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Leadership Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated June 11th, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Topics    
Question 1 of 30
Have you had the opportunity to teach an important skill to a co-worker?
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How to Answer
Interviewers want to hear that you have experience teaching or mentoring others, regardless of your formal leadership experience. You may have taught a new hire all of your department's standard processes. Perhaps you taught a long-standing employee how to use Excel. You may have mentored an employee who was struggling to hit their monthly goals. All of these scenarios are great examples to draw on. Better yet, if you have personally seen someone struggling with workplace skills or knowledge, approached them, and offered to mentor them, it is a shining example of leadership!

Whatever your story example may be, tell the interviewer what you helped the person with, while highlighting the positive outcome of the improvement of their skills.
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Answer Examples
1.
Have you had the opportunity to teach an important skill to a co-worker?
Interviewers want to hear that you have experience teaching or mentoring others, regardless of your formal leadership experience. You may have taught a new hire all of your department's standard processes. Perhaps you taught a long-standing employee how to use Excel. You may have mentored an employee who was struggling to hit their monthly goals. All of these scenarios are great examples to draw on. Better yet, if you have personally seen someone struggling with workplace skills or knowledge, approached them, and offered to mentor them, it is a shining example of leadership!

Whatever your story example may be, tell the interviewer what you helped the person with, while highlighting the positive outcome of the improvement of their skills.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Last week our company introduced a new module in our SAP system. I could see that our contracted HR Assistant was having some trouble with the new module. I was familiar with it already, so I offered to help him learn the module. We spent his lunch hour for the next three days working on it. He perfected the module, and our company was so impressed with his dedication to learning that they are now trying to find room to hire him on a full time, permanent basis."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Recently, I trained our new Accounts Payable Clerk on the Salesforce CRM as well as our accounting software. She caught on quickly, and I made sure to let her know that I was available for questions anytime. I enjoy sharing my knowledge when I can."
Anonymous Answer
"I served as a trainer of classroom management for new teachers. With this training, I was able to demonstrate the importance of managing a classroom."
Rachelle's Answer
This must have been good exposure to facilitating training experiences. If possible, add some more details on the opportunity, what you learned, and what the overall feedback was in regards to your training style.
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Anonymous Answer
"I recently had the opportunity to teach my co-worker how to do safety risk assessments."
Lauren's Answer
This is a great and specific answer. Great job! Be ready to answer follow-up questions based on your answer.
"Be prepared to answer questions like, “What specific way did you teach your coworker?” “How did it make you feel to be able to teach a coworker a new skill?” “What was the outcome of the scenario?”"
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2.
How do you react when your team misses a deadline?
Missed deadlines are never a good situation and can reflect poorly on you as a leader. The interviewer would like to understand better how you react to disappointment when plans do not go your way.

Rather than just telling the interviewer how you react, consider giving a story example of a time when your team missed a deadline and walk the interviewer through the action that you took.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My team is highly efficient, and we rarely miss a deadline. When we do, it's surprising. We had a very challenging client last year who made a significant amount of changes throughout the entire project. These changes caused us to miss our deadline. I took action after that to ensure a better client onboarding process. This new process made sure we dug deeper with each client at the start, which has resulted in fewer mid-project changes."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"When my team misses a deadline, it is disappointing. On the odd occasion that this has happened, I first ask my team for feedback. I want to know what I could have done better, as a leader, to make sure we hit our goal. Then, I ask them to look internally and tell me what they honestly feel they could have done differently. I prefer a collaborative approach to these types of conversations."
Anonymous Answer
"We win as a team and we fail as a team."
Rachelle's Answer
Well said! It would be even better if you talked about how you review a missed deadline or perceived failure with your team. I have added an example below.
"My leadership philosophy is that we win as a team and we fail as a team. If we miss a deadline, I will call a team huddle and discuss where we misstepped, and what could be improved, moving forward."
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Anonymous Answer
"I remember a time when my team had to deliver a project for an important customer. We missed the project due date by a week. Fortunately, I had informed my boss about this potential failure. After we had delivered the parts required, we sat down to review where things had gone wrong so that we would learn from the mistakes being made so that they would not be repeated."
Lauren's Answer
This is a great example, because this issue can occur at any workplace setting. I made some revisions to include your thought process and work ethic.
"There was a time when my team missed a delivery for an important customer by an entire week. When unsatisfactory issues occur, I consult with my boss to discuss and strategize quality improvement. This way, we can learn from the situation to avoid repeating it in the future. After meeting with my boss, it is my responsibility as the manager to disseminate that information to my team, and work out the areas that created the issue."
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3.
Tell me your favorite part of being a leader.
The interviewer wants to see that you have a genuine passion for leadership. Are you a people person who loves to motivate and encourage your team members? Maybe you enjoy helping others identify their strengths. Perhaps you thrive on assisting others to work towards accomplishing their professional goals.

