Most organizations want to avoid on-boarding someone who will make immediate and significant changes. Significant changes are hard on the staff and usually, result in knee-jerk reactions such as mass turnover. It's always best to 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 the staff. 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.
"If offered this position, I do not believe that major and immediate change would be the answer. My first action would be to have a one-on-one meeting with everyone on the leadership team. I would want to learn what the greatest challenges are, and how I could 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 would I consider a stronger approach to change."
"I would address any urgent and glaring issues immediately; however, I would want to wait for the implementation of significant changes only after I have a thorough understanding of the organizational dynamics."
"I always prefer to observe the everyday activity within an organization before making significant changes. I plan to make an impact quickly; however, I don't want to jump the gun and make costly mistakes."
"Being the newest person in the organization, I'm always wary of making any big changes off the bat. That said, I'd look at what has happened to the 2018 calendar for marketing initiatives and how they impacted sales. I would sit down with the team to understand the goals for next year so that I can make my best recommendation on how to be impactful in the coming year."
"I like to train in current processes before making changes. I know that my first question would be to ask what is not working. If I can see a quick fix to try, I would try it, but I would likely still need to learn more about the business before making any changes."
"It's important to first understand the company culture, dynamics, values, and individual players, not to mention the short and long-term goals of the organization before making changes. That said, I would wait for my onboarding process to complete, then shadow the key players on my team, as well as across the organization, to understand how the pieces fit together. Also, I think it's essential to not only observe but also listen to the team that predates me and hears what they think is or is not working. Only after active learning, watching, and evaluating period would I begin to effect change. "
"I would take a week or two to observe my class before making any changes. I am always wary of shuffling kids around too much as most tend to be creatures of habit that resist change. My changes may be in the form of introducing more multi-media and hands-on opportunities or perhaps swapping the seating arrangement."
The interviewer wants to know that you have successfully led a team, under pressure, without succumbing to the stress. Choose an example that is easy to explain. Outline to the interviewer how you kept the project in line with your excellent time management, and precise communication skills. Be sure to highlight the projects most significant successes as well!
"I recently led my team of researchers and recruiters in a retained search for a very high-level talent acquisition project. This project was a difficult one because the client wanted a boutique experience with particular candidate requirements. I asked my team to send me a project highlight at the end of the day, every day. From there, I would review the progress and tweak our plan of action, as necessary. In the end, the positions filled successfully, and our client was appreciative of the close eye our team kept on their hiring needs."
"The first project that comes to mind was a new product launch. I was on the team to develop and test the prototype. Coordinating design engineers, test engineers, and production, sales and marketing were difficult. We made it to the finish just in time to meet the deadline."
"I believe that to be successful on a difficult project, a good leader will always be prepared to critique their plan of action, and pivot when necessary. I had to exercise this when our company acquired a small competitor, and our team size grew by 35% overnight. It was a challenge to shuffle around responsibilities successfully but I made it happen!"
"The most difficult team project I've taken the lead on would have to be when we migrated our site from WooCommerce to Shopify. It was a big undertaking since we redid the entire layout in tandem, and it required a lot of collaboration across department lines. I took point on the project, particularly as the liaison for communication across teams and with our outside agency that built the site. It took months of planning, coordination, and collaboration, but the outcome was a robust site, and it helped increase sales, too, which was incredible."
"Every project has its challenges, but the most difficult project I led recently was our location's annual inventory count. It's a long day with a lot of moving parts, but we were able to complete it all in time and with a proper count."
"I recently restructured our sales organization, which was a huge undertaking. I was not popular for doing so among the team. However, it was a necessary change. Identifying the best structure was one challenge, but getting buy-in from the teams, many of whom had preferred peers with whom they wanted to work, was tricky. Ultimately, by doing sales contests and getting them to bond as new sales pods, I got them on board."
"I organized a school-wide science fair and invited the community to participate and vote on their favorite projects. It was the first time our school opened the fair to the public. It was well worth it as our students were able to network with local business owners and even some media personalities."
