I got a comment from my site visitor from Algeria this week on my style and leadership approach. It was a good comment, but I wasn’t given the chance to mention some names that have been instrumental in how I got to where I am now as a leader, and I am still improving. These people saw me at my ‘not so good state’; they endured my weaknesses, but at the same time rallied round to make it not obvious to others. They gave me the opportunity to try things out, and they became the unseen elements that helped me find my voice. They were my courageous followers. Courageous followers are leaders who willingly choose to follow, not because they can’t lead.

So when you see, meet or come across these people, you can say thank you to them too.

These is not an exhaustive list because there are many people, but this people were part of a group called ‘on purpose’ and they made me a good leader ‘on purpose’.

Kemi Tijani – She is always on time. Punctuality is one of her watchwords, so is excellence and care. She has a calming presence, and handles responsibility with great execution. She is incredibly matured and that rubs off on me and the rest of the team. She is very professional and carries herself with poise. She’s an NGO enthusiast and currently in Nigeria looking for opportunities to show exemplary leadership in the market place in the field of Public Health.

Anirudh Bonny Saha – Bonny is versatile and adapts well. He brought huge diversity to the team, is a great teacher and a committed worker. I talk a lot, he listens a lot. He understood the act of followership and led from behind. He didn’t just serve with his intellect, he served with his resources. One of the shirts he gave me some years ago still looked good on me yesterday. Check my blackberry display picture to see it (if you are a contact on my bb). He is currently in Dubai laying the foundations of a solid career in IT.

Peter Obi – Peter is your gentle giant, tall and well built. He was the voice of reason, follows through on commitment  and has an ingenius way of getting the job done. He is very disciplined, talks little, but makes a great impact. A task in Peter’s hand is a task considered done. Many times when I struggle to be succinct with instructions, he clarifies it for me. He is currently in Canada continuing to engage in productive activities in the marketplace in IT and Project Management Industry.

Ayo Odunewu – I watched Ayo lead from when I was a teenager as the Senior Prefect in my secondary school more than a decade ago. When we met again in the UK, I knew I had to get her in my team. For the few months she spent, she brought a huge wealth of experience and was humble enough to follow and lead at the same time. Ayo is gentle, firm and understands what bad leadership is. So whatever I do, she ensures it stays within the confines of good leadership. Ayo is currently in Canada pursuing her doctorate degree.

Though not members of ‘on purpose’ these next set of people functioned with great purpose, took ownership of their responsibility and consistently made me look like a good leader.

Angarju Haman – Angie as popularly called put herself in the firing line of abuse, lack of privacy, and totally leaving her comfort zone to get the job done. when I come up with an idea and present it to Angie, she goes away and comes back with a better, more enhanced version of what I gave her. She is creative and highly focused. Even during personal challenges, Angie still gave thought to her role and the impact it has on the wider organisation. She is currently in the UK working in the field of Pharmacy.

Chioma Udi – I have seen Chioma come out of her shell to take responsibility and lead. Chioma tells the truth in a comforting way and she has a subtle way of getting her message across. She is so good, such that if I did not want to listen, I still got the message. It is an unstoppable way of getting her message across. Through a difficult period, Chioma stood strong and consistently played her role. She is currently in Nigeria enjoying family life and being a leader in the marketplace.

When the going got tough, these tough people got going. Collectively and individually these are the things they did:

1.)    They chose to listen – I talk a lot, they sacrificed to listen, but also at the same time taught me to talk less.

2.)    They were a step ahead – I am meant to be a step ahead, but they continuously proved to lead once they knew the direction

3.)    They covered my weaknesses – This was an interesting part. They helped in areas they knew I was weak.

4.)    They remained humble – They had a lot going for them, but they remained humble and worked together as a team.

So I want to say Thank You guys for helping me become a better leader.


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