Whatever you enjoy most about leadership, be sure to tell the interviewer that you plan to be a passionate leader within their organization.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I love being a leader! If I had to choose one aspect that made leadership the most rewarding, it would be the fact that I can change someone's life or career path by guiding and encouraging them. I am excited to have the opportunity to be a leader for your team."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I like to make a positive impact on the lives of others. By being a positive person, I can influence the thought patterns of my coworkers and those around me outside of the workplace."
Anonymous Answer
"Being a leader gives me the opportunity to grow someone's life or career path by mentoring them, teaching them what I know."
Rachelle's Answer
You are very right! I have reworded it a touch, to help with flow.
"I appreciate that, as a leader, I have the opportunity to help other people grow in their career by mentoring them, and teaching them what I know."
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Anonymous Answer
"My favorite part of being a leader is to be able to influence events which are beneficial to both the team and the individual."
Lauren's Answer
Great answer. I assisted with broadening your response to include vital traits a leader should evoke.
"My favorite part of being a leader is the ability to influence positive productivity within a staff group. I am constantly looking for ways to motive others, improve quality of services, and event that can be beneficial on a team level as well as individual level. The ability to look at the department on an overhead scale to influence positive change is extremely rewarding."
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4.
If you were hired for this position, what are the first changes you would implement?
Most organizations want to avoid onboarding someone who will make sweeping changes immediately. Sudden changes are hard on a team and can often result in knee-jerk reactions such as resignations.

Explain to the interviewer that you plan first to observe to gain a better understanding of the organization's culture and team dynamics. Focus your discussion on building a strong rapport with your new team.

If you are applying for a promotion within your current organization, you may already know what changes you would like to make upon receiving this position. Share with the interviewer what you have observed while in your current job, the changes you would make, and why you would make those changes.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"If offered this position, I do not believe that major immediate change would be the answer. My initial approach would be to have a 1:1 meeting with everyone on the leadership team. I want to learn what the greatest challenges are and how I can alleviate those difficulties. From there, the trickle effect will be strong, and we will see an increase in sales and employee engagement. Only after that first positive shift would I consider a stronger approach to change."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I would address any urgent and glaring issues immediately; however, I want to wait for the implementation of significant changes only after I have a thorough understanding of your organizational dynamics."
Anonymous Answer
"I wouldn't change anything right away. I would listen to the team and observe for a few weeks, then make priorities on what I would like to change based on people's feedback and my personal observations."
Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful response! This is perfect.
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Anonymous Answer
"I would not implement any changes initially. Unless there was a clear directive from my superior that changes were required immediately. I would assess the situation first to determine if changes were required."
Mary's Answer
Great response! It is important to come in with fresh perspective and objectivity when adapting to a new company/position. See edits.
"I would not initially implement changes unless there were clear directives from my superiors to do so. Instead, I would begin by assessing the current situation through observation and information gathering. From there, I would evaluate what direction or changes are needed."
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5.
What is the most important task of a leader?
As a leader, you may feel that the most critical task is to guide, coach, mentor, teach, encourage, or train. There is no real right or wrong answer to this question, but the interviewer wants to hear an insightful response.