The interviewer wants to know that you are confident about your leadership abilities and that you understand when your leadership abilities have been most effective. Perhaps you best demonstrate yourself as a leader when your manager is away. Maybe you often jump into a leadership mindset when a co-worker is struggling. Think about a recent time when an employee on your team was successful at something because of your leadership skills. Discuss the scenario and how your leadership skills made the difference.
"I best demonstrate myself as a leader when I know that a coworker could use my assistance. I seem to be a natural teacher and mentor which means that when someone is struggling, my first instinct is to train them. Just recently, I coached a new employee on a sales technique that helped her to achieve her quota for the first time. I look forward to working in this role with you because it will allow me to take on further leadership opportunities."
"I am a leader every day, and anytime I am in the presence of subordinates, be it a picnic, in the parking lot, or during the workday. I always exude my leadership attributes."
"Leadership in micro-moments is one of my favorites. That is, taking a new hire out to coffee, even if it's not your job is great leadership. Letting someone feel welcomed into the fold and teaching them the ropes is so important, especially in the often competitive environment like a sales floor."
"I feel as though I rise to the occasion whenever it presents itself, whether that's by stepping into a leadership role in a collaborative cross-department project, when my boss is away, or when a new hire is wide-eyed and without direction. Whenever the group is lacking a leader, I love the opportunity to step in and help the team along with a bit of an opportunity to shine."
"In my current position, every time my manager is away, I take on the role of leader for our team. This situation usually happens one day per week. When you call him for a reference, he will be able to tell you that I have naturally stepped into the responsibilities associated with being a leader."
"I think it's important always to be a leader. The old cliche of "dress for the job you want, not the one you have" applies here. From the get-go, it's important to walk in the door and let your supervisors know that you are ambitious and driven for growth and also let your coworkers and reports know that you're here to grow and help them grow, too."
"I best demonstrate myself as a leader when a student needs direction. This direction could be about their grades or how they relate to their peers. Growing up is tough, and I have a lot of empathy for my students and their situations."
The interviewer wants to see that you have a genuine passion for leadership. Perhaps you are 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, be sure to tell the interviewer that you plan to be a passionate leader with their organization.
"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."
"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."
"The best part of being a leader in the marketing industry can teach and train new and exciting methods for advertising and content creation. I am a highly creative individual, so this leadership factor appeals to me."
"I love helping people grow and achieve their potential. It's fun for me to identify someone's potential and help groom them and support them in achieving it."
"I enjoy helping other people reach their potential. Seeing someone grow and flourish in a new role is very satisfying."
"I love the responsibility of being a leader; you get to help mold people into a better version of themselves and in the process, I know I am always being challenged. I always learn and grow with each new task, team, and challenge that comes my way."
"My favorite part of being a leader is the fact that I can influence and impact our future leaders. I am excited to see where my students will end up one day."
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! 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!
"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 troubles fitting in. I took her out for lunch and talked to her a bit 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 just have to keep your eyes open!"
"I aim always to demonstrate my leadership abilities, even though I am a junior administrator. I always strive to set a good example to my peers and take charge when needed."
"I have been in a managerial and leadership role for most of my career which means that the actions of a leader are now naturally engrained in me. I am leading by example in all that I do, inside and outside of work."
"I demonstrate leadership ability on a daily basis by effectively managing my projects and clients independently. It shows that I can take the lead on a project without having to be walked through every small step."
"I feel I'm always leading by example, with or without any managerial authority. I always come in a bit early and stay a bit late, pitching in and going the extra mile whenever possible. I feel this makes you just a good teammate and human, not to mention sets you up for a strong career trajectory. That way, when the opportunity for a true leadership role presents itself, I have positioned myself to be top of mind for the promotion."
"It's so important always lead by example; you never know who is watching. That applies to stepping foot in the office lobby, or on social media when you have your Facebook profile linked to your company or an after-work event that is serving alcohol. No matter what the situation or where you find yourself, to be a true leader, you need to pretend like your CEO is potentially watching. If you want to be taken seriously as a businessperson and leader, you have to be leading at all times. This lesson is something I learned very early on, and I put into practice daily."
