There are men and there are real men. There are achievers and there are super achievers. There are successful people and there are fulfilled people. However, it is rare in our society to have an individual who is a super-achiever, authentic, successful and fulfilled at the same time. Pharm. Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai is a good example of one of these rare people in our world. His character and characteristics is what I called the zenith of the finished character.
Sincerely, our nation needs more of Alhaji Ahmed Yakasai. In the past two years I have had the honour to work with him and learnt from him as a mentor, boss, adviser, president, professional colleague and father. While there are many practical lessons I have learnt that perhaps I can write a book on as an author, permit me to share three main principles from his life that can make us become better regardless of our age or stage in the cycle of life.
I have learnt that leadership is making things better and making people better. From Pharm. Yakasai’s actions more than his words, I’ve learnt that leadership has less to do with the position we occupy but more to do with the useful service we render to our people. I’ve also learnt that leadership is more of responsibility and accountability and less of authority and controlling.
Chief Ahmed Yakasai has clearly revealed to me and many others who are studying him from afar that a true leader knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. A great leader leads by example. He has demonstrated without any iota of doubt that caring and respecting people is far more important that accumulating things.
Reflecting on the journey so far in the last two years and the incredible achievements the Yakasai-led administration has recorded for the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria has clearly revealed to me the power of vision, faith, decision, commitment, determination, sacrifice, perseverance and good work ethics in turning the invisible to reality. Indeed, there is a lot I have learnt on leadership from this icon and there will always be a lot to learn from his exemplary leadership style.
Being a management consultant and someone who is obsessed with helping people to become better and organisations to move to their next level, I have been blessed to have a firsthand experience on the real meaning of management by learning from my principal, Pharm. Yakasai. His management style is finding the best people for a job, creating the enabling environment for them to achieve the results intended, giving them the total support to achieve the set goals, building their confidence to get things done and working side by side with them to keep moving forward.
More often than not, most management literatures and top managers believe that controlling people is the practical way to get the best out of them, but I have learnt firsthand that the most effective managers are those who give people the opportunity to express their creativity and guide them, not spoon-feed them. I strongly believe that managers of men and resources can learn this result-oriented management style from this amazing leader of leaders.
I think the most important lesson I have learnt so far from His Excellency, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, the honorary consul-general of Pakistan in Nigeria, is to set high principles and values in life; to demand integrity, discipline and honesty from myself AT ALL TIMES.
Mr Yakasai is a man of outstanding character. His word is his bond. He respects everyone, regardless of their status in society. In fact, Pharm. Yakasai treats his drivers better than how some successful people treat their partners.
I have learnt from him the fact that we can in life be both mindful and playful, caring and disciplined, spiritual and lively, go-getting and go-giving, self-reliant and team-building. Ahmed Yakasai is an ambassador of peace. His way of life is to live in peace and spread peace with all men.
As a thinker and philosopher, I’ve mastered the driving force of human behaviour and I can say boldly that what drives Pharm. Yakasai is contribution to the society and we all can learn from that kind of mindset. In our society, where we place so much importance on getting, maybe we can all learn from him to give more of ourselves in service to humanity in order to experience more joy out of life.
On 1 December, 2017, Alhaji Ahmed Yakasai celebrated his 57th Birthday. My prayer is, may the next 57 years of his life be filled with more happiness, grace, good health, fulfillment, achievements, laughter and impact than the last 57 years. May his children, grandchildren and wife continue to be sources of joy to him. May the good Lord continue to guide and guard him right.
Ahmed Yakasai is an exceptional leader. Period!
ACTION PLAN: Modelling is a short cut to success. Find top three people in your profession to learn from and model on.
AFFIRMATION: I am a leader of men. I learn from the best to become the best. Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.