Leadership - Interview Questions

Companies today are looking for leadership skills not only from employees with leadership, supervisory, and managerial roles - but also from employees who are individual contributors.

Irrespective of whether you are fresh out of college looking for your first job, or you have years or decades of experience; you will be asked questions in your job interview to evaluate your leadership skills and abilities.

Leadership questions are usually asked in below format.

'Tell me about an occasion where you’ve demonstrated leadership skills.'
'Tell me about a time where you’ve taken the lead on a difficult job.'
'Tell me about a time when you have successfully delegated responsibilities.'

Leadership Traits

Leadership traits are success factors that make a great leader. Use these success traits to prepare for and answer your leadership interview questions.

Some Key leadership traits are -

Emotional Intelligence
Team Building
Decision making

STAR Method

- The STAR method is one of the most effective and popular methods of preparing for and answering behavioral interview questions. If you are not familiar with the STAR method then you can first read about it here [STAR Method], and then come back to review below questions.

Using the STAR method, along with leadership traits, will help you craft impactful answers to Leadership interview questions.

What leadership skills do you find the most useful?

 FAQLeadership Traits

By asking this question the interviewer wants to assess your leadership experience.

Take the opportunity of this question and showcase your leadership skills, leadership style, and leadership experience.

Use leadership traits in your answer, but do not just give a one liner like 'I find team building skills to be the most useful.'. Follow it up with one or more concrete examples from your past jobs where you demonstrated this skill successfully.

Best way to do this is to keep your STAR stories ready and answer in the STAR method.

How do you describe your leadership style?

 FAQLeadership Traits

By asking this question the interviewer wants to access your leadership skills

There are several different styles of leadership that will benefit a variety of organizations and teams, depending on the niche and administration. Review the various leadership styles, and decide which of them best fits your approach. You may find that you prefer combining two styles or that certain situations require one style, while other situations need another. Understanding what these types of leadership mean will help you describe your own leadership strategy correctly during your interview. Give an example of your leadership and the outcomes of your efforts.

I call myself a transformational leader because I empower my team to set targets that are closely associated with the priorities of the organization. Under my previous job, I met with the members of the team every quarter to evaluate the company's priorities and assess the success of overall team objectives. We realized during one of our meetings that our new target was too department-focused and that we had lost track of how it benefited the company. We adjusted our team goal to address clearly the quality issues which affected our business. I also held individual meetings with each team guide to help them in outlining their personal, organizational goals. For example, one of my team members wanted to produce twice as many outcomes, so we worked together to refine her target to produce a smaller number of outcomes with better quality and assurance rating. This transformative leadership style helped my team to achieve an overall company target and improve the overall quality of our work.

What was a tough decision you had to make as a leader, and why did you take that decision?

 FAQDecision Making

Decisiveness is one of the key hallmarks of a successful leader. As a leader you have to make decisions, and some of these decisions are tough to make - potentially impacting projects, teams, clients etc.

Answer this question using the STAR method, taking an example from your one of your previous jobs where you took a tough decision. Craft your answer in such a way that you showcase your other leadership traits in addition to Decisiveness - such as Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, Teamwork etc.

How do you build a successful team?

 FAQTeam Building

Building and developing cohesive teams that work together efficiently to achieve the goals and visions laid out by a leader - is a key leadership trait. As a leader you have to hire and fire team members, develop and nurture them, motivate them, delegate efficiently, and manage conflicts among them.

Answer this question using the STAR method, taking an example from your one of your previous jobs where you built a successful team. Craft your answer in such a way that you showcase your other leadership traits in addition to team building - such as Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, Vision, Planning etc.

What is the most significant change that you brought to an organization?


Leaders are visionaries, and that's what differentiates leaders from managers.

To prepare for this question refer back to your past jobs and list down your work and achievements that contributed positively to the organization.

It need not be a dramatic change, it could be an innovative project that added, a task that added to the revenue stream, a new client etc.

Give an example of a time when you demonstrated strong leadership skills.


Situation: In my previous role as a team lead, we faced a major crisis when a key team member unexpectedly quit.

Task: As the leader, it was crucial for me to quickly address the situation and ensure minimal disruption to the project.

Action: I immediately held a team meeting to assess the impact and reassign responsibilities. I also personally stepped in to fill the gap temporarily.

Result: Despite the setback, we successfully completed the project on time and within budget. The experience strengthened the team's trust in my leadership.

Describe a situation where you had to motivate and inspire your team to achieve a challenging goal.


Situation: Our company was tasked with launching a new product within an aggressive timeline.

Task: As the leader, I needed to motivate my team to go above and beyond their regular duties and work collaboratively towards the goal.

Action: I organized regular team meetings to communicate the importance of the project and the potential impact on our company's success. I recognized individual and team achievements and provided continuous feedback and support.

Result: Through effective motivation and inspiration, my team exceeded expectations and successfully launched the product, resulting in increased revenue and recognition for their efforts.

Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict within your team.


Situation: Two team members had a disagreement that was negatively impacting the team's dynamics and productivity.