"As an elementary school teacher in a small town, I have to be very aware of my actions at all times. At work, while volunteering, grocery shopping, or going for a couple of drinks - I have my leadership hat on."
The interviewer is trying to learn more about your level of comfort and confidence in a leadership role. Remember, interviewers, want to see you be successful! Your answer will show them where you may need extra support or training if hired. Be transparent with the interviewer about what aspect of the role you see as a challenge; however, you must avoid talking yourself out of the role. For instance; if you are to lead a group of 50 people in this position, avoid saying that the most significant challenge will be in leading a large team. Keep your answer positive and provide a solution to the problem.
"I believe that the biggest leadership challenge in this role will be taking on the task of getting to know each team member on an individual basis. This task will be a time-consuming one, but I am looking forward to it! I like to be engaged in the lives of my team. I feel that it creates productive employees."
"I will make a point to not only prove my credentials on paper and in practice but also once I get to know the team; I see any of their fears and objections melt away quite quickly."
"The biggest challenge that I see from the outside will be to gain the trust of the group. From what I understand, many of these team members have worked here for a very long time and have great seniority. I am preparing for a lot of 'how it used to be' comments."
"I think fitting into a team and having them see you as a leader and legitimate contributor is always the biggest challenge in a new role. There is almost always some resistance to change, even if they feel it was needed, because it may not be what they thought it should be, or they thought there should be a different leader in the position. Earning their respect and a degree of being liked is always a challenge, but a satisfying hurdle, once overcome."
"The toughest challenge when taking on a new leadership role is to understand the dynamics of the team fully. You want to make a great first impression while still being effective right off the bat. It's a fine balance!"
"The largest challenge I foresee is the perception of me being their boss. I often am younger than those that I end up managing, and I am a woman, so that can be quite off-putting for some who are not accustomed. This situation wouldn't be the first time I've faced and overcome a challenge like this, so I am not worried."
"Children often resist change, and I expect there to be some statements like 'our old teacher didn't do that,' for instance. I will start by allowing the students to ask me questions about my teaching career and my favorite things to do. Once we create a connection, everyone will be more comfortable."
Perhaps you have led a club at work, been a coach for a youth sports team, or were on the advisory board for a non-profit organization. You should always be prepared to show the interviewer that you have a natural ability to lead others. Whether you have led a group of 500 or a team of 2, you must display to the interviewer that you are capable of handling the responsibility that comes with being a leader and mentor. Talk about your desire to be a leader. Share with the interviewer that you strive to be a role model for others. Explain that you jump at the opportunity to lead groups, encourage your counterparts, and be a face of the organization when challenges arise.
"In my current position, I am the president of the social committee. I love that I have the opportunity to encourage employee engagement while being a positive influence on the workplace culture. I am a natural leader because I start with leading by example. As a leader, I make myself available to others who need mentor-ship, a bit of assistance in adjusting to their role, or just a listening ear when they've had a tough day. I am confident in my leadership abilities and look forward to joining your team in a leadership role."
"Although I have never led in the workplace, I do take on a volunteer coordinator role on the weekends with the local animal shelter. I have qualities that would make a good leader. I am a keen listener; I understand how to look at the big picture without losing momentum with the small tasks."
"I do see myself as a leader. I currently oversee the 2nd shift production line. I monitor host team meetings, disseminate information, monitor performance, approve scheduling and time sheets, and more."
"I would certainly consider myself a leader, though I'm not currently in a management role. In my previous life, I managed a small sales team, but in marketing, I currently collaborate, and project manages without being in a management position. That said, I feel I lead a team by showing respect, setting high but reasonable expectations, and encouraging a collaborative environment where all ideas are encouraged. The beauty of being a true leader is that you don't need to be in a position of management to exude leadership qualities."
"I have always been a great leader, and I thoroughly enjoy being a team leader. I have been in an assistant manager role in my company for two years now and love to lead by example and train new employees."
"I see myself as a leader. Not only have I managed a team in two prior roles, but also I believe that leadership does not always equate to management. I am sure to lead at all times by providing the best model of enthusiasm and work ethic. I am open to new ideas and love to tackle a new project which, to me, embodies leadership."
