discerning who needs more support, and who needs more challenge, and not to shy away from either.

5. We aspire to be leaders truly worth following

We do all this because we long for the ‘legacy of liberation’.

  • Influence - becoming a leader people want to follow rather than a leader they have to follow.
  • And impact - creating high-performing organisations that everyone wants to work for.

6. We push back our limits of liberation

We know that our leadership is limited by our own fears, doubts and insecurities. We know there is a wall of self-preservation to push past.

We commit to becoming secure, humble and confident leaders who are not entrapped by what we could lose, what we would prove, and what we would hide.

7. It won’t end with us

This journey starts with us, but we don’t want to end with us. We want to become a leader worth following, but we want to GROW leaders worth following too.

We see our legacy as being not only our own accomplishments, but the accomplishments of the people in whom we have invested.

So... are you in?

So that's a liberating leader.  A level five leader who is truly worth following.  Impact and integrity.  Results and relationship. Someone who "turns things green" wherever they go and creates life, health and flourishing.

Do you agree with this vision of a liberating leader?

Are you in? Let me know.

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Richard Medcalf

Richard Medcalf is Founder & CEO of Xquadrant. Having held senior positions in both the professional services and tech sectors, he's committed himself to improving the quality of leadership and organisational performance around the world. The way to his heart is through curry.

  • James says:

    Great stuff Richard. The Duke of Wellington allegedly said of Napoleon that he would rather face ten infantry battalions not led by Napoleon than one led by Napoleon. I think what he was saying is that Napoleon had some of your ‘secret sauce’ you keep referring to, (which from your bio is obviously curry). I’ve never seen leadership as my ‘thing’ at all, safer to keep my head below the parapet rather than face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, better a live dog than a dead lion is my motto, modest fortune will do me nicely thanks, I’ll stay at the technical level. But you’re embarrassing me out of that attitude of being content with the low road and making me wonder what’s possible should I decide to follow you ‘over the top’… What the heck, I’m in…!

  • Imane says:

    I am totally in .. I am seeking to be the better version of myself as well as becoming a positively effective leader in all areas of my life .

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