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Interview Question -Tell Me About a Time You Demonstrated Leadership?

Tell Me About a Time You Demonstrated Leadership?

Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership? is a very important question in the interview. Keep reading this 4-step to know everything about the question.

Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership?


When interviewing for a job, it is common to be asked about your leadership skills and experience.

Of course, if you are applying for a management position or a position with a management component, questions such as “Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership?” are to be expected.

But this is not the only time these questions may be asked.


Some other formulas


There are many forms of the question, depending on the interviewer, including:

  • Tell me about a time when you showed leadership skills?
  • What time have you been driving?
  • Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills?
  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills.
  • Tell me about a time you took the lead on a difficult project.
  • When do you effectively delegate?
  • Describe a time when you were a role model.
  • Who have you coached or mentored for success?
  • Tell me about a time you chaired an important meeting.

Why does the interviewer ask you this question?


The goal is to find out if the candidate has real leadership potential. For more high-level roles (i.e. a position with direct reports), it is important to communicate your ability to leapfrog and take on a leadership role immediately.

The best way to do this is to prove that you have done this successfully in the past.

For other roles, the leadership challenge may be to lead and motivate people who don't report back to you.

For example, any role or position in project management requires obtaining cooperation and/or procurement from other departments.

For other positions (even entry-level jobs), companies ask about leadership because they want to hire people with leadership potential - individuals who can grow with the company and have superior potential.

Most companies want to hire the best of the best. The interviewer wants to know if you have what it takes to help lead the organization into the future.

How do you prepare for the answer?


When the interviewer asks you about your leadership style or a time when you have demonstrated leadership, he or she is interested in your leadership ability and potential.

They are interested not only in your ability to delegate, but also in other skills needed to manage a team, department or organization in general. It is therefore essential that you choose a suitable example to demonstrate your skills.

The examples you provide do not have to relate to direct leadership. You can imagine that if a company hires you, they may want to give you a promotion in time. 


Perhaps the company wants to hire someone who can lead by example and mentor or train new employees within a year and so on. In other words, find an example of a time you demonstrated leadership that relates to the requirements of the job you are applying for.

There are many reasons why an interviewer would ask about your leadership skills. Whatever the reason, the interviewer is looking for an answer that shows how it leads and how comfortable you are in doing so.

When interviewers ask about leadership, they are looking for specific qualities, including:

  • Organization and Decision Skills - Leaders can manage people and projects productively, and contribute to the company's business goals.
  • Persuasion and Negotiation - Leaders can drive action and implement change.
  • The ability to innovate - leaders come up with new ideas.
  • Self-confidence - leaders are not afraid to take responsibility.
  • Self Awareness - Leaders are confident in their abilities but also aware of their limitations. Good leaders delegate and trust career advice to their co-workers.
  • Ability to motivate and inspire - Leaders maximize the potential of their employees. They commend the exceptional efforts and are emulated in hard work and dedication.
  • Conflict Resolution - Leaders support their co-workers through difficult situations and find solutions to personal problems.

Examples to answer the question


The question “Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership?” includes some of the answers you can provide for specific situations:

Leading by example, has given me the best results with the teams I've worked with. When a new project starts, show leadership by taking the necessary actions to start the project and showing what needs to be done. I make sure I organize the team in such a way that everyone is on the same page. In this way, everyone understands their responsibilities to contribute to the project equally.

By clearly structuring my team, finding the strengths of all team members, and delegating tasks, we were able to achieve project success. Lots of projects were in collaboration with different departments, so team members would change. At the start of each new project, I will review all backgrounds to make sure each member gets the best out of them. Delegating tasks and combining the strengths of team members to create a team effort produced results that were impossible to obtain when each department worked separately.

Clear communication is one of my main skills. During projects, I facilitate an open and accessible environment to ensure that there are clear expectations, and there is open communication. By demonstrating confidence in the team and their ability to complete the project, I try to get the best out of each team member and get them to perform to the best of their abilities.

When I was at my previous company, there were two weeks where we had a lot of managers leave the company. It has been a difficult time for our staff and team members. They felt as if their job security might be called into question. There were about 12 of us on the team. And I realized after the first few weeks that our team had not met to discuss the progress of our work. The previous manager was the facilitator for that. So I decided to step in and schedule a meeting where we could all discuss our work. It was a moment when I don't think we consciously realized how important those meetings were to our team. And everyone was grateful for the fact that I remembered those meetings and made sure we continued to do them.

See: Why Do You Want to Change Your Career? - Interview Question
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