When Dr. Adedayo Akande was only 24 years old, he became the president of Antigua’s University of Health Sciences. He had no prior medical education experience, but he was adamant about preserving his father’s legacy in the area. It took him 10 years to lead the school through the Covid-19 epidemic, despite his youth and lack of expertise.

It’s the University of Antigua and Barbuda’s School of Medicine

Dr. Yele Akande, Akande’s father, moved from Nigeria to the United States to get a Ph.D. in Biology. He learned about Antigua’s desire for a medical school while attending Loyola University Chicago. With his wife’s help, they set up one of the region’s first medical schools in the Caribbean.

Akande remembers that his father “always had a goal to enhance health care, and our institution enabled him to make an influence throughout the globe,” he says. Graduates from our programme come from all around the globe.

In 2009, after a heart attack and dialysis, Akande’s father unexpectedly lost his renal function. Akande was 24 years old at the time and living in Chicago, where he worked in the corporate world.

As soon as Akande’s father died, he realised that he couldn’t let his longtime dream die with him. They had a profound effect on the lives of so many people and worked tirelessly to improve humankind.” In order to carry on my father’s heritage and this institution, I vowed to do so.”

Five characteristics of a successful educator and leader

A high-profile leadership position forced Akande to reflect on the sort of leader he wanted to become after years in information technology (IT). As a leader, he made it a point to:

Assemble a dependable group of people around him.
Be flexible, compassionate, and responsive to the needs of others.
Lead with a servant’s heart.
He had to step into a void that had been left by the previous president. Akande, on the other hand, succeeds in following in his father’s footsteps and carrying the school into the next generation with similar characteristics.

Effective leaders have a group of people around them.

Leaders that are successful understand the need of surrounding themselves with a team of individuals who can share their skills and knowledge. Knowing they’re putting themselves up for failure if they’re constantly the brightest person around, they avoid being the smartest person.

As Akande recalls, “the issues I experienced early on in this capacity were mostly due to my inexperience in the sector.” My first day on the job, I had to build a team that I could depend on. It’s hard to imagine that the school would be where it is now if those folks hadn’t been in place.”

As a leader, you need a team of people you can rely on. Having faith in my staff allows me to delegate, adds Akande. To micromanage a team defeats the purpose of assembling one in the first place.

Leaders who are effective at responding to change

A leader’s ability to adapt to change is critical to Akande’s view of leadership. Change is unavoidable, and refusing to adapt will nearly always lead to failure, according to him. The online medical school that my father envisioned existed years before the technology was generally accessible; he even developed the curriculum for it.

Having a background in IT, Akande was able to elaborate on his father’s original idea. ‘When the pandemic suddenly pushed medical schools to educate online, it was something we were able to accomplish,'” he adds. In our history, this was arguably the most significant modification we’ve had to make. Students and faculty needed to adapt, but we were ready to do so. “

Leaders that are compassionate are more likely to succeed.

According to Akande, the most successful leaders are those who exhibit compassion. Before making any decisions, he puts himself in the shoes of those who may be impacted by them.

As a leader in education, Akande believes that compassion is essential. He continues, “I see kids from all walks of life.” This might include everything from suicide ideas to childhood trauma. In my role as a leader, I am dedicated to providing support and guidance to the kids that come to me.

Active listening is a quality of effective leadership.

According to Akande, good leaders engage in regular sessions of active listening. Everyone on his team is listened to before he makes a decision.

According to Akande, “Leaders need to conduct their due diligence.” “It’s imperative that you fully comprehend what’s going on. The consequences of making a judgement before all the facts are known are significant. Despite the craziness of the workday, I always make time to get down with my employees and listen to them.”

Servant leadership is a hallmark of effective leaders.

In Akande’s view, he is a servant leader who serves others. He has a tendency to put the needs of others ahead of his own while making decisions.

In all we do at the University of Health Sciences Antigua, Akande emphasises the importance of the students first. “Without them, there’s no point for me to be here. Serving as a servant leader isn’t an easy path to take! I’ve found that servant leadership is more successful in the long run than a more authoritarian approach at times.”

Physicians, as Akande points out, should all serve as servant leaders. According to him, “physicians must have the skill of listening and showing compassion.” They must be able to work successfully as part of a team and be able to respond quickly to change.” “Servant leadership” encompasses all of these characteristics.

Second President Akande provides an example and expectation for his students to follow in servant leadership as he serves the University of Health Sciences, Antigua. Today, after more than a decade of experience, he is secure in his job yet mindful to use the traits of successful leadership that allowed him to carry on his family’s tradition.

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