"I do see myself as a leader. I lead in the classroom, I help coach extra-curricular athletics, and I encourage my fellow educators. Leadership, to me, is a mindset versus an official title."
The interviewer would like to know that you can successfully motivate others without it coming across as condescending. For this question, use a scenario when your encouragement was well received and resulted in a positive change or outcome.
"Our business development lead was stressing out last month because she was only 88% to quota with just two days left in the month. I sat with her after work, and we brainstormed some great ideas to implement for quick results. She ended up closing the month at 104% and had an amazing ramp up to the next month. I believe that encouragement can come in many forms. In this instance, she just needed someone to bounce ideas off of!"
"I tried hard to help a new team member promoted from the production line to the office. She was very good at understanding production and quality, but her computer skills were lacking. She struggled with answering emails, understanding meeting requests and monitoring her calendar. She was getting frustrated quickly, but I encouraged her to stick with it and ask for help. I think she appreciated the encouragement."
"I have scheduled meetings with all of my team members since taking over as manager three years ago. These are meetings to discuss what they are doing right, and how they feel about their growth and performance. When my team members feel encouraged, they are more reliable and work harder."
"We had a new hire on the marketing team who was shy. This marketer had great ideas but was tentative about bringing them up. We spent some time together off the clock, running over her ideas and how to best approach our boss, and just building up her confidence in speaking up. It was in her best interest and that of the team as a whole, plus it was an important career lesson on self-advocacy."
"We had a newer retail sales member on our team who wasn't reaching his targets at first. I took him under my wing and encouraged his efforts, gave him some tips, and provided guidance anytime he needed it. After three months he was surpassing his sales targets!"
"A teammate was going to quit due to various frustrations. By putting SMART goals into place that would allow him to understand how he'd get to hit his targets, he changed his attitude at work and ultimately received a promotion. It was great to see him turn around so well."
"I often work on encouraging my fellow teachers who feel discouraged when a student isn't performing. It's one aspect of my current school that I really enjoy - we all lift each other up when it's needed."
The interviewer would like to know what you consider to be strong leadership qualities. When describing leadership qualities, try to avoid general terms and give some unique ideas. A great leader is someone who people naturally want to follow. They have exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with nearly any personality type. A respected leader will take ownership of their mistakes and will always lead their team by example. True leaders see the importance of motivating others and recognizing even the smallest achievements. To which of these qualities do you most identify? - Confident - Optimistic - Encouraging - Accountable - Engaged - Passionate - Integrous - Loyal - Charismatic
"I possess great leadership qualities that include diligence, tenacity, and open communication. I look forward to taking these skills to work for you!"
"I have taken many workshops and courses to improve my leadership skills over the years. My leadership qualities are best summed as dedicated, attentive, and motivating. I like to recognize my employees' small wins because that motivates them to continue achieving."
"I believe I lead effectively by showing others respect regardless of their position or title, creating an open environment in which everyone knows that ideas are welcome, and setting achievable but high expectations for myself and the teams that I work on."
"My leadership qualities are communication, drive and mentoring. I naturally seek out the best in people, then help them increase their performance."
"To me, a leader is someone who is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, adaptable, and open. A leader wants to nurture others to their fullest potential, and it is something I have enjoyed since childhood. I love to be an example to follow and help guide others to bettering themselves and their careers."
"I lead my students by being passionate and charismatic towards new learning concepts. I encourage exploration and let them know that it's okay to make a mistake while learning new concepts."
The interviewer wants to know how you react to uncomfortable tasks and awkward conversations. No matter how seasoned a leader you are, it is never fun to deliver a poor performance review. Highlight to the interviewer that you are confident in your professionalism and communication skills, that you are capable of challenging conversations, and that you can give helpful feedback while providing important mentorship to your team. If you do not have experience with performance reviews, it is okay! Tell the interviewer that you have never been in a role where you needed to give a formal performance review, but you look forward to learning the process. Add an example of a time when you provided someone with constructive feedback instead. This example can be in the workplace, school, or maybe even on a sports team. Discuss how you ensured that you did not humiliate the individual but that you discretely pulled them aside to have the conversation. Finally, be sure to mention that the person continued to have a healthy relationship with you following the discussion. This fact will highlight that you handled the situation professionally.
