Why Employers Ask About Leadership Experience
An interviewer may inquire about your leadership experience to determine how well you can manage or direct a team of employees. Many employers believe that team members with strong leadership skills are more likely to remain loyal and stay in their jobs for longer periods of time. Good leaders may also be promoted in the future to higher-level positions.
When an employer asks about leadership, its important to show that you have the skills to help the company achieve its goals. As you think about experiences to include in your answer, consider several aspects of leadership. You may have led projects in your previous roles or managed an important project during your college years. These experiences are helpful to discuss, although the interviewer will likely also want to know how well youve been able to lead other people.
Leading people often involves making decisions and judgments about certain situations, which are important skills that interviewers look for in candidates. An effective leader must be able to act decisively, even without all the necessary information, so think about an experience in your life that demonstrates your confidence under pressure and decision-making ability. Remember that the process of making decisions often involves evaluating risks and planning for potential events that might threaten a successful outcome.
Describe Your Management Style
This is analternative way to ask the question stated previously, what is your leadershipand communication style. Dependingon the job posting, the interviewer could be looking for a particular kind ofmanager. In traditional, hierarchal companies, a strong no-nonsense managerwould work far more efficiently than any other kind of passive, guidance-basedmanagers.
Tip #1: Review the job description and figure out the kindof management style will work for the company the best, and assess if you havewhat it takes.
Tip #2: You want to highlight your ability to lead andmotivate people, provide measurable and timely goals, organize resources andassign and delegate control, reward and recognize everyones contributions, anddiscipline unsatisfactory employees.
I adjust my management styleaccording to the people I am managing. Im not a psychologist or counselor, but I understand that different tactics work for differentpeople and Im willing to adjust to them.
At my previous job, after I had given a presentation on a solution forproject issue, the manager put me in charge of handling a team to get the jobdone. There were six people in that team, and we had to develop and implement atraining method.
Example Leadership Interview Questions To Ask Candidates
- Tell me about a time you struggled with work-life balance. Did you manage to solve the problem? How did you do it?
- Tell me about a time you took the lead in a team project. What was the outcome of the project?
- Tell me about a time your idea improved the company in some way. How did you make sure it was implemented?
- Two employees left from your team just before the deadline on a big project. How would you change your leadership style to meet the deadline?
- How do you monitor the performance of individual team members?
- In what specific ways do you motivate your team?
- How do you make decisions about the compensation of team members?
- How would you describe your leadership style?
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Interview Questions Answered: How Would You Describe Your Leadership Style
Great leader can make all the difference in any team at the workplace, or outside of it. Once you interview for a job in which you will lead someonebe it only one person, or a department of dozens of employees, or anything in between and beyond, you can expect to get at least a couple of questions about leadership.
They can inquire directly what leadership means to you, whether you consider yourself a leader or a follower, or they can ask you to share with them an example of a successful leadership from your last job. We analyze all these questions on different pages of InterviewPenguin.com, and no we will look at another onethe question about your leadership style.
Before I proceed to 7 sample answers to the question, I want to make sure you understand two things. First: job interview is not a school exam at the college of management. Second: people sitting in the interviewing panel are not teachers. And though we have many categorizations of leadership styles and you can relate to one of them in your answer, the most important thing is to describe, in a language they will understand, how you lead the people who work under you, and the great results you yield with your leadership. Or how you plan to do it, if this happens to be your first job application for any leadership role. You do not need any special terminology for this purpose
Common Interview Questions On Leadership
While every interview will be different depending on your job title and industry, here are some leadership questions you should expect to address during your next interview:
The most effective answers to these questions incorporate grounded examples of your leadership potential and skills that qualify you for the position. Use the STAR answering technique to describe a situation where you exhibited quality leadership and identify the task you needed to complete. Outline the action you took to achieve results. This strategy can help you clearly show the interviewer how you put leadership into action.
Lets take a look at each of the above questions in more detail with examples of how you might answer them.
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If You Are Facing Trouble While Coming Up With The Leadership Style Here Are Some Tricks You Need To Know
Meet your family, friends, neighbors, people with you in your projects, people from your sports team. Ask them to describe you when you worked with them because they are the only ones who can describe authentically. Just notice when they speak about you and grab what multiple people said about you, which is common. From here you can take points to describe you. Always try to be unique, dont give meaningless, For example, answers. For example, I am a hard worker, punctual, and focused on my work.
