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How do you react when your team misses a deadline?

1 of 30 Leadership Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on February 4th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
How to Answer

Missed deadlines are never good and can reflect poorly on you, as a leader. The interviewer would like to understand better how you react to disappointment and plans not going your way. Give an example of a time when your team missed a deadline and walk the interviewer through the action that you took.

Professional Answer Examples
Answer example

"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."

Answer example

"When my team misses a deadline it is disappointing, for sure. 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."

Answer example

"Deadlines are reached as a team, and they are missed as a team. I truly believe that. When a deadline is missed, 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."

Answer example

"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."

Answer example

"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, 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 them. We worked at a fast pace, but also supported each other, yet we still missed. I congratulated my team on pulling together, and then we made a plan to ensure we were prepared, should this type of situation happen again."

Answer example

"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. We assess, and pivot."

Answer example

"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, and I am the leader so, for that reason, if a deadline is missed I will always reflect internally, first."

Accounting Clerk
Answer example

"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."

Written by:

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 08/06/2018
Last modified on: 02/04/2019
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