Companies are shifting from strict technical questions to more behavioral questions during interviews. It has become a norm, especially for Fortune 5000 Companies. These questions seek to elucidate how the candidates have shown specific requisite skills in the past.
One of the most tested areas in behavioral questions is leadership. Companies want to employ people who can lead and be at the forefront of change. These questions are also asked for entry-level positions as companies prefer hiring people who have leadership potential.
This article covers some of the most common behavioral questions about leadership that you should expect in any interview setting. Keep in mind that your answers don’t have to be founded on the job-leadership role. You can also speak about your leadership experience from hobbies, clubs, or even volunteering.
Let’s take a look at some of these questions:
1. Tell Me About a Time When You Demonstrated Leadership Skills
You don’t need a title to be a leader. The interviewer wants to know if you can lead without necessarily occupying a higher position than others.
Tip #1: Your answer should be clear and highlight the main question.
Tip #2: Give a convincing experience.
During our last camping experience, our supervisor fell ill and had to be rushed to the hospital. We had no leader, and therefore, I chose to step up. I organized other members into new groups, continued with the underway projects, and even drafted a report after we were done. I also ensured that everyone got home safe.
2. What Would You Do If You Have Several Tasks and a Tight Deadline?
The interviewer expects you to get things done as a leader, whether through motivating others or any other means. Therefore, convince him/ her that you are up to the task.
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Tip #1: The best way to complete several tasks and meet the set deadlines is through delegation.
Tip #2: You cannot successfully multitask as a leader. It should not, therefore, be an option.
I will delegate work that my subordinates can easily handle and focus on those that are exclusively meant for me. Through this, I will be able to get things done faster and right on time.
3. How Would You Handle a Disagreement in Your Team?
A leader needs to know how to resolve conflicts effectively. Conflict resolution is a core part of any management role.
Tip #1: Show the interviewer that you can successfully handle conflicts.
Tip #2: Show that you have the right skills to succeed in such a situation.
Conflicts are regular occurrences in any job setting. Whenever there is a conflict, my first step would be putting myself in the parties’ shoes. I will then use my active listening skills and allow the parties to present their cases. I’d then use probing questions after summarizing my understanding of the situation and strike a conversation that will offer a resolution. I’ll then work with the parties to find a reasonable compromise until a suitable option is found.
4. How Would You Respond If a Member of Your Team Came to You with a New Idea?
Leadership involves listening to other people’s ideas and thoughts. The way you behave when approached with a new idea will tell whether you are a good leader or not.
Tip #1: You must show the interviewer that you are open to new ideas.
Tip #2: You should create an environment where other team members feel free to offer new ideas.
I believe in open conversations and a friendly workplace. Therefore, when approached with new ideas, I will listen to the team member before starting a conversation to clarify some points. I will then present it to other team members and discuss it widely and improve it further.
5. Tell Me About A Time When Something Went Wrong at Work and You Took Control
Even though most people can lead, they lack the passion for doing it. The interviewer wants t know if you are motivated to lead your team into victory.
Tip #1: Reveal that you are passionate
Tip #2: Your answer should be clear and precise
My manager was once locked in a leadership conference for hours. The casual laborers who wanted their weekly wage became apprehensive, with some of them threatening to storm the office unless they were paid. I left my desk, went to quell them, apologized, managed to organize them in groups, and when my manager finally appeared, he took less than thirty minutes to sort out the multitude.
6. Tell Me About the Most Challenging Team That You Have Ever Led?
The interviewer wants to know if you can adequately quell office tension and prevent it from affecting your team culture. Remember, the difficulty of your team should not negatively harm employee engagement and productivity.
Tip #1: Show the interviewer that you are a peacemaker.
Tip #2: Do not badmouth your team members.
I was once appointed to supervise a team where most members were rivals. There arose conflicts all the time, which threatened team results. I had to intervene and made them iron out their issues when I took over. We had a long meeting and came up with a way forward. It was successful.
7. Tell Me About a Time When You Had to Work on a Job That You’ve Never Done Before?
This question is testing whether you are adaptable or not. Keep in mind that leaders should be able to adapt to different challenges.
Tip #1: Give an example where you proved that you are a force to reckon with.
Tip #2: Show that you can handle any situation.
I was given some accounts to work on during my former job. Even though I had learned them in school, they were not my areas of specialization. Instead of complaining, I did some research before commencing and did excellent work before the set deadline.
8. Have You Ever Had to Think Outside the Box?
The interviewer is testing your creativity, which is an essential skill for any leader.
Tip #1: Show that you can think out of the box.
Tip #2: Give a credible experience
I once led a team of campers. We noticed that we had run out of matches out in the woods, and our lighters weren’t working. I looked for a few stones, stroke them against one another until we had a fire. I ensured that it burnt for the two days we were there.
