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 making sure you tell the interviewer exactly what they’re expecting to hear.

Most people think this interview question is only pertinent for those who are 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 signs of leadership to the rest of your team, increasing overall morale.

Let's go ahead and dig into how you can answer this question in an effective way.

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:

One layer above this would be trying to map and understand your team's motivations so that you can better achieve 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 that 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 was about 12 of us in the team. And I realized after the first few weeks 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 to 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 my previous company, we had a few weeks to complete a really important project. There was 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 needs of the project. 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 ones to take the onus on our performance and say there are a few things we can improve next time. The fact that I wasn’t scared to admit that we tried, did our best but learned some lessons 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.”

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams.

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