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.
"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."
"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."
"We reach deadlines as a team, and we miss deadlines as a team. I truly believe that. When a deadline passes, I look at how we could have moved better as a machine, to make the delivery happen on time. I do not react negatively to my team members, but I do use situations like this as learning and coaching opportunities."
"Our office is highly collaborative so, when we miss a deadline, we all take accountability. As the leader, I need to be accountable for the project as a whole, and for that reason, I always call the client to let them know of any hiccups we are having along the way."
"There are very few deadlines that my team has missed. We are a great mix of personalities, and we will all stay late, if needed, to support each other. I do recall a situation last year when we did not get our annual inventory count submitted on time. There were technical glitches with a few of the scanners, so employees had to share scanners. We worked at a fast pace, but also supported each other, yet we still missed the target. I congratulated my team on pulling together, and then we made a plan to ensure full preparation, should that situation happen again."
"My sales team takes it pretty hard when they miss a deadline, mainly because they are a group of highly competitive individuals. I don't need to be hard on them because they are hard enough on themselves. What I will do is take the situation as an opportunity to better myself as a leader, and strengthen them as a team, through a lesson or professional development opportunity."
"As a teacher, it is important that I never place blame on my students for a deadline that I missed, or a deadline that I missed because I was rushing through a module, for instance. Education is a team effort, but I am the class leader. For that reason, if a deadline is missed I will always reflect internally, first."
"I'm great at meeting deadlines. I have a planner that I live by and as soon as I get a task, I break it down into manageable pieces and tackle them one at a time. I ensure that I always turn in my projects early if not on time."
"We rise and fall together. If I am the leader, I have to share in the successes as well as the failures. If a deadline is missed, then as the leader, it will be necessary for me to bring the team together and talk about why we missed the mark, and to come up with ways we can improve our outcomes going forward."
All of the yesses to this answer :) I love that you take accountability for your actions as a leader and show an eagerness to lead others to success.
"We win as a team and we fail as a team."
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."
"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."
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."
"Seek first to understand why the deadline was missed. Sometimes these things are beyond your control. If there were a misstep, I'd review with my team and identify how this can be avoided in the future. This may be an opportunity to improve an existing process."
Your answer shows insight and professionalism. Well done!
"I will never react negatively but share this with the team and discuss together what we can do the next time differently and see where our opportunities are. Keep the team motivated and positive even in challenging times is important for me as a leader."
Very good! It's important to stay positive and focus on what could be improved. This answer shows strong leadership skills.
"Stay calm, and thank the team for their time. The next step is for me to identify what caused the delay and to fix it in the near future."
This is the answer of a great leader! Nice job.
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