Leadership Lessons from Taiwo

I’d like to wish my boss from Fantasyland Advisory Services (FAS), Taiwo Oyedele a lovely birthday celebration.

Taiwo is easily one of the most published authors on tax and fiscal policy matters in West Africa, so there’s no need going into how brilliant and accomplished he is: there’s more than enough of that on Google.

What has not been said enough, is how much of a great leader he is. When I find myself having to make tough managerial calls, he is one of those I try to model my decision making process after. Here are a few of his great leadership attributes among many:

1. Transparency: He shares as much as possible about the business issues so that everyone knows the good, the bad and the ugly. I can’t count how many times he openly shared the firm’s compensation details by grade level and explained why some were earning higher than others.

2. Objectivity: Taiwo has a spreadsheet with data that he uses to make almost any decision. So any time an argument comes up, he will say, let us look at the analysis together😄. As humans, it’s difficult to achieve 100% objectivity at all times. But it’s my honest opinion that Taiwo puts in effort to do so as much as he can.

3. Innovation and Adaptability: I have not met many top executive leaders that are quick to embrace technology and new ways of doing things like Taiwo. He is active across all major social media platforms, and is ready to embrace any tool/method to make work more productive. Some of us even felt that maybe he embraced too many tools. But all in all, he is usually open to discussion about better ways of doing things.

4. Empathy and feedback: As much as possible, Taiwo tries to put himself in others’ shoes. I think he achieved this by being open to feedback. This led him to pursue humane policies like reduced work hours for mums, flexible work arrangements and so on.

5. Bold: Taiwo get liver abeg. He is unafraid to challenge norms and call out things that don’t make sense. I don’t know how many times we got contacted by the National Assembly and government institutions over views he published. Given the stringent risk management policies at FAS (not the real name of the firm), you would appreciate why this is very tough to accomplish.

He is not perfect or infallible. As a business leader, he has had to make decisions on hiring and firing people. Many of which are bound to be unpopular. Overall though, I strongly believe that he is an exemplary leader worthy of emulation. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with you.

Happy birthday once again.

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Babatunde Akin-Moses

I am currently CEO and co-founder of Sycamore, a peer to peer lending platform that connects lenders to borrowers using technology. I love to write about business, economy, policy, startups, inspiration and entertainment. I am also deeply passionate about making Nigeria and Africa as a whole, a much better place to thrive and prosper for all.

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