Tammy Bryant is a young up-and-coming leader we’ve chosen to spotlight because of the leadership role we’ve observed her playing in her firm in the area of learning and development. A little over a decade out of school, Tammy is an owner and leader at Varney & Associates, CPAs, LLC. She joined the firm in 2000 as a student worker while attending Kansas State University. She graduated from K- State with her Bachelors in Business Administration and Masters of Accountancy, and is a Certified Public Accountant. Tammy performs business reviews, compilations and tax work for both business and individuals and she has extensive experience in the agriculture and construction industries. She continues to expand her client base by consulting with new business owners in their start-up phase. She is also a Certified QuickBooks Professional Advisor and provides consulting services to clients with setup and ongoing support.

ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why?
TB: I really don’t have just one leadership style that I admire most. I find it to be more effective to pull bits and pieces from many different styles and incorporate them together as needed based on the situation and the person(s) involved.

ConvergenceCoaching: Do you believe that great leaders are born or made and why?
TB: I believe that great leaders are born just like everyone else and have been blessed with good and bad traits. What makes someone a great leader is what that person does with those traits and the experiences of life and how they pursue being a great leader.

ConvergenceCoaching: What do you think the single most important leadership attribute or characteristic is and why?
TB: Authenticity. A leader must be committed to walk the talk with integrity and authenticity. Anyone can give a great speech and be inspiring, but what really sets them apart is when they live what they breathe and their actions follow their stated commitments.

ConvergenceCoaching: What do you look for in young up-and-coming leaders?
TB: Confidence and ambition. I want the person to show they have an opinion and stick behind it. Both of these traits prove that the person is willing to stand up for something and keep the organization moving forward whether the stance they are taking is popular or not.

ConvergenceCoaching: How do you develop leadership in others?
TB: I try to lead by example so that my teammates can see me doing the things I ask them to do. I also find opportunities for others on my team to take ownership, delegating responsibility and giving away work I might want to do, but that I know others would benefit from doing instead. I also think coaching plays a very important part in the development process and I work to meet with others to answer their questions or explain things along the way.

ConvergenceCoaching: What advice would you give other firm owners in terms of investing in “formal” learning and development?
TB: I feel that formal learning and development is essential to keep a firm moving forward in this ever- changing world. I have found that technical skills are easier to teach, but the soft skills can be a struggle at all levels. Investing in a formal program to enhance or even coach new soft skills is invaluable. It is imperative that all levels of the organization are involved to show the commitment as a firm and that no one person is perfect. Everyone can get better!

ConvergenceCoaching: What advice do you have for those looking to step into a leadership position in their firms or businesses?
TB: Don’t wait to be asked to take on a leadership position. Be bold and speak your view of the truth, letting your own personality shine through and sharing your insights and opinions so others can truly know what you stand for. Seek out a need your clients or firm has and start filling that need in your own way.

ConvergenceCoaching: What three words best describe your leadership style?

  • Challenging – I expect a lot out of people and for them to think on their own.
  • Adaptive – I’m able to assess the situation and adapt my leadership style to what is appropriate for the circumstance.
  • Authentic – I am true to myself and my beliefs. I don’t have a business leadership style and a different personal leadership style. I am who I am all day, every day.

Tammy’s approach is straightforward and refreshing. I am personally inspired by her commitment to being herself. In doing so, she is giving her team consistency and making it easy for them to know what they can expect from her. This is an extremely desirable characteristic in any leader. What about Tammy’s interview inspires you? Is there something that you can do to increase your perceived level of authenticity? Please share by commenting below. We would love to hear your thoughts!

Best Regards,

Michelle Baca