"A large part of my role is to give monthly performance reviews to my team of 13 employees. When I need to deliver a poor review, the employee is already aware that I will be looking for improvement in their performance. This awareness is because I stay in close contact with all of my employees on their monthly progress."
"Yes, I have had to give critical employee reviews to temporary associates before. It is a task that I do no love doing but can do it."
" When I deliver an unsavory review, I act as a mentor and ask the employee to work with me on a performance plan. I never want anyone to feel like they are on the verge of being fired because that never improves an employees performance. I want them to feel like they are part of an important collaboration."
"I haven't had to give any type of employee review in a management capacity, but when I left one role, it was in large part due to the poor management. That said, I did sit down with the CEO before I left and gave him candid feedback about the VP of Sales that no one else was going to give while still working for the company. It was certainly uncomfortable, but it was valuable feedback to give to him and he made company decisions based off of it. "
"Performance reviews were handled by my manager. However, I did give employees warnings and write-ups for performance failures. I felt that I was doing them a service by helping them see what they needed to do to improve."
"When giving an employee review, if possible, I start by asking them to assess their performance. Almost without fail, they will point out the shortcoming that I am noticing, and we then can have a positive brainstorming session about it together, rather than feeling like I am reprimanding them."
"I give student reviews all the time, even aside from report card time. I am comfortable giving constructive feedback in any situation; however, I have never critiqued a fellow teacher."
Interviewers want to hear that you have experience teaching or mentoring other employees one-on-one. 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 scenario may be, tell the interviewer what you helped the person with, while highlighting the positive outcome of their skills improvement.
"Last week our company introduced a new module in our SAP system. I could see that our contracted HR Assistant was having some troubles 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."
"Recently, I trained our new A/P 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 have taught many individuals on the job, as it's always been a part of my leadership role to mentor and train new and existing employees."
"I'm proud to say that, even without any official management capacity, I often seize the opportunity to teach others at work. Not only have I helped contribute to the sales team's knowledge base, even from a marketing role, but also I try to make new hires or curious parties under my wing to teach them anything from SEO to segmenting email lists, or how to use different software. It's fun to share and teach others, especially since I am always seeking out learning opportunities for myself, so it's nice to give back or pay it forward."
"I was a corporate trainer before being promoted to national retail manager, so I got to train quite a few employees on policies, procedures, and processes. I had some great teaching methods that included quizzes and hands-on learning opportunities."
"Absolutely! In each of my two previous roles, I was tasked with leading a small team. I have worked on everything from appointment setting and overcoming objections to price negotiations with those respective teams. What's more, I always look for an opportunity to connect with the new folks to the team to ensure them that I can be a resource to them."
"We had a new teacher come on board this year which I took under my wing. I taught her a lot about the school's history, the culture among the faculty, and introduced her to the community. It felt great to help her settle in."
Interviewers understand that leaders will have a failed efforts now and then. What they want to know is that you can recognize those failures, learn from them, and enthusiastically move on. 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.
"When I first joined my current company, I had big plans to overhaul the existing sales team and send them on a business development workshop weekend. Most 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 the 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. 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."
"I took control of our company's most recent hiring fair, in the absence of our HR Manager, as she was on maternity leave. It 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."
"We had a last minute order come through from a customer, but our material planner/production scheduler was out sick. I tried to get everything planned correctly for her, but we ended up having to do an unplanned changeover because we ran out of a part that was needed to continue. She was slightly mad at me, but she loves me overall so it will be alright."
"I took charge of migrating our mail service provider to a new, much better one. However, in the process, we ultimately lost one of our mailing lists in the migration. Apparently, this was a huge problem and disappointment, but it taught me to always back everything up and move extra carefully, even on a tight deadline. Luckily, the mailing list was on the backend of our website, so I was able to recover the list. Also, it gave me an opportunity to become more familiar with the backend of our site, so there were more lessons learned than figurative tears shed."
