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Leadership Interview Questions

30 Leadership Interview Questions
Question 1 of 30
If you were hired for this position, what are the first changes you would implement?
How to Answer
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.

Answer Example
"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."
Admin Example
"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."
Manager Example
"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."
Marketing Example
"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."
Retail Example
"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."
Sales Example
"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 not only to 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."
Teacher Example
"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."
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Question 2 of 30
When are your leadership skills the most effective?
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How to Answer
When you have a great relationship with the individuals you are leading, your leadership skills will be the most effective. Show the interviewer that you recognize a great relationship starts with clear communication, trust, and honesty. Tell the interviewer that you spend time genuinely getting to know your team.

For instance, perhaps you like to understand what activities they have going on both inside and outside of work, their kids' names, or if they have any pets. Building a relationship with your team will ensure that you can frequently and genuinely ask them how they are doing. The more comfortable they are, the better chance they will come to you for help in the workplace when they need it.

Answer Example
"My leadership skills are the most effective when my relationship with the employee isn't just a surface connection. I want to have true knowledge of their life and a good understanding of their career goals. When my employees feel assured that I can help them to achieve their goals, they are more likely to be an engaged part of the team."
Admin Example
"My leadership skills are always in action because I lead by example. I am most effective when I can take hold of a project and deliver an excellent product."
Manager Example
"My leadership skills are most effective when my team is engaged and happy. I spend a lot of time making sure that my team of staff are happy, confident, and invested in their jobs."
Marketing Example
"I believe I'm the most effective leader when the group is lacking direction. I immediately sense that there's a lack of leadership brewing, and I step up to lead, even if it's not in my job description, necessarily. I feel I excel in providing direction in a time of need and do well uniting a group."
Retail Example
"My skills are most effective when we face a tight deadline and have to push through. I pride myself on being and an excellent motivator."
Sales Example
"I am the most effective leader when I am passionate and can ignite that passion in my team. When they all understand the 'why' behind our efforts, it's easy to get the job done together."
Teacher Example
"My leadership skills are most effective in a group setting. I have an excellent ability to ramp up the energy in a room and get my students excited about a lesson plan."
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Question 3 of 30
How can we motivate you as a leader?
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How to Answer
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. It's essential for you to be able to identify and express what keeps you showing up, working hard, and supporting your team.

Your motivation may be that the idea of success and achievement drives you. Perhaps you are working towards career advancement. Take some time to think about what truly motivates you.

Answer Example
"I find 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 side keeps me motivated, as well."
Admin Example
"I am motivated by a company that is ethical and strives to do the right thing. I am at my best when I am trusted and allowed to make decisions to remain on the straight and narrow."
Manager Example
"I am motivated by shout out's to my performance and the overall performance of my team."
Marketing Example
"What motivates me is the potential to continue to grow with a company. I value recognition, especially when it plays a role in taking my career to the next level. I value a company that appreciates me, and all of its employees. Loyalty is rare these days, and it's something I truly value."
Retail Example
"I am a very competitive person and find that what motivates me most is to win; whether that be a sales contest or accolades."
Sales Example
"I'm pretty competitive, and also love praise when it is meaningful. Being in sales, of course, I gain motivation through financial rewards. Tapping into accelerated economic growth based on performance, sprinkled with shout-outs for my hard work."
Teacher Example
"You can motivate me, as an educator, by noticing the great things I do for my students. If a parent calls to mention their child's learning has elevated, I want to hear about it. Kind words of appreciation drive my motivation. I like to know my efforts are making an impact."
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Question 4 of 30
Have you ever helped to implement a significant company change in one of your past roles?
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How to Answer
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. Show that you are happy being an engaged part of your company, and team.

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

Answer Example
"Last month our company introduced a new software program called XYZ. I was already familiar with the program because I had used it in a previous role. 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. The implementation went very well, and my boss was thankful for my help."
Admin Example
"I made a suggestion last year 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 plus the positive environmental impact."
Manager Example
"I led the initiative to implement lean six sigma into our quality processes. I had taken a training class on it and new it could be a useful tool for our team."
Marketing Example
"In a previous role, I took point on coordinating the migration of our website and e-commerce platform. The project required a lot of departmental cross-collaboration, working with an outside agency, editing, and testing the entire site. It was a several-months-long project, but ultimately it was completed successfully and led to a 67% increase in e-commerce sales."
Retail Example
"I have experience in terminations and hiring which is always a big change for a small team like ours. I have to carefully assess our resources and make decisions that best suit the company and the consistent performers."
Sales Example
"I reorganized an important part of the sales process in my previous role. The process went from a daily free-for-all where buyers were assigned randomly, to a streamlined process. By coupling sales executives with a team of buyers, not only did we create a team mentality that was previously not there, but the buyers became experts on their accounts. It was much more effective on a personal level as well as regarding dollars generated."
Teacher Example
"Our school went under major renovations last year, and we teachers had the opportunity to meet with the contracting company to tell them the areas where we would like to see change. It was cool to see our recommendations come to fruition as the renovation project came to completion."
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Question 5 of 30
Give me an example of a time when your communication style helped you to be a more effective leader.
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How to Answer
Everyone has their style of communication. Whatever your style, show the interviewer that it is useful. Your response should demonstrate your ability to articulate constructive criticism, encourage your team, or relay policy changes in a way that makes them exciting!

Here are some communication methods you may already employ:

- Leading by example. Understanding that your actions mean more than the words you say.
- Building a connection. Creating relationships that go beyond the surface is a great way to show you are a communicative leader.
- Understanding social cues. Avoid asking personal questions but keep your communication professional.
-Delivering effective presentations. Possessing the ability to give clear, concise, and helpful presentations.
- Practicing honesty. Letting your employees know they can rely on your word.
- Valuing transparency. Showing your employees that you do not have a private agenda. You always clearly communicate your intentions and end goal.
- Setting reasonable expectations. You can show your strong communication skills by never giving changes at the end of the day and ensuring your requests are timely
- Listening to your team. Exercising strong listening skills is often the best way to show you are a competent leader and discerning communicator.



Admin Example
"This way the team hears and reads expectations is significant for me. For that reason, I am careful how I present ideas and change; whether in person or via email."
Manager Example
"I will provide information to my team about struggles from another. Some of my staff members come back to me with advice to give the other teams and how we could help them with their problems."
Marketing Example
"I believe I am direct but kind, and I am emotionally intelligent, so I feel as though I can sense the way in which the other person likes to be spoken to or coached. That said, I find I'm quite adaptable and customize my approach to the particular person with whom I'm working. This method has proven effective and allows for open, effective communication between other members of the team and me."
Retail Example
"I love to motivate my employees through floor sales contests. By communicating in an engaging and motivating way, I feel that their sales performance is better than ever before."
Sales Example
"I love to play to other's strengths. Everyone communicates differently, so I am sure always to send written, as well as give verbal, communication. Usually, that looks like a small, informal huddle outlining our topic or concern. I follow that up with a quick email detailing the discussion."
Teacher Example
"I gave my student feedback because he appeared to be slacking off on a project. Rather than telling him, I thought he was lazy; I said, 'I've noticed that it's been taking longer for you to turn in those reports. What's going on? Is there anything I can do?' I always start by asking questions instead of making accusations. He was very appreciative and told me how he was struggling with motivation. I asked him what would motivate him and we were able to find a solution that worked for both of us."
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Author of Leadership Answers and Questions

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 12/08/2015
Last modified on: 08/05/2018

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