The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Yusuf Olokoba '20 on Management and Leadership

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Yusuf Olokoba ’20, a Computer Science major from Lagos, Nigeria, engages with his peers in the Management and Leadership Development Program. 

The Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) is a one-term program that prepares students to succeed in all of their management and leadership endeavors. Yusuf Olokoba ’20, a participant in Winter 2018’s MLDP, looks back on his experience. 

Yusuf Olokoba ’20, is a Computer Science major from Lagos, Nigeria, who signed up for MLDP after being recommended by a friend. One of the things he wanted to learn from the program were the skills needed to meet new people. He believed that too much of his time at Dartmouth was spent delving deeply into computer science, and not enough time was spent getting to know others.

Yusuf crafted an ambitious personal leadership challenge, setting out to meet ten new people every week for six weeks. He fell short of his quota, meeting only about fifty people in total.

While not completing his goal, Yusuf realized that his challenge presented him with an important lesson — that good leadership is reinforced by communication with the people being led. This lesson was also the highlight of his favorite session, “Being an Effective Team Player”, with Stephen Spaulding, because it showed him how each member of a given team brings something unique to the group. He believes an effective leader therefore needs to be able to recognize individual talents so that the leader can bring the team closer to reaching goals.

Yusuf also realized that recognizing each teammate’s strengths should be balanced against learning their weaknesses. Only then, he says, can a leader guide them to overcoming those challenges. “To be a good leader, you have to give the people around you the tools to succeed. That is the absolute biggest responsibility you have as a leader.”

Earlier this past winter, Yusuf founded the Dartmouth Emerging Markets Club, a student-run organization that seeks to train members how to analyze issues unique to emerging markets. As a leader in this club, Yusuf plans use the communication skills he learned in MLDP to push his team forward.

For Yusuf, good leadership is not indicated by a mere position or title — be it the president of a club, or the captain of a sports team. While a team president or captain may be able to give instructions, Yusuf learned that leaders must interact with each member of the team personally and maintain that line of communication: “Not only do they improve, but you improve because you get to learn about them and the task you are delegating to them, and you just build a better relationship.”

-Written by Tyler Malbreaux '20, Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant for MLDP

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