Job interview question and answer: Describe a situation where you had to show leadership

Kmitu |

If you’ve ever played a project manager, supervisory or managerial role at work, then this question is a piece of cake and you’ll have plenty of experience to call upon. Even if you haven’t done so in a formal role, you may have demonstrated your leadership skills by running a team meeting or organising something like an office sporting event or the office Christmas party.

However, if you’ve never played a leadership or management role at work, don’t panic. You can use any number of personal experiences to illustrate your leadership experience and potential. All it requires is a little lateral thinking.

For example, if you’ve ever taken the lead in organising a social event or group activity – a party, group trip, book club – then this can be used as an example. Or perhaps you were faced with some sort of dilemma or crisis that required quick decision-making and effective action on behalf of others – then that’s a good example too. Describe the situation, how you came to be in a leading role, the steps you took to keep things running smoothly, and the result – for example, a successful event or crisis averted.

As any parent knows, organising children and family activities and events requires strong leadership skills – from organising trips and outings to organising car pools or sports coaching. All can be used as examples of leadership experience.

The important thing is to demonstrate that with this experience you had to display qualities such as initiative, decisiveness, organisational abilities and the ability to manage, guide and motivate others. These are skills that can be transferred to any work context and will be invaluable to your future employer.

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