Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills
- 1 Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills
- 2 Other interview questions that are similar
- 3 What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
- 4 How best to structure your answer to this question
- 5 What you should NOT do when answering questions
- 6 Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills – Example answers
- 7 Other Interview Question and Answers
Other interview questions that are similar
- Describe an instance where you led a team to achieve a specific goal.
- Can you provide an example of a situation where you took the lead in resolving a conflict?
- Share a scenario where your leadership positively impacted a project’s outcome.
- Discuss a time when you had to guide a team through a challenging situation.
- Give an example of how you motivated others in a group setting.
- Recall a moment where you had to make a tough decision as a leader.
- Describe a situation where you had to adapt your leadership style to better suit the team’s needs.
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
There are probably an infinite number of questions that the interviewer could ask you on the day. Some questions are incredibly common appearing in almost every interview you will have, while other questions you might hear once and never again regardless of how many jobs you apply for.
Fundamentally though all interview questions are really trying to find out one of 3 things:
1 – Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills/experience needed?)
2 – Will you do the job? (Do you have the drive/motivation to get the job done?)
3 – Will you fit in? (Does your personality match the workplace culture? Are you likeable?)
That’s it. Those are the 3 things that the interviewer is trying to ascertain. Every question that is asked of you will fundamentally be trying to resolve one (or more) of these 3 things.
The question “Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills” is a strategic inquiry by the interviewer. It’s designed to gauge primarily your ability to do the job, particularly in contexts requiring teamwork and initiative. Your response will reveal not just your experience in leadership roles, but also your understanding of what effective leadership entails. This reflects on your skills and experience, addressing the first fundamental aspect of what interviewers are seeking.
Your answer to this question can also subtly indicate your motivation and drive, relevant to the second key point. How you approached the leadership challenge and your enthusiasm in narrating your experience can demonstrate your commitment and passion for work. Lastly, the way you describe your interaction with team members and how you managed group dynamics can offer insights into your compatibility with the company’s culture, touching upon the third aspect. Thus, a well-crafted response can effectively showcase how you align with all three core areas of an interviewer’s assessment.
How best to structure your answer to this question
Unless the question you are asked is a straight ‘up or down / yes or no’ style question then you are going to need to learn to describe, expand and elaborate on your answers. The best way of doing this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? In the context of demonstrating leadership skills during an interview, discussing your beliefs allows you to convey your leadership philosophy and how it influences your actions and decisions in a leadership role.
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. Relating this to the leadership question, briefly setting the scene of a past leadership experience provides context for your actions, illustrating how you navigate real-world situations.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? In answering the interview question about leadership, emphasize your specific role and responsibilities, showcasing your ability to take charge and lead effectively in a given situation.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? This is crucial for the leadership question as it allows you to detail the leadership actions you took, demonstrating your problem-solving and team management skills.
R – Result – How did everything end up? In the context of the leadership question, quantifying the outcomes of your actions with tangible results illustrates the effectiveness of your leadership and the impact you can have in a similar role at the new company.
Remember though that the B-STAR technique is descriptive not prescriptive. You do not need to follow this flow strictly, go with what is best for your answers and that will allow you to put your point across and show your experience the best.
What you should NOT do when answering questions
Do not avoid the question by talking about unrelated experiences.
Do not describe a failure without highlighting learning or growth from it.
Do not downplay your role or the importance of the leadership situation.
Do not overstate or exaggerate the scale or impact of your leadership actions.
Do not say you have no leadership experience; instead, find relevant examples, even from non-traditional settings.
Do not focus solely on the actions of others, neglecting to emphasize your own contributions.
Do not give vague or overly brief responses; provide specific details and outcomes.
Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills – Example answers
Example Answer 1 (Detailed)
“I strongly believe that effective leadership is about empowering others and fostering a collaborative environment. In my previous role as a project manager, our team was faced with a challenging deadline for a key software development project. The situation was tense as we were behind schedule, and the team’s morale was low.
As the lead on this project, my task was to not only get the project back on track but also to ensure my team was motivated and engaged. Recognizing the pressure we were under, I organized a series of brainstorming sessions to identify bottlenecks and gather ideas for process improvements. I encouraged open communication and made sure every team member’s input was valued and considered.
The key action I took was to restructure our workflow based on these sessions, implementing agile methodologies that better suited our project’s needs. I also initiated daily stand-up meetings to improve our communication and quickly address any issues. This not only increased our efficiency but also boosted team morale, as everyone felt their contributions were making a difference.
As a result, we not only met our deadline but also delivered a product that exceeded our client’s expectations. Our team’s performance metrics improved significantly, with a 30% increase in development speed and a 25% reduction in post-launch bugs. This experience solidified my belief in the power of inclusive leadership and the importance of adapting management styles to meet team needs.”
Example Answer 2 (Shorter)
More Sample Answers…
The examples provided above can serve as a foundation for creating your unique answers. For additional inspiration, our new guide includes five sample responses to this question and over 250 answers to all of the most common interview queries.
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