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Fatima Akilu: The rise of a quiet leader (A)

By Randall Peterson


In 2015, Fatima Akilu found herself sitting at the kitchen table with her sister, shocked and saddened by what has just happened to her, wondering what to do next. Should she fight to defend her reputation? Or return to a quiet life away from the big government role she has just been fired from?
Fatima Akilu never intended to be a leader. But in 2012, she was appointed Director for Behavioural Analysis and Strategy at Nigeria’s Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), charged with leading the country’s efforts to combat the effects of the violent extremism of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.

Learning objectives

  1. Be an authentic leader by leveraging your personality and being creative in finding ways to become a leader based on your individual strengths, rather than trying to become what others think leaders should be (i.e., best-self, positive psychology).
  2. Use the power of listening and observing (i.e., being introverted) to become an effective and charismatic leader.
  3. Live your values in becoming a leader (i.e., doing what you believe in).
  4. Harness the power of using failure as a springboard to success.


Publication Date: August 2021
LBS Case Code: CS-21-009
Subjects: ,
Industry: ,
Pages: 7
Format: pdf