"I asked to take charge of our spring merchandising display. Underestimating how challenging the job is, it was a bit of a flop. My boss was nice about it, and we worked together to make it better. We now hire out the task to a professional merchandiser."
"The 'lunch and learns' that I created were effective the first few times, and then flopped. The team morale was so low that it became apparent that everyone needed to use their lunch breaks to disconnect from work so they could be more impactful overall. Looking back, I would have scheduled them every month rather than each week to avoid this type of burnout."
"I took charge of planning a 3-day camping trip for our high school seniors. I truly underestimated the scope of work and planning. Quickly falling behind, I recognized that I bit off more than I could chew and ended up recruiting another teacher to help me plan the trip."
The interviewer wants to know that you are aware of the need to always lead by example. Your answer should be, 'All the time!' As a leader, your actions, decisions, and demeanor are always under some form of scrutiny. The most stressful workplace situations often surround change, so it's a great idea to talk about a time when your organization went through a significant change. A transition can be very challenging for some people. Discuss how you accept change with a positive attitude. Perhaps a new software system was being implemented. Maybe your company was being acquired. Perhaps a change occurred in your senior leadership. Talk about how quickly your team could have leaned towards negativity by becoming unmotivated or acting fearful of the change. Highlight that you have genuine excitement surrounding the possibilities that come with change and that this excitement rubs off on your team.
"I lead by example every moment of every day! My sales team keeps a close eye on my actions and, in our industry, it is very easy to over-dramatize situations. Last year our company merged with a competitor, and there was the talk of pending layoffs. 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! We ended up being the number one sales team in our region which resulted in zero layoffs for our team."
"In my current role, I manage a front desk with a great deal of foot traffic. I choose always to have a smile on my face, make eye contact, and show my excitement for the company for which I work. There are always eyes on me, and I need to lead with positivity."
"I was a plant manager for Company XYZ when they announced they were closing their doors. By not allowing myself to display frustration, I was able to retain 89% of my staff during the transition. I feel that my positive attitude helped others to feel hopeful."
"I think you're always showing who you are and either demonstrating your leadership qualities or lack thereof. That's why I believe it's so important always to act as though someone is watching. As a parent, that's something that is always a possibility, and in the workplace, it's just as important to be on your best behavior. You never know who is watching or listening and you can either make or break your career with your actions."
"I often lead by example when it comes to mandatory overtime. I work in an order-driven environment and sometimes we have to work late to get the job done. I don't let my peers see me get upset at last minute announcements."
"I believe I am always leading by example. For instance, I am either on time (ideally early), dressed for the part (or better), and prepared, or you're not. One critical moment when my leadership capabilities are displayed is in meetings. I am attentive and ready to participate."
"These days, students come to class with their phones and are either scrolling, or at the minimum, they're out on the table. I prefer to put my phone away and have a notebook and pen out instead. This way, it's clear that I'm on task. No one knows what you're doing on your phone- it could be 100% work related, but it looks like you're texting. I teach my students to remain engaged."
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 jobs are equitably divided while utilizing the strengths of others. Display to the interviewer that you have the wherewithal to recognize the depths of your team by delegating tasks which compliment their skill sets.
"In my current position I was asked to put together a team for a special client project. I was able to handpick the team members and organize the project execution. 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. I played to their strengths, and it worked out well. We delivered to our client on time and under budget."
"I recently trained a new executive assistant to the VP. She had a little bit of experience; however, did require in-depth training on our systems, programs, and more. I now oversee her work and delegate to-do's."
"I find myself delegating work to my staff every day. Part of my job as a manager is to ensure the workload is spread evenly to deliver results on time."
"When working on the overhaul of our website, I was responsible for coordinating and communicating across teams, as well as delegates. I assigned who was to take each new page of the website to help build content and who was to edit, as well as what types of graphics or functionality we wanted. The outcome was a sleek, functional website that has been very successful in its conversions click-thru rates to sales."
"Every month I have a meeting with all team members to talk about our plan for the month and how we will delegate the work. It's a great strategy for us, and everyone starts the month with laid out expectations."
