Tell Me About A Time When You Demonstrated Leadership Skills

a picture of business person and tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills

At almost anytime during the interview, you might hear the question, “Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills.” Having a prepared answer for this behavioral interview question will go a long way in ensuring you tell the interviewer exactly what they’re expecting to hear.

Most people think this interview question is only pertinent for those applying for management positions or operations positions. But that’s not true. More commonly, this question is asked of those who are individual contributors. That’s because the interviewer wants to understand how you might show leadership signs to the rest of your team, increasing overall morale.

Let's go ahead and dig into how you can effectively answer this question.

What The Answer Should Contain

When you are thinking about answering this question, you should be sure that you highlight the situation but also ensure that you highlight a few other components. They would be:

  • The number of people you demonstrated leadership to
  • What your particular leadership action was
  • A strong correlation between the leadership action and the job function that you are applying for
  • The impact your action had on the business or other team members
  • A relatable example so that the interviewer feels comfortable with your answer

One layer above this would be trying to map and understand your team's motivations to achieve better the companies' overall goals, all within this situation that you are putting in place for the interviewer. This can be very difficult to do in one fell swoop. But if you can find the perfect example from your past, utilize it.

Related: 13 Behavioral Interview Questions & Answers: Guide, How To Answer

The STAR Method With Behavioral Interview Questions

Since this interview question starts with “Tell me about a time” that means this question is classified as a behavioral interview question. This is when the interviewer is searching for a situation that you were apart of and how you demonstrated particular skill sets to get out of that situation.

The STAR method is Situation/Task, Action, Result/Resolution. And that’s how you should be thinking about the way you answer. Set up the situation you were in, the action you took, and the result it had on the situation as a whole. That is how we can briefly cover the STAR method.

Related: 6 Underutilized Leadership Skills For The Workplace Or Resume

2 Example Answers To “Tell Me About A Time When You Demonstrated Leadership Skills”

“When I was at my previous company, there was a couple of weeks where we had a lot of our managers leave the company. It was a hard time for our employees and team members. They felt as though their job security might be in question. There were about 12 of us on the team. After the first few weeks, I realized that our team wasn’t getting together to discuss our work in progress. The previous manager was the facilitator of that. So I decided to step in and schedule a meeting where we could all discuss our work. It was a moment where I don’t think we consciously realized how important those meetings were for our team. And everyone was appreciative of the fact that I recalled those meetings and made sure we kept doing them.”

“When I was in my previous company, we had a few weeks to complete a significant project. There were about 12 of us involved in this project. And our team felt a little uneasy about the fact that we didn’t have a strong grasp of the project's needs. We continued forward and, unfortunately, made a few mistakes. The management team wasn’t entirely pleased with our team performance. I was one of the first to take the onus on our performance and say there are a few things we can improve next time. I wasn’t scared to admit that we tried our best but learned some lessons that made the rest of the employees follow suit. Management respected us for taking ownership and gave us another shot on another project. We crushed that one.”

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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