6 Common Interview Questions About Leadership (With Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 4 October 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Professionals in various careers can apply leadership skills to encourage and motivate their team members. Whether you're applying for a team position or a management role, a hiring manager may ask questions to learn more about your leadership styles and skills. Reviewing common leadership interview questions and sample answers can help you prepare for your next job interview. In this article, we explore common interview questions about leadership and provide sample responses to help you create your own answers.
6 common interview questions about leadership
While every interview can vary depending on your industry and position, here are six common questions about leadership you may expect to address during your next interview, if you're applying for a managerial or leadership role:
1. What leadership skills do you find most useful?
The hiring manager may ask you this interview question to learn more about your interpersonal skills or leadership style. Certain roles, such as a supervisor or manager, may require specific leadership skills. To answer this question effectively, consider customising your response to the specific position while demonstrating your personal talents or skills. You can include skills such as team building, motivation and communication.
Example: "Although communication skills, such as active listening and intentional body language, can help me become a good leader, holding myself accountable is important to lead by example. In my last role, we created a new dress code policy, and the management asked me to enforce it as a supervisor. I discussed the new policy, clearly outline what new clothing items were acceptable and provide a deadline for when the new policy went into full effect.
At the next shift, I wore the new uniform to show my team what the appropriate dress code looked like and to demonstrate how it was more comfortable than the old uniform. As a result, my team felt more confident switching to the new policy, and the whole team began following the dress code before the deadline.”
2. Describe your leadership style
There are several leadership styles that can benefit a range of teams and workplaces. Consider reviewing the different types of leadership and identify which best describes your approach. Depending on your situation, you can combine two styles. Understanding what these leadership styles require can help you properly explain your own approach to leadership during your job interview. Consider providing an example of your leadership and the results of your efforts.
Example: "I believe I'm a transformational leader because I encourage my team to set goals that align with the goals of the organisation. In my previous position, I met with my team every quarter to review the organisation's objectives and monitor the progress of the overall team goals. During one of our meetings, we found out that our most recent goal was too department-focused, and we can't determine how it helped the organisation. We modified our team goal to address quality problems that were affecting the organisation.
I also had a one-on-one meeting with each term member to help them outline personal workplace goals. For example, one of my team members wanted to accomplish twice as many deliverables, but we worked together to adjust his goals to have a lower number of deliverables with better quality assurance scores. This transformational leadership style helped my team to address an overall organisational goal and improve the overall quality of our work."
3. How do you make sure tasks and projects stay on schedule?
As a leader, it's your responsibility to effectively communicate the goals of your team and to ensure that your team meets due dates while delivering quality work. This question gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your organisation and time-management skills. To answer this question effectively, consider outlining what your task management process is, including how you set goals, communicate expectations and monitor progress. Make sure to discuss the results of your process to show you can lead a team in accomplishing important tasks.
Example: "When my team takes on a collaborative project, I begin by discussing the purpose or objective of the project. I then assign each team member individual tasks and deadlines. I find that when each team member knows the goals of the overall project, they can better understand how their role impacts the success of the project.
When we work on a project, I conduct team meetings regularly to allow individual team members to share their progress. To keep the team motivated, I try to celebrate their hard work. I also check with each team member to track their progress, resolve any deadline issues and give additional clarifications. Checking in with each team member regularly can help them feel more comfortable sharing if they need extra help. I find that the process of remaining available to my team and encouraging their success can help them stay focused and feel supported."
4. What's one personal experience you have had that helped you become a better leader?
The hiring manager may ask this interview question to learn more about your leadership passion and style. Leaders can bring their own style and personality into the office, and the hiring manager may want to determine how you fit into the company's work environment. To answer this question effectively, you can think of an opportunity outside of work that helped you improve your leadership skills. You can highlight your education, hobbies or other interests, such as personal connections or volunteer work.
Example: "My volunteer experience at Weston Animal Rescue facility has helped me improve my leadership skills. In this role, I have improved my interpersonal skills. At the animal rescue, I greeted incoming clients. I toured them around the facility, asked them a few questions and helped them find a new pet. During this experience, I improved not only my empathy skills but also my ability to connect with others. I believe these skills can help me connect with my coworkers and communicate effectively."
5. How do goals help you become a better leader?
Great leaders know how to set goals not only for themselves but also for their team. Tools like SMART goals can be useful in setting objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Consider discussing what goal-setting strategies you use when leading your team. You can provide them with an example of when you used the SMART method to help your team boost their productivity and meet their goal. If you're not already in a leadership role, you can explain how you set goals to practise leadership skills and why you think you have potential.
Example: "To accomplish tasks, my team works best when they know the specific task they need to complete and in what time frame. I use the SMART goal method to set daily, weekly and monthly objectives and guide my team's productivity. For instance, I wanted to ensure my team was able to complete inventory by the end of the week. I delegated specific daily tasks to my team members according to their individual strengths. I made a visual progress tracker so we can measure our daily objectives as we met our attainable end goal by our deadline.
I also met with my team regularly to make sure our timeline was still realistic and made tweaks to weekly objectives if other projects had to take priority. With this SMART goal method, my team was able to get the job done on time. This method can help me meet the needs of my team for clear instruction and motivation. I find that SMART goals can apply to a range of team needs, and I plan to apply this method to guide my future teams."
6. How do you handle misunderstandings on your team?
A good leader typically knows how to handle conflict at work and can negotiate without causing more tension. To answer this interview question effectively, you can use your communication and problem-solving skills to address misunderstandings in the workplace. Consider using the STAR method to illustrate a time when you mediated and resolved a challenging situation to keep your team focused.
Example: "I resolve misunderstanding between team members by encouraging open communication and establishing a positive environment. In my previous role at Greatview Health Care, I supervised a team of nurses. Two of my nurses had a misunderstanding because they had different approached to patient care. I scheduled a meeting so the three of us can meet to discuss the different approaches. I asked each nurse to explain their feelings and reasoning. I mediated the conversation to keep it positive and actionable.
At the end of the meeting, we've created a combined solution. We developed an alternative approach that combined strategies from both nurses involved."
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