9. How Would You Persuade People to Do Something As a Leader?
The interviewer is testing your negotiation skills. A leader should be able to negotiate without using threats or intimidation.
Tip #1: Do not use threats.
Tip #2: You are not always right. You have to negotiate.
The best way to persuade people to do what they want is to listen to them. I will listen to their ideas and concerns and work on them, making them indebted to me.
10. What Is the Most Challenging Decision That You’ve Had to Make? How Did You Arrive at It?
The interviewer wants to know if you are a good decision-maker. Remember, this is an essential part of leadership.
Tip #1: Do not show that you take too many risks.
Tip #2: Show that you are level-headed and open-minded.
I had to decide between two methods. One was risky but ensured optimum success. The other one was less risky, but the results were not as much. I called other team members and stakeholders to help me decide, and the method we chose turned out to be a success.
11. How Did You Handle Staff Members’ Development in The Past?
Your people skills are being put to the test.
Tip #1: You should encourage the development of your staff members.
Tip #2: Show that you are passionate about developing other employees.
I made the company come up with different training programs for employees, which proved highly successful.
12. Describe a Time When You Took Up an Informal Leadership Role in Your Team.
The interviewer wants to know if you can lead without being an official manager.
Tip #1: Show passion for leadership.
Tip#2: Your example should paint you in a good light.
My manager once called sick. I decided to temporarily act in his capacity, albeit unofficially, and coordinated other employees. I felt that we needed someone to guide us, and I was not going to stand back.
13. Tell Me About a Time When You Had to Manage Several People. How Did You Handle It?
The interviewer wants to know if you can adjust your leadership style to suit a given work team.
Tip #1: Show that you are flexible.
Tip #2: Show that you are a team worker
I put them into teams and appointed team leaders. All the teams worked together with my coordination, and we had results by evening.
14. What Are Some of The Obstacles That You Have Managed When Going About A Given Task?
Can you overcome obstacles when leading a diverse team?
Tip #1: Show that you are a problem solver.
Tip #2: Show that you are best suited for the role at hand.
I once worked with a team where members spoke different languages. We had to find common ground and spent the next one month learning basic English. We managed o work together, and by the end of the project, everyone could speak English.
15. Have You Ever Taken Up a Leadership Role Outside Work? Why?
The interviewer wants to know whether you are a leader outside the work environment.
Tip #1: Show your readiness to lead.
Tip #2: Exude passion
In our book club, the group leader went abroad for further studies. I decided to step up and coordinate group activities since other members seemed to be busy all through.
16. Have You Ever Motivated a Team to Improve Their Performance?
The interviewer wants to know if your leadership actions can motivate others to d better.
Tip# 1: Show that you can influence others.
Tip #2: Your answer should be affirmative.
I am a renowned team worker. When I joined my last position as a manager, I noticed that the employees were taught to work independently. I sought to do away with this and organized them into teams. Team working became a norm, and the company achieved more than they had targeted.
17. What Do You Consider Your Most Significant Leadership Achievement?
The interviewer wants to know how you measure success.
Tip #1: Your achievement should involve other employees.
Tip #2: You can mention the steps that you used to achieve your goals.
During my former role, I completely changed the office operation from independent working to team working. We even scraped the layout and adopted an open design to enhance easy consultation among workers. The results were overwhelming.
18. What Are Some of The Lessons You Have Leant So Far?
The interview wants you to show that you can learn from a mistake.
Tip #1: Give a credible experience
Tip #2: Never badmouth other employees.
My first project turned out to be a flop. Upon reflection, I found out that I was overly pushing the employees. I learned that I should give them more apace during future projects and let them develop different ideas.
19. How Did You Motivate Employees When You Faced a Tough Situation?
All leaders face tough times, which may interfere with employee morale.
Tip #1: Show that you can build a sense of common purpose.
Tip #2: Show that you can handle both the internal and external vision of the organization.
I came clean to the employees and told them what was happening, which helped me win their trust. We then had a meeting, and they suggested different ideas. After hours of deliberation, we chose the best ones and vowed to work on them. It was successful.
20. What Are Some of The Ways You’ve Used to Gain Commitment from Your Subordinates?
Leaders gain commitment by influencing and persuading the team.
Tip #1: Show that you can establish a spirit of cooperation.
Tip #2: Show that you promote a productive culture.
I persuade my teams to set objectives and buy into the process. I also encourage debate and ideas from the different stakeholders. This has helped me inspire a commitment to success.
These behavioral leadership questions cut across different careers. Therefore, ensure that you have the right answers before stepping into an interview room.