Whatever your response, consider providing a story of a time when you stepped up as a leader or experienced true leadership from another person.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"At the beginning of my career I had a leader who spent a lot of time investing in my knowledge. He would give me books to read, podcast suggestions, and online audio courses. This investment in my professional growth was the most important gift he could have given me. Now, I return the favor to all those that I lead. Investing in my team in this way is, in my opinion, the most important thing a leader could do."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The most important task I can take on as a leader is showing kindness to my team members. When an employee feels cared for, they will always perform better. I exercise this approach in my current role by lending a hand when an opportunity arises. My coworkers know they can safely come to me when they need assistance."
Anonymous Answer
"The most important task of the leader is developing their staff."
Lauren's Answer
Fantastic. I added a little more depth to your response so the interviewer knows your core values as a leader.
"The most important task of a leader is developing their staff. A leader must have a clear vision for what drives and creates success. Clear communication of expectations and resources for continued learning are core values and steps I take when developing a strong staff."
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Anonymous Answer
"I appreciate that, as a leader, I have the opportunity to help other people grow in their career by mentoring them, and teaching them what I know."
Rachelle's Answer
Very nice response.
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6.
How will you guide your team in terms of personal development?
The interviewer would like to know that you understand the importance of self-development techniques for your team. Some suggestions for employee personal development initiatives:

- Roadmapping of a professional growth plan
- Setting learning goals
- Conferences and other off-site learning opportunities
- Related books, audiobooks, and podcast from industry influencers
- Lunch and learns with exciting topics
- Online learning portal or subscriptions to Udemy and other online universities
- Mentorship partners
- Internal volunteer initiatives or supporting their volunteer interests
- Cross-departmental training opportunities

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I plan to guide my team in personal development by offering unique learning opportunities. My current company has a learning portal where employees can log-in and learn a variety of new skills, from software to leadership. It's an excellent resource. Do you have anything like this in your professional development arsenal?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I will guide my team members by meeting with them individually and creating a personal growth plan for the year. It's important to me that I understand the desires of each staff member and help them to achieve their professional goals."
Anonymous Answer
"I would develop a professional growth plan customized for each team member. Each year we will set learning goals for new skills. Conferences and other off-site learning opportunities Lunch and learns with exciting topics - legal, operations, marketing, sales. Online learning portal or subscriptions to Udemy Mentorship partners"
Rachelle's Answer
It seems you have some incredible ideas in store! The interviewer should really appreciate your enthusiasm.
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Anonymous Answer
"I guide my team by through a 1:1 meeting where we review how they are doing and how I can help them."
Lauren's Answer
Great response! You can follow-up with describing how 1:1s help improve morale and productivity.
"I guide my team by facilitating weekly 1:1 meetings where we review progress goals, and I provide feedback and suggestions. In my experience, 1:1s builds higher rapport, enhanced individual and team morale, and increased productivity. Setting clear goals and providing ways to achieve those goals, make everyone happier and more successful."
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7.
Tell me about a time when you effectively delegated tasks.
The interviewer would like to know that you are capable of confidently delegating tasks to your employees or coworkers. A great leader is someone who can efficiently manage their time by ensuring the equitable division of tasks while utilizing the strengths of others.

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Display to the interviewer that you nurture the skills of your team by delegating tasks that complement individual strengths and skillsets.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) In my current position, I was asked to put together a team for a special client project. (Task) I was allowed to handpick the team members and organize the project timeline. (Action) I chose my strongest employees in a variety of areas. In our initial meeting, I delegated the tasks while explaining my reasoning. This opportunity was great for me to show each team member that I had the utmost confidence in their abilities. (Result) Everyone played to their strengths, and it worked out well. We delivered this special project to our client on time and under budget."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) I recently trained a new Executive Assistant to the VP. (Task) Since I am the EA to the President, the leadership group felt that I was the best person to train the new EA correctly. (Action) She had a little bit of experience; however, she did require in-depth training on our systems, programs, and more. In total, I spent around 80 hours training her on a variety of systems. (Result) I now oversee her work and delegate to-dos. It's been a smooth onboarding so far!"
Anonymous Answer
"I delegated the task of producing safe systems of work to my deputy. Before assigning this task to him, I reviewed the time that he would have and the skills required to do the job. I also discussed the requirements in detail with him so that he knew exactly what to do. It was also a development opportunity for him because it was a task that he had not done before."
Lauren's Answer
This is a great example. You provided a well-rounded explanation of the task and the way you delegated the task. Great job! I made spelling and grammar edits.
"I once delegated the task of producing safety systems of work to a deputy employee. This particular employee did not have prior experience with this task, so we had a training session prior to their implementation. We reviewed the time and skills requirement, as well as the process step-by-step. The deputy was able to ask clarifying questions and feel comfortable about taking on a new skill. This attention to training detail was beneficial for the employee and myself, as it would ensure correct implementation. Spending time on the onset to train and explain new things saves time for everyone involved."
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Anonymous Answer
"Before going on vacation, I once had to delegate my tasks to a Co-worker. This particular employee was familiar with my duties but needed clarification on certain items. I trained him on the procedures before leaving and provided detailed written instructions. My co-worker felt very comfortable taking over my duties while I was gone due to the amount of preparation we put in."
Rachelle's Answer
It's wonderful that you were patient and took the time to be thorough in passing the baton. Your answer highlights the care that you take in your work.
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8.
What do you look for, before giving someone on your team a promotion?
The interviewer would like to know that you are discerning when it comes to the types of people you further promote on your team. Share with the interviewer the kinds of skills, characteristics, and attitudes that you look for when rewarding employees.