This all is so common because everyone is a hard worker, and nothing comes out from these answers, but here you have to prove your relevant skills and qualities. The interviewer wants some real facts, details, results, and specific facts about you. You have to show that you have already developed your style, which is worth your work. Whatever you developed, they want to see that you are describing it clearly or not. Make yourself-practice well and then go for an interview.
Example Answer : Authoritarian
“I find that I thrive under clear objectives and a more authoritative leader. It reduces confusion about my job duties and allows me to push myself to fulfill the role I’m given. In my previous job, I had a laissez-faire manager, and although I did enjoy the independence, I found that it was difficult to gauge their expectations and keep team members on task.”
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Why Do Employers Ask About Your Management Style Preferences
Employers ask about your management style preferences to determine whether your leadership needs to match current company managers and other leadership personnel. This allows them to place new employees under supervisors or managers who can communicate well together and promote productive operations.
Think About The Job Working Environment And A Fitting Leadership Style Before Your Interview
Different working environments require different leadership styles. You will hardly succeed letting ten construction workers do whatever they want, letting them a complete freedom in the workplace. If you did so, you may as well return to the construction site after six hours and find people talking together and smoking cigarettes, having made no progress whatsoever.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, leading a team of creative engineers with an iron fist would not only hinder the progress of the team. Such people would simply leave the company, because freedom to decide and to think creatively and implement their own ideas is the reason why such people love engineering.
* Special Tip:This isnt the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent leadership role. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace and with the people you manage. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 50 tricky scenario based questions will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also sample answers to other tricky interview questions about your leadership:
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Describe Your Weaknesses As A Leader
As well as what makes you great, you should be prepared to talk about any weaknesses you may have.
Self-awareness is an important trait for any leader, so admitting weakness will not make you unsuitable. However, you should always state how you try to overcome your weaknesses and are a good leader in spite of them.
Perhaps you fell behind on a project because you were reluctant to delegate work. You adjusted your approach and trusted your team to work independently. As a result, your team worked more efficiently and the project was completed on time.
Example Answer : Servant Leadership
Servant leadership managers or coaching managers are responsible for acting as a job coach or mentor to their employers rather than a disciplinarian. They aim to help their employees develop their skills and capabilities by providing a supportive work environment.
“I prefer a manager who uses a servant leadership style to lead employees. Not only did they teach me how to maximize my productivity, but they also gave my coworkers and me valuable insights into our industry and how it worked. Their positive encouragement also helped me perform to the best of my ability and it really inspired the rest of the office to be supportive and kind to one another.”
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Example Answers To Whats Your Management Style
Once youve defined what makes a good manager, tell a story that shows your methods and experience. Remember not to just talk about yourself, but talk about how you get people to work their hardest.
In my experience as a manager, I try to avoid micromanaging and let my employees work independently. At the same time, my employees always know that they can come to me if they need help on a project or are having any difficulties. I like for everyone to feel involved, so when its time to make a business decision, everyone has a chance to provide input.
I can recall a time when my team was brainstorming ideas for a possible fundraising campaign. Everyone was involved in suggesting ideas, and we made a decision in the end by taking a vote from everyone in the office.
Why its a good answer: In their answer, this person has shown the interviewer that they use democratic and coaching methods in their management style.
They have shown that theyre approachable and ready to help and listen to their employees. Theyve also told a story that shows them putting these styles to use.
Frequently Asked Interview Questions About Leadership
Every leadership question is different depending on the position. The questions an interviewer asks a candidate seeking a supervisor position differ from the questions that the same interviewer asks a candidate for an executive position.
No matter the leadership position you’re pursuing, there are some questions you should expect to answer in an interview. Highlight your leadership experience while answering such questions.
You can use the popular STAR model to explain situations when you’ve exhibited leadership skills. Give specific examples of the situation, the task at hand, the actions you took, and the positive result. Using this strategy shows the interviewer that you can apply your leadership experience to the new role.
