For more than fifteen years, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC partner Tamera Loerzel has been guiding and supporting leaders in the accounting profession, helping them achieve success. Before ConvergenceCoaching, Tamera managed the BDO USA Minneapolis consulting group and directed the national sales and marketing efforts of the BDO package solutions group. As a result of working so closely with CPA firm leaders, Tamera has the unique perspective that only a valued consultant to the profession can bring. It is my honor to feature her in this month’s blog spotlight, not only because of her wealth of knowledge and experience but also because of her leadership qualities demonstrated to me as she has helped me grow and develop as a speaker, teacher and coach. She is a perfect example of what it means to lead with strength and compassion, and to be supportive while also challenging and empowering me and the others within our firm that she manages and mentors.
I hope you enjoy Tamera’s insights and perspective as much as I do!
ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why?
TL: Mother Teresa. My mom always admired her and had a picture of her in her entry way. Mother Teresa selflessly served and lifted others up – through her words, her actions and her gestures. She was a gentle, humble leader and I think that’s important to understand – you don’t have to be dominant or overbearing to be a powerful leader. One of my favorite Mother Teresa quotes (that I just recently painted in a painting class I took!) is, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
ConvergenceCoaching: What is it about a leader that you believe makes others genuinely want to follow them?
TL: I think the qualities of a leader that engender a following include genuine care and concern for others, vision and direction, and follow through and integrity. Leadership is about people and it starts with relationships with others. Leaders who are most inspiring – and ultimately the most powerful – are those who develop real relationships with others. They are compassionate and interested in other’s hopes and dreams, listen to their fears and challenges and lift them up and help them get better and achieve those dreams. The leader also shares their hopes and dreams and how they continue to get better. Effective leaders also have a vision and then follow through on that vision. That doesn’t mean they don’t make changes or adjust their plan, but they are willing to put a stake in the ground and say “We’re going to the moon!” or “We’ll be a top 100 firm in 5 years!” and then they figure out a plan to achieve it. They are unwavering about their commitment to their vision.
ConvergenceCoaching: What is the most challenging part of being a leader?
TL: I think one of the biggest challenges of being a leader is managing and communicating about the constant change we face in our businesses, with our team members and clients, and in our own lives.
ConvergenceCoaching: What is your advice for successfully overcoming this challenge?
TL: Knowing where you’re headed helps leaders figure out where new challenges or opportunities fit. Then they can plan to whom and when they need to communicate with about the change they’re facing. Planning and communication takes intentionality, and powerful leaders schedule time to think through and plan change management communications. When leaders take the time to communicate, others feel valued and more confident in the direction their leader is taking them, which further engenders loyalty of their followers.
ConvergenceCoaching: Do you believe that great leaders are born or made? Why?
TL: Great leaders are made. There may be certain personality characteristics or access to people and resources that certain people may be born into that they can leverage, but anyone can become a great leader. At ConvergenceCoaching, we have a saying that anyone can “be a leader is regardless of your role or position.” Great leaders envision what’s possible, make a commitment to achieve what they see is possible, and then plan and rally a team to fulfill on that possibility. Much of what leaders overcome is their own internal barriers and they are unwilling to give up when they’re tired or it gets difficult. They also do not listen to nay-sayers. Instead, great leaders have a single-minded focus and a positive, can-do attitude (often having to be their own biggest cheerleader).
ConvergenceCoaching: Do you have a favorite movie or book that you feel exemplifies what it means to be a great leader?
TL: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I love the life leadership lessons he conveys in easily digestible nuggets. He focuses on what you can control versus external circumstances, such as choosing how you react to circumstances, choosing to be happy, staying positive and having faith. He also talks about being willing to forgive and taking the “high road.” Pausch asserts, “If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.” I agree and have been witness to that philosophy in my own life and in others!
ConvergenceCoaching: What would you like ConvergenceCoaching blog readers to know about you?
TL: I am blessed. I have the privilege of working with fabulous leaders every day – on my team, with my clients and in our profession. And, I have the most wonderful family who support and encourage me to follow my dreams while participating in their life journey as they pursue their dreams.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch has many profound lessons and I am grateful that Tamera has recognized this book. It is different from the typical style of leadership resources that are often cited. What are some of your favorite books and resources on leadership? Please share your recommendations with us, as we are always looking to expand our list of references and horizons.