"In my previous role, I had three reports working on sourcing inventory for my accounts. Each day, I would hold a huddle to delegate the individual work orders. We would discuss the current workload, urgency of each order, and I would discuss why each one of them was assigned to a particular account or order."
"As a teacher, I delegate tasks, homework, and assignments to my students on a daily basis. I am a kind teacher but do command their attention when needed, to ensure they deliver their work on time."
The interviewer would like to know that you have the confidence to lead a meeting successfully. Think about a time when you have conducted a meeting - big or small. This example could be a phone meeting, a lunch and learn, or an extensive client presentation. Begin by telling the interviewer the reason for the meeting, who was involved, and what approach you took to prepare for the meeting. Finally, be sure to mention why you felt the meeting was a success! What did you do in that meeting to create a productive and positive outcome?
"My employer asked me to lead a 'lunch and learn' meeting to train 15 employees on our new client management software. I was already a subject matter expert on the software so it wasn't difficult for me to plan the lesson. The challenge was making the content entertaining enough to keep the employees engaged. I created a PowerPoint presentation that included pop quiz questions throughout the performance. The presentation was a success, and my employer asked me to lead a follow up meeting a few weeks later."
"Just last week my boss had a personal emergency and could not make it in time for our monthly staff meeting. Everyone gathered, and so he called to ask me to take control of the meeting. I feel that I did a great job relaying the information and my boss was thankful for the way that I was able to step in."
"I hosted daily small group meetings in two roles with my direct reports. The meetings focused on day to day, and weekly metrics that would make or break production numbers."
"When freelancing, I was on a call collaborating with their marketing staff of one and freelance graphic designer, and it seemed as though everyone was going to defer to the next person since there wasn't a leader. Their marketing director should have been it, but she was never a person to take control of a meeting. So, rather than go around in circles some more, I stepped up to take charge of the meeting. I am certain that the meeting was a success as the outcome was clear directives for all members of the team. That particular project had the highest ROI to date."
"I host short team meetings every day and co-host slightly larger meetings every month and quarter. Most meetings have a positive outcome, but there are always times when I am reporting that we missed a goal or have mandatory overtime. Those meetings are not quite as happy and upbeat."
"In my last role, I identified the need for ongoing learning and training, so I founded weekly 'lunch and learn' meetings with a different department of focus in each session. I worked across departments to feature various guest lecturers and industry experts from our board to educate the sales team better. This way we would all be more effective in our pitches."
"I take charge of a classroom every day! I have not led many official meetings, but I do think that parent-teacher meetings could count for some of my experience. I know how to command attention and can control the direction of a meeting and its tone."
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 that is challenging for them. Share your most challenging aspect of leadership but also highlight the steps that you take to alleviate or overcome that challenge. One common challenge for leaders has to terminate an employee. Another problem could be continually motivating unengaged employees. A big challenge could also be sourcing and utilize the best hiring resources to shave down your time spent on reading resumes.
"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 32% of our employees take advantage. To alleviate this frustration, I am starting a company-wide recognition program to all employees who explore this option with our company."
"Currently I only lead the temporary administrative assistants that we hire, from time to time, during peak seasons. It is a challenge because it's re-training a new person everytime the agency provides us with a new temp."
"My current team is spread out in different states. As a regional manager, it is crucial that I understand local markets, slang, and customs when talking to individuals and the team."
"I currently collaborate with my team, but am not in a specific management position. That said, I feel as though I lead by example and naturally take the lead in marketing projects or delegation of tasks when working in a collaborative environment."
"The most challenging aspect of being a leader, in my opinion, is managing the large variety of personalities. It takes some time to get to know everyone, but I am confident that I can do it."
"The largest challenge I've faced as a leader is working with an unmotivated employee who cannot seem to be motivated by the normal channels. Typically, this stems from hiring a poor fit for the role but happens far too often. It's so important, as a leader, to work on consistently coaching up or coaching out."
"In my current classroom, we have a bit of a power struggle between a few of the students. It is a challenge to navigate, and I have tried a variety of seating arrangements as well as group meetings involving the Principal. The next step will be parent involvement which I am planning to avoid."