Task: As the leader, it was essential to address the conflict promptly and find a resolution that satisfied both parties.

Action: I scheduled a private meeting with each team member to understand their perspectives. Then, I facilitated a calm and respectful discussion where both individuals could express their concerns. We worked together to find common ground and identify a mutually beneficial solution.

Result: The conflict was successfully resolved, and the team members were able to rebuild their working relationship. The experience highlighted my ability to mediate conflicts and maintain a harmonious team environment.

Can you provide an example of a time when you delegated tasks effectively to achieve a goal?


Situation: We had a complex project with multiple deliverables and a tight deadline.

Task: As the leader, I needed to delegate tasks strategically to ensure efficient project execution and optimize team members' strengths.

Action: I carefully assessed each team member's skills and assigned tasks accordingly, considering their expertise and development goals. I communicated clear expectations, provided necessary resources, and established regular check-ins to monitor progress.

Result: By effectively delegating tasks, we achieved our goal within the given timeframe, and each team member felt empowered and motivated by their contribution.

Tell me about a time when you faced resistance to change as a leader. How did you handle it


Situation: I proposed a new initiative that would streamline our processes and improve efficiency within the team.

Task: As the leader, I needed to address resistance to change and gain buy-in from team members to successfully implement the initiative.

Action: I organized team meetings to present the rationale behind the proposed changes and the potential benefits. I actively listened to concerns, addressed them with empathy, and provided support to team members who struggled with the transition. I also involved key stakeholders in the decision-making process to ensure a sense of ownership and collaboration.

Result: Over time, the resistance diminished, and the team embraced the changes, leading to increased productivity and positive outcomes.

Describe a situation where you had to make a tough decision as a leader.


Situation: We were faced with a budget shortfall, and I had to make a difficult decision to lay off a few team members.

Task: As the leader, I had to consider the financial stability of the company while also showing empathy towards affected employees.

Action: I carefully analyzed the situation and explored alternative solutions, such as reducing expenses in other areas. However, after thorough evaluation, I determined that layoffs were unavoidable. I scheduled one-on-one meetings with the affected employees, explained the situation transparently, and provided resources to support their transition.

Result: Although the decision was tough, it ensured the financial sustainability of the company and demonstrated my ability to make difficult choices while maintaining compassion for the well-being of my team.

Can you share an example of a time when you successfully led a team through a period of significant change or uncertainty?


Situation: Our organization underwent a major restructuring, resulting in significant changes to team structures, reporting lines, and job responsibilities.

Task: As the leader, it was essential to provide clarity, support, and guidance to ensure a smooth transition during the uncertain period.

Action: I organized town hall meetings to communicate the reasons behind the restructuring and addressed team members' concerns. I provided personalized support to team members by conducting one-on-one meetings, discussing their career aspirations, and helping them navigate the changes effectively.

Result: Through open communication and personalized support, my team successfully adapted to the changes, maintaining high morale and productivity throughout the transition.

Tell me about a time when you had to lead a team with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.


Situation: I was tasked with leading a cross-functional team composed of individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds and expertise.

Task: As the leader, I needed to foster a collaborative and inclusive environment that leveraged the strengths of each team member.

Action: I organized team-building activities to build trust and understanding among team members. I encouraged open dialogue and active listening to ensure all perspectives were heard and respected. I also facilitated regular knowledge-sharing sessions to promote cross-functional learning and collaboration.

Result: By valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity, my team achieved higher levels of innovation and creativity, leading to improved project outcomes.

Can you give an example of a time when you mentored or developed a team member to reach their full potential?


Situation: I noticed a team member with great potential but lacking confidence and necessary skills to take on more significant responsibilities.

Task: As the leader, it was important for me to provide guidance and mentorship to help the individual grow professionally and reach their full potential.

Action: I scheduled regular one-on-one meetings to understand the team member's aspirations and career goals. I identified development opportunities and assigned challenging tasks while providing guidance and constructive feedback. I also recommended relevant training programs and connected the individual with internal mentors.

Result: With consistent mentorship and support, the team member gained confidence, developed new skills, and eventually took on a leadership role within the organization, showcasing their full potential.

Describe a situation where you had to lead a team to overcome a significant setback or failure.


Situation: Our team experienced a major setback when a critical project deliverable was not met on time, jeopardizing the entire project's success.

Task: As the leader, I needed to rally the team and devise a plan to recover from the setback and prevent further negative impact.

Action: I called for an emergency meeting to assess the situation and understand the underlying causes of the failure. I fostered a blame-free environment and encouraged team members to share their perspectives openly. Together, we developed a recovery plan, identified process improvements, and redistributed tasks to ensure the project's success.

Result: Through collaborative problem-solving and a resilient attitude, we were able to overcome the setback, deliver the project successfully, and apply the lessons learned to enhance our future performance.

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Behavioral - Interview Questions

LeadershipTeamworkTime ManagementConflict ManagementProblem Solving
Behaviorial Interview
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