Some things you may like to see:

- Self-motivation
- Reliable & dependable
- Strong work ethic
- Great customer service
- Goal-setting
- Consistency
- Helpful to others
- Positive attitude
- Needs little direction
- Team-oriented and collaborative
- Clear & effective communicator
- Flexible & willing to adapt
- Interested in professional development

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Before promoting someone on my team, I will read through all of the employee's performance reviews and ask for references from former managers. As far as skills go, I look for someone collaborative and reliable."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe it's important to look at someone's level of collaboration and helpfulness. If the employee has shown leadership skills without a management title, I can be sure they will pull through as a solid leader and solid manager, once promoted."
Anonymous Answer
"The characteristics and attitudes I would look for in before promoting someone on my team are self-motivated, Reliable & dependable, Strong work ethic with consistent individual contributions, and achieving personal goals. Helpful to others with a positive attitude Needs little direction Team-oriented and collaborative, Clear & effective communicator"
Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic insight! These are all very important qualities to look for before making a promotion.
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Anonymous Answer
"The ability to influence others."
Lauren's Answer
Good start. It would be important to elaborate why that is a quality worthy of a promotion.
"For me, an employees who demonstrates leadership qualities and the ability to influence others in a positive way are most worthy of promotions. Influencers can enhance productivity and morale within a department and work team. Employees who lead by example always stand out to me."
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9.
What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of leading your current team?
The interviewer is trying to learn more about the challenges you currently face as a leader. If hired, this information will help the company to know where you could use additional training, encouragement, or education.

Every leader has an aspect of people management that is challenging for them. One common challenge for leaders is the need to terminate an employee. Another problem could be continually motivating unengaged employees. A big challenge could also be sourcing and utilizing the best hiring resources to shave down your time spent on reading resumes. Other common problems include managing underperformers, handling conflict between coworkers, increasing employee retention, and delegating tasks.

Share your most challenging aspect of leadership but also highlight the steps that you take to alleviate or overcome that challenge.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"One challenge that I face as a leader is to avoid frustration when employees show continued disinterest in our company's education opportunities. My current company has an amazing program available for continued education, yet only about 22% of our employees take advantage. To alleviate this frustration, I am starting a company-wide recognition program for all employees who explore this option with our company."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Currently, I lead the temporary administrative assistants that we hire, from time to time, during peak seasons. It is a challenge to lead temp associates because it means re-training a new person every time the temp agency provides us with a new temp. Last week I had a meeting with our recruitment partner and asked them to send repeat temps as often as possible. I believe this request will be a happy workaround in the future."
Anonymous Answer
"I am challenged to motivate unengaged team members."
Lauren's Answer
Good start. It would be helpful to explain why.
"One of the most difficult aspects to leading my current team is motivating disengaged employees. I am working with each of them individually, but their morale has an impact on the rest of the group. It takes out-of-box thinking and a wide range of communication and leadership skills in order to tailor my approach to each person individually."
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Anonymous Answer
"The most challenging is having to work with so many different cultures. In the UAE, there are cultures from all around the world and people have different values and opinions. I had to sometimes change my approach to being less direct when approaching some of my team members."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a good example of a challenge, and how you have worked to overcome the situation. Nice job!
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10.
When have you had to lead by example?
The interviewer wants to know that you place importance on leading by example. As a leader, your actions, decisions, and demeanor are always under some form of scrutiny.

