Question forms part of
Other interview questions that are similar
- Can you give an example of a time when you took charge and led a group to achieve a specific goal?
- Describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision and lead others through the process.
- Have you ever been in a position where you had to motivate and inspire others to achieve a common objective? If so, please explain.
- Share a story about a time when you had to take on a leadership role unexpectedly.
- Give an example of a situation where you had to collaborate with others and use your leadership skills to reach a successful outcome.
- Describe a time when you had to manage a conflict within a team and how you used your leadership skills to resolve it.
- Can you share a story about a time when you had to communicate a vision to a team and motivate them to work towards it?
- Give an example of a situation where you had to mentor or coach someone and help them develop their skills.
- Tell me about a time when you had to handle a crisis and how you used your leadership skills to manage the situation.
- Have you ever implemented a change in a team or organization? How did you use your leadership skills to successfully implement the change?
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.
One of the most common interview questions, “Tell me about a time you showed leadership,” relates to all three points that the interviewer is trying to ascertain.
Firstly, this question helps the interviewer determine whether you have the skills and experience needed to do the job. Leadership skills are often a key requirement for many roles, and a good answer to this question will showcase your ability to lead, manage, and motivate others towards achieving a common goal.
Secondly, this question helps the interviewer assess your drive and motivation to get the job done. Good leaders are often driven and motivated individuals who are passionate about their work and committed to achieving their goals. By describing a specific instance where you demonstrated leadership, you can show the interviewer that you have the drive and motivation to take on challenges and succeed in your role.
Finally, this question also helps the interviewer determine whether you will fit in with the workplace culture. Leadership can take many different forms, and the way you describe your leadership style can give the interviewer insight into your personality and work style. For example, if you describe a collaborative leadership style where you work closely with others to achieve goals, this could demonstrate that you are a team player who is adaptable and easy to work with.
How Best To Answer ‘Tell me about a time you showed leadership’
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:
Using the B-STAR technique, you can structure your answer to showcase your leadership skills and experience:
B – Belief – Start by sharing your belief in the importance of strong leadership in the workplace, and why you feel it’s crucial to be an effective leader.
S – Situation – Briefly describe the situation that called for your leadership skills. This could be a project or a team that you led, or a situation where you stepped up to take on a leadership role.
T – Task – Describe your role in the situation. What were the specific tasks you were responsible for? What were the goals or objectives that you were trying to achieve?
A – Activity (or action) – Detail the specific steps you took as a leader to achieve your goals. This is the bulk of your answer, so be sure to provide detailed examples of your leadership skills, such as how you motivated and inspired your team, how you delegated tasks effectively, and how you managed any challenges or conflicts that arose.
R – Result – Finally, describe the outcomes and results of your leadership. What were the tangible results of your actions? This could include increased productivity, improved team morale, or achieving specific goals or targets.
By using the B-STAR technique, you can provide a detailed and structured answer to the question of “Tell me about a time you showed leadership,” showcasing your skills, experience, and results as a leader. Remember, the B-STAR technique is flexible, so feel free to adapt it to suit the specific question and situation. The key is to provide a clear and concise answer that demonstrates your leadership abilities to the interviewer.
What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action
Tell me about a time you showed leadership – Example answers
Project Manager Example
B – Belief: “I firmly believe that a strong leader can inspire and motivate their team to achieve great things, even in the face of difficult challenges.”
S – Situation: “In my previous role, I was leading a cross-functional team on a complex project with tight deadlines and high stakes. The project involved coordinating the efforts of multiple departments and required close collaboration and clear communication to ensure success.”
T – Task: “As the leader of the team, my task was to set a clear vision for the project and assign roles and responsibilities to team members. I established clear lines of communication to ensure everyone was on the same page and provided regular updates on progress.”
A – Activity: “I took a hands-on approach to leadership, providing mentorship and guidance to team members and fostering a positive and collaborative team environment. I encouraged open communication and a willingness to take calculated risks, and I took the initiative to address any issues that arose in a timely manner.”
R – Result: “Thanks to my leadership, the project was completed on time and within budget, and was well-received by both internal stakeholders and the client. The project was a great success, and I believe this was due in large part to the way I was able to lead and motivate the team.”
Overall, “this experience taught me the importance of setting a clear vision, establishing clear lines of communication, and taking a hands-on approach to leadership. I’m confident that my leadership skills will serve me well in future roles, and I’m excited to continue developing my abilities as a leader.”
Payroll Assistant Example
B – Belief: “I believe that a good leader is someone who takes initiative, inspires others, and provides support when needed.”
S – Situation: “In my previous role as a payroll assistant, our team was faced with a new payroll system rollout. The new system was complex and required extensive training for all team members.”
T – Task: “As a payroll assistant, my task was to ensure that all team members were trained on the new system and that we were able to effectively transition to it without any major hiccups.”
A – Activity: “I took the initiative to provide additional training and support to team members who were struggling with the new system. I organized additional training sessions during lunch breaks and after work hours to ensure everyone had the opportunity to learn the new system. I also created detailed process manuals and cheat sheets that could be used as a reference. Additionally, I held one-on-one meetings with team members to answer any questions they had and provide support and guidance where needed.”
R – Result: “Thanks to my leadership, the team was able to effectively transition to the new payroll system without any major hiccups. The team was able to meet their deadlines and deliver accurate payroll processing without any errors. I received positive feedback from my team members and managers for my leadership and support during the transition.”
Overall, “this experience taught me the importance of being adaptable and proactive in the face of change. It also demonstrated my ability to lead by example, take initiative, inspire others, and provide support when needed. I believe these are all important qualities for a leader, and I’m excited to continue developing my leadership skills in future roles.”
Other Interview Question and Answers
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94 Project Manager Interview Questions (And Example Answers)
Interview Question: tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss – Answer Examples
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