Here are some examples of how to answer these nine common interview questions:
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According To You What Are The Top Three Leadership Qualities One Must Possess
One of the most crucial team leader interview questions, this helps interviewers understand whats important for you. Consider these examples if youre confused about prioritizing.
For instance, For me, the three most important leadership skills include problem-solving abilities, strong decision-making capacity and being accountable for your tasks and team. Without these, someone can struggle to efficiently collaborate and cooperate.
Determine Qualities That Make You A Good Manager
Once you’ve assessed the qualities your managers had, you can think about the skills you currently have that make you a good manager. If you’ve worked in previous leadership positions and gained skills or knowledge that may help your employees succeed, you can use those to describe what makes you a good manager. List these qualities in your head before or during the interview and try to mention them when answering this question.
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Which Supporting Skills Do You Think Are Most Important When It Comes To Leadership
As mentioned above, being a great leader doesnt just involve one skill. Several have to come together. Otherwise, guiding a team effectively is essentially impossible.
Ideally, you want to tap on at least a few of the critical supporting capabilities. However, when you answer this question, dont merely rattle off a list. Thats the dullest approach you could use and, while it does answer the question, it isnt an impressive answer.
Instead, you want to use this as an opportunity to do one thing: share another example. Remember, when you show the hiring manager instead of just telling them, your reply will have a stronger impact.
First, I think that communication skills are crucial. I regularly use active listening when communicating with others, ensuring I fully understand their perspective. Additionally, since Ive regularly worked with stakeholders who dont have the same level of specialty expertise, Ive found that the ability to take complex ideas and simplify them is paramount for success. However, communication alone isnt enough. Accountability is also vital, as it allows me to lead by example. Similarly, critical thinking is a core component for strategic planning, and served me well when I lead a project with my past employer, which was completed on time and ultimately exceeded expectations.
How Do You Make Tough Decisions As A Leader
Leaders have to make difficult decisions on behalf of their companies and staff. Outstanding leaders are effective decision-makers and evaluate the impact of their decisions before making them. Your answer to this leadership interview question needs to showcase your critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Provide an example of a situation where you had to make a difficult leadership decision.
Example: I once had to decide whether to outsource work to an established graphic designer, or give it to one of our in-house marketing team members. Our employee was eager to use her graphic design training, but she had only learned through an online short course. The project was on a tight budget and deadline, so getting it right the first time was key.
I weighed the risks and benefits and decided to give her the work. I like to encourage my team members and provide them with career development opportunities, and it was better for our budget. With my support, she completed the work on time and to a high standard. She was thrilled, and we completed the project under budget with the money we saved by not outsourcing.”
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Example Answer : Democratic
Democratic managers, also called participative or consultive managers demonstrate that all employees, regardless of their seniority, have the ability to offer ideas about company operations. They gather ideas from employees and value their opinions when making the final decisions.
“I usually prefer leaders who have a democratic management style because it demonstrates their respect for all employees and their ideas regardless of whether they work in an entry-level position or senior-level position. Similarly, I also work well under managers who have a coaching management style. At my previous workplace, I was constantly encouraged and challenged to enhance my skills and I always felt comfortable asking my manager questions, which ultimately helped me reach new career goals.”
What Makes You An Effective Team Leader
Leaders need to communicate team goals effectively so that they can be on par with their teams. This is vital for ensuring timely completion of projects. This leadership interview question allows you to explain to the interviewer what makes you an effective team leader.
Example: “I’m an effective team leader because I always maintain open communication channels with my team. Making my employees feel empowered to ask questions and come to me with concerns improves their confidence and performance. At the beginning of a project, Ialways start by communicating my expectations to the team. I highlight everything and hold a question period to ensure everyone understands the scope. I also encourage collaboration among my team members, which is another reason I’m a strong leader.
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Tell Me About A Time You Demonstrated Leadership
You dont need to have been in a specific leadership position to answer this question. For example, you could relate your situation to a volunteering position, or a group project for one of your college classes.
Emphasize through your task and action how you took on a leadership role or demonstrated leadership qualities.
I took the initiative to organize a black-tie gala at my college and successfully secured a venue and band for a reduced fee. I also oversaw a team of six other students who secured raffle prizes from local businesses. The event was a success, and we raised over $2,000 for our charity.