The interviewer would like to know about your personal experience with poor leadership. As a manager, it is essential that you can recognize poor leadership. Discuss with the interviewer how you can identify a weak leader vs. a talented one.
"When I was just 15 I took on a job as a salesperson in an athletic shoe store. The manager that we had was not well trained and thought that he needed to demand respect to be a good leader. This attitude created high employee turnover and low productivity. Even though I was very young, I learned a great deal from this experience. As a leader, one should never demand respect but should earn it."
"Earlier in my career, I had a boss who just yelled all day long. When he wasn't affecting the mood in the office, he would send mean emails or call in just to say something rude. It was like something out of a movie. It ended up being a running joke amongst the staff. He thought he was "respected" because he tried to manage through fear. I learned very early on in my career, thanks to him, you attract more flies with honey."
"We are all flawed, and that is the beauty of human dynamics. One of the worst supervisors I had, always operated in a reactive mode. They could not anticipate change and solve problems before they manifested. It made my desire to be a proactive leader difficult but shaped me into handling these types of situations better."
"I have not had a bad boss, but I can certainly tell you about a professor I had when taking my degree in marketing. He was always late, would rarely hand assignments back in time, and left a lot of students hanging. It was my first taste of relying on someone who never delivered. I operate completely differently than that - many thanks to this particular example I had early on."
"When I worked in a restaurant in high school, a new manager came in and seemed to think that to be taken seriously as a young female, she needed to be especially brutal. I believe her tactic was intended to be hard at first, gain respect, then ease up. However, she was so off-putting that most of the staff quit. As a young female manager now, I can appreciate her dilemma with being taken seriously. However, I learned early on that being hard and rude is a fine line, and one best not cross that line. I believe there are more efficient ways to gain the respect of your team."
"I'd say my worst supervisor was a VP of Sales who was hired to bring clarity and unity to the team. However, he ultimately was more of a busybody who seemed more interested in making friends than learning the industry and leading the team. This situation was frustrating as it inhibited my growth as a salesperson and into a leadership role. It seemed he was so busy making friends and being liked that he forgot why he was brought on. It has reminded me always to be friendly and kind, but be ready to lead my team and keep them on the task at the same time."
"I have worked with many great teachers in my career; however, when I was first teaching, I was the TA for an educator who was ready to retire. She had one foot out the door, and everyone knew it. I did not appreciate her style because I felt that if she were ready to go, then she should have just done so and spared the kids that year. I swore to myself that I would always remain engaged until the day I fully retire. My students deserve the best from me, every day."