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'When have you...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Highlight that you have genuine care when it comes to setting a good example in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) Last year our company merged with a competitor, and there was the talk of pending layoffs. (Task) As the Sales Leader, my team keeps a close eye on my actions. (Action) I know that I must lead by example every moment of every day! Rather than show my stress, I encouraged my team to try harder than ever. I suggested that we show our corporate office exactly what we can do! (Result) We ended up being the number one sales team in our region, which resulted in zero layoffs for our team."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) In my current role, we have a great deal of foot traffic come through the office. (Task) I manage the front desk, which means that I am often the customers' first impression of the company. (Action) I always choose to have a smile on my face, make eye contact, and show my excitement for the company for which I work. There are constant eyes on me, and I need to lead with positivity. (Result) At least once per week, I receive comments regarding how impressed a customer was with my overall presence and attitude."
Anonymous Answer
"In a previous role, there was a need to get managers to come in and help when overtime was being worked. I led the way by coming in on Saturdays when overtime being worked."
Lauren's Answer
Good start. You want to demonstrate how you went above and beyond as a leader versus simply showing up; explaining how you lead will provide a stronger impact for your response.
"There was a time when all managers and employees were required to work overtime. As a leader, I set the tone for the group. I arrived early on Saturdays for overtime, worked tirelessly, and ensured my team had the necessary material and instructions they needed. I set a high standard for myself which elevated the group’s standard."
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Anonymous Answer
"In my current position, as well as positions I've previously had, I lead by example every day. I demonstrate positivity, adaptability, and problem-solving."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer shows experience and a willingness to lead, even when it isn't a formal opportunity.
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11.
Do you demonstrate leadership qualities even when you are not in a leadership role?
This question challenges you to think about how you act as a leader in your daily life. Even if you're not leading a team, you can still demonstrate the qualities of a leader!

Rather than just tell the interviewer that you are a leader in non-leadership situations, try a 'show and tell' approach. Give an example of how you coached a coworker who was having difficulty preparing for a big presentation. Maybe you gave them confidence in their strengths by encouraging them, or perhaps you offered some helpful hints. You can be a motivator and a confident communicator in any situation at work!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I naturally take on a leader and mentor-ship type of role with my co-workers. In one instance, I had a new coworker who was having some trouble fitting in. I took her out for lunch and talked to her about the workplace culture and semantics surrounding the various departments. I wanted her to stay and enjoy her employment with us, so I took the responsibility of ensuring she was settling in well. I believe there are always opportunities for leadership - you have to keep your eyes open!"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I aim always to demonstrate my leadership abilities every day, even though I am a junior administrator. I strive to set a good example for my peers by performing my tasks quickly, without having to be told. I will also take charge when I see a task falling behind, which I believe is a good example of leadership."
Anonymous Answer
"Having been in a leadership role for the past 20 years of my career, I try to show my actions as a leader at work, and outside of work as well."
Rachelle's Answer
Again, the right thoughts are definitely there but I do recommend working on completing the thought or concept.
"I have demonstrated leadership qualities for the past 20 years, as I make sure to act as a good example inside and outside of work."
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Anonymous Answer
"Leadership is about influence, so you do not have to be in a formal leadership role."
Lauren's Answer
While you make a great point, be sure to speak for yourself rather than in generalities.
"I believe that Leadership pertains to group influence, which is a trait that does not require formal leadership. I consider myself a positive influencer in any work group, thus making me a consistent leader. I lead by example with the intention of adding to a positive and productive work culture."
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12.
How can we motivate you as a leader?
Even the most fantastic leader can be in danger of burning out now and then. The interviewer wants to know how they can be an encouragement to you, in turn. As a leader, you need to be able to identify and express what keeps you showing up, working hard, and supporting your team.

