Name: Ayodeji Stephen Adekanbi
Organisation: Energy Gist
Ayodeji is a dynamic force in clean energy, boasting over several years as a policy advisor and project manager in sustainable energy across Africa and globally. Armed with a Bachelor's in Physics from the University of Ilorin, he became an Agora Energiewende fellow, exploring climate change and clean energy policymaking in Germany. With a Master's in Renewable
Energy Economics from the University of Ibadan, Ayodeji served as a policy fellow at Agora Energiewende and a clean energy
researcher at Dublin City University. He leads groundbreaking initiatives at Nextier Power and actively finances renewable energy
projects in Africa. Ayodeji's expertise extends to the UNEP GEO-7 Project, and he advocates for youth development, climate change education, and environmental sustainability.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Ayodeji's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a leader, the most challenging thing I have faced is leading people when there is a lack of belief in the goals. It requires not only unwavering determination but also the capability to effectively communicate my vision and passion unto others. Witnessing their alignment with my perspective and witnessing their ability to replicate that same fervour has been an ongoing challenge that I consistently strive to overcome.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Growing up, I realized that I had a natural flair for communication and an innate tendency to motivate and inspire those around me. This realization became more evident as I progressed through various phases of my life, from my formative years in secondary school, to my university days, and even within the confines of my church community.
Throughout this journey, I focused on honing my ability to lead by initially leading myself, ensuring that I exhibited the qualities and values that I wished to see mirrored in those who would eventually follow my lead.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My workdays begin with my devotion and immediately diving into work and my tasks for the day. Typically, my day runs from 5 am until midnight. I prioritize my tasks using a to-do list and strive to follow it. Sometimes the demands of multitasking can encroach on my day, so I ensure unfinished tasks are completed later in the day. In the evening, I unwind, spend time with loved ones, pray, and then head to bed.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A recent leadership lesson that resonates with me is the understanding that people are always more important than money. I have come to embrace the inherent truth that nurturing meaningful connections and fostering relationships should always supersede materialistic acquisitions. This realization reinforces the value of nurturing relationships in leadership and it has also taught me how to make relationships with people last long.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organisation” by John C. Maxwell is a book that has had a profound impact on my leadership. Leadership knows no boundaries. It is not solely confined to a particular position or title, but rather, it emerges from within the fabric of an individual's ability to inspire and guide others. The book taught me that leadership can emerge from any position.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
If I could give one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to remain resilient and never give up. There are better days ahead, and perseverance is key to overcoming challenges.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
A meaningful story from my leadership experience occurred during my time leading a fellowship of young Christians in school. After serving for over three to four years, the people I led turned against me and spread slanderous rumors about me. The initial shock and heartache gave way to an essential lesson that forever forged a deep understanding within me. As leaders, we should never forget that those we guide are not immune to disappointment or fallibility. This incident taught me that leaders should never discount the possibility of disappointment or mistakes from those they lead. People are fallible, and their worth goes beyond their errors. Like I mentioned earlier, people are more important than money and people are more important than their mistakes and mistakes should not overshadow their potential.