Your motivation may come from successes and achievements. Perhaps you are working towards career advancement. Take some time to think about what truly motivates you and share your thoughts with the interviewer.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I gain motivation through words of encouragement and compensation based rewards. For instance, I could compete for a gift card or a contest where I can earn a bigger holiday party budget for my team. Being a leader comes naturally to me, so I don't find it to be a taxing task very often. My competitive nature keeps me internally motivated, as well."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I feel motivated when I work in a trust-filled, positive, and collaborative environment. When I can trust my team and am offered trust in return, I feel empowered to work even harder."
Anonymous Answer
"The potential to grow within a company is motivational. I value recognition, appreciation of myself and the team, and loyalty."
Rachelle's Answer
Concise and well thought out. Great work!
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Anonymous Answer
"To see my direct reports working as a team."
Rachelle's Answer
Try expanding on your response, as this one isn't very helpful to the interviewer and sounds a bit stand-offish.
"The best way to motivate me as a leader is to cultivate an environment of teamwork, collaboration, and togetherness. As a leader, I like to work closely with my team to help them achieve their goals. This type of environment is very motivating for me."
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13.
What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
The interviewer would like to know that you understand what makes a leader stand out, and what you believe defines a leader. Just because you hold a management title, it does not mean you are a leader.

A real leader is someone who makes others want to jump on board with their mission and follow them. A manager is just someone who has direct reports. To be an excellent leader, you should inspire others. A true leader gets people excited to buy into the vision.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe that the difference between a leader and manager is that a manager has the job title and the incumbents, but not necessarily the required buy-in from their team. A leader gains buy-in through inspiration."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"A leader is someone who people want to follow. A manager is someone who others feel they have to follow. I believe a manager or supervisor should be a healthy blend of both approaches so that they can earn their teams' respect organically but also maintain their authority."
Anonymous Answer
"Managers have people who work for them and leaders have people who follow them."
Rachelle's Answer
Great! Concise and to the point. I have reworded your response slightly, to add impact.
"A manager is someone who has people working for them. A leader is someone who other people follow because they are a good influence."
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Anonymous Answer
"A manager plans, organizes, and controls his department. A leader engages the emotions of the team. Both leadership and management are required if a team is to be successful."
Lauren's Answer
Good response. I made spelling and grammar edits as well as removed gender.
"In my perspective, a manager plans, organizes, and controls their department. A leader, on the other hand, engages the emotions of the team. I believe a combination of leadership and management are essential for a team to be successful."
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14.
Have you ever helped to implement a significant company change in one of your past roles?
The interviewer would like to know that you have the type of personality where you can take the initiative without it being a formal requirement of your position. When you respond, it will be essential to show that you are happy being an engaged part of your company and team.

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Have you ever...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Perhaps a new company policy was coming into place, and you helped to execute some changes. Maybe a new employee benefits program was introduced, or your company implemented a new software program. In your story example, be specific about what you did, and the impact your actions had - whether short or long term.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) Last month our company introduced a new software program called XYZ. (Task) I was already familiar with the program because I had used it in a previous role. (Action) I offered to do employee training on the program, and my boss agreed to it. I took a lunch hour to give my presentation and then offered myself as the subject matter expert, moving forward. (Result) The implementation went very well, and my boss was thankful for my expertise and assistance."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) At my current company, I noticed our coffee expenses rising each month. (Task) As the Administrator who handles vendor invoices, I knew that a change could greatly benefit my employer financially. (Action) I suggested that we install a higher quality coffee machine in our office rather than continue to purchase the disposable coffee pods. We calculated that the savings would be about $12,000 per year. (Result) My company agreed, and so far, we have seen significant savings, in addition to the positive environmental impact."
Anonymous Answer
"I have helped my current company in many ways. Those ways range from changing the new POS company-wide to teaching all the managers how to write and implement a budget for their restaurant."
Rachelle's Answer
These are fantastic examples that require a lot of shifting, changes, and organization.
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Anonymous Answer
"The implementation of the SQCDP (Safety Quality Cost Delivery and People) method at my last company was a significant change. It meant daily monitoring of the critical areas of concern and replaced a system where there was little or no monitoring. It took four months to implement under my leadership."
Mary's Answer
Great, specific response! Remember to include an outcome/result. See below.
"The implementation of the SQCDP (Safety, Quality, Cost, Delivery, and People) method at my last company was a significant change. This new process required daily monitoring of key areas of concern and replaced a system where there was little to no monitoring previously. After 4 months of implementation, and with sound communication and follow-up, my team adapted to this change under my leadership."
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15.
Tell me about a time when you took charge of a situation but the outcome was disappointing.
Interviewers understand that leaders will have failed efforts now and then. What they want to know is that you can recognize those failures, learn from them, and enthusiastically move on.

Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

Think about a time when your leadership plan didn't go as desired. Be sure to tell the interviewer what you learned from the scenario, as well as what you would do the next time.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) When I first joined my current company, the mandate was to focus on the professional growth of the team. (Task) I had big plans to overhaul the existing sales team and send them on a business development workshop weekend. (Action) Once I announced this plan, I lost of the employees ended up quitting because they didn't understand what this growth opportunity would have allowed them. Looking back, what I should have done was build a stronger rapport with my new team before sending them to a weekend workshop. They felt it was a punishment of some sort, which wasn't the case at all. (Result) I learned my lesson, hired some stellar sales staff, and forged ahead! My new team ended up gaining strong momentum and finished the year 124% above budget."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) This year our HR Manager was on maternity leave, and someone needed to take control of the company's most recent hiring fair. (Task) As the HR Assistant, I was next in line to take over the event. (Action) I worked hard to plan and leverage the few connections that I had. I attempted to build excitement through social media posts and our company e-newsletter. (Result) In the end, the hiring fair was not as successful as previous hiring fairs and, despite my best efforts, I didn't see the results that I was hoping. I will continue to learn the recruiting field and won't give up despite this disappointment."
Anonymous Answer
"As the coordinator of the Teacher of the Year program, there was an error with the awards. The spelling of a recipient's name was misspelled. I apologized and assured her that it would be corrected."
Rachelle's Answer
Oops! It happens to the best of us, and what is most important is that you owned the error and made the necessary corrections.
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Anonymous Answer
"I took charge of the machine shop in a previous role. The aim was to improve the output. The method was to use OEE as the driver. The shop was not ready for using a tool such as OEE, and the outcome was disappointing."
Lauren's Answer
It is great that provided a specific answer. It would be more-rounded if you explained why it was disappointing. Please fill in the blank below.
"In a previous role, I was charged with improving output in a machine shop. I believed using OEE as a driver would enhance output, but disappointingly, it was not. The shop was not ready to implement a tool such as OEE because __________________."
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30 Leadership Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. Have you had the opportunity to teach an important skill to a co-worker?
  2. How do you react when your team misses a deadline?
  3. Tell me your favorite part of being a leader.
  4. If you were hired for this position, what are the first changes you would implement?
  5. What is the most important task of a leader?
  6. How will you guide your team in terms of personal development?
  7. Tell me about a time when you effectively delegated tasks.
  8. What do you look for, before giving someone on your team a promotion?
  9. What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of leading your current team?
  10. When have you had to lead by example?
  11. Do you demonstrate leadership qualities even when you are not in a leadership role?
  12. How can we motivate you as a leader?
  13. What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
  14. Have you ever helped to implement a significant company change in one of your past roles?
  15. Tell me about a time when you took charge of a situation but the outcome was disappointing.
  16. When are your leadership skills the most effective?
  17. Give me an example of a time when your communication style helped you to be a more effective leader.
  18. Tell me about a time when you led a difficult project. What was the outcome?
  19. How do you present bad, or disappointing news, to your team members?
  20. As a leader, how will you measure the success of your team members?
  21. Which leadership book have you most recently read?
  22. Do you prefer group discussions or one-on-one meetings?
  23. What does micromanagement mean to you?
  24. What do you believe would be your biggest leadership challenge in this role?
  25. Tell me about a time when you tried to encourage a fellow team member. Was the encouragement well received?
  26. Have you ever had to give an employee a poor performance review? How did you feel about that responsibility?
  27. Tell me about a time when you took charge of a meeting. Was the outcome a positive one?
  28. When do you best demonstrate yourself as a leader?
  29. Tell me about your leadership qualities.
  30. Do you see yourself a leader? When have you led a team?
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