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5 minute read

Interview Preparation: Your Guide to Answering Leadership Questions

Are you a professional preparing for a job requiring strong leadership skills? Would you like to smoothly articulate how your past experiences and achievements uniquely qualify you for the role? Look no further, as this article is dedicated to helping you share your leadership potential in an authentic and impactful way during an interview.

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As a professional with leadership aspirations, you know that walking into an interview with a canned response won’t cut it. Instead, you need to be able to draw upon your experiences and confidently share your leadership skills in a way that sets you apart from the competition. 

Our approach is all about ditching the script and confidently demonstrating your leadership potential. We’ll guide you through reflecting on your past achievements, identifying your unique leadership skills, and crafting authentic stories that resonate with interviewers. Join us on this journey of self-discovery and learn how to share your leadership skills confidently in any interview setting. Let’s get started!

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The STAR method for effective responses

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In many ways, an interview is a dramatic performance—you have limited time to captivate your audience and convey a compelling narrative. The STAR method is fantastic for crafting stories that resonate with your interviewers.


The ‘S’ in STAR stands for ‘Situation,’ which is the background to your story. Describe a scenario from your past that demonstrates a particular leadership trait. For instance, you might recount leading a team through a particularly challenging time at a previous job or your role in a successful project launch.


The ‘T’ stands for ‘Task,’ and it’s all about defining what needs to be done. Be specific about the challenge or objective and ensure it requires leadership to tackle. Express what was at stake and your expectations in resolving the matter.


Then, you have ‘Action’—what you actually did. This is the meat of your story, detailing the steps you took to address the situation. This is where you illustrate your hands-on approach and the tactical decisions that led to success.


Finally, there’s ‘Result,’ where you explain the successful outcome of your actions. Be sure to speak to the concrete benefits your leadership delivered. Did you increase efficiency? Boost morale? Save the company money? Speaking in results helps quantify your value as a leader.

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Additional tips for answering leadership questions

While the STAR method provides structure, sufficiently impressing interviewers with your answers requires a little more finesse.

Focus on achievements and results

Employers love numbers. They give concrete evidence of your success. Quantifying your impact is crucial, whether it’s a percentage increase in productivity or the number of team members you manage.

Be confident and enthusiastic

Leaders are passionate and sure of themselves. Exude confidence in your abilities without crossing the line into arrogance. Remember, you’re trying to sell your leadership style, not yourself.

Highlight your communication skills

Leadership is as much about guiding a vision as it is about the nitty-gritty of managing people and projects. The ability to clearly communicate your goals and the steps to achieve them sets apart good leaders from great ones.

Prepare stories and examples beforehand

Read the job description carefully and prepare a few stories about your leadership experiences that align with the company’s values and the role’s specific requirements.

Practice your responses

The last thing you want is to be tongue-tied in your interview. Rehearse your STAR question responses until you can deliver them with confidence and spontaneity.

What is leadership?

Leadership is a dazzling gem – inspiring others towards shared goals. It’s about igniting passion, delegating wisely, and fostering teamwork. 

Visionary leaders shine a light, fueling enthusiasm. They know when to pass the torch, showing faith in their team. Collaborative leaders unite strengths, reaching new heights together. Successful leadership blends skills, traits, and strategies into a timeless masterpiece.

Identifying your unique leadership styles

Finding your leadership style can be a bit puzzling if you need help figuring out where to begin. So, here are the steps to uncovering your unique leadership style and unlocking your full leadership potential!

Step 1: Getting to know yourself

The first step in discovering your leadership style is to get to know yourself better. Take time to reflect on past experiences where you may have exhibited leadership qualities. 

Questions to ask yourself: What did you do instinctively? Did you take charge, delegate tasks, inspire others, or collaborate effectively? These tendencies can offer insight into your natural leadership style. 

Step 2: Know your core values

Knowing your core leadership values is crucial for effective leadership. Your values serve as a compass, guiding your decisions, actions, and behaviours. When you clearly understand your values, you can align them with your leadership approach, creating a clear and consistent message in leading teams. 

Questions to ask yourself: What drives you as a leader? Are you motivated by innovation, results, or building strong relationships? 

Step 3: Understand your strengths and weaknesses

As a leader, identifying your strengths and weaknesses is crucial to developing your leadership style. Once you have identified your strengths, leverage them by delegating tasks that align with them or mentoring others who can benefit from your skills.

Questions to ask yourself: What do you excel at? What do you struggle with? What scenario made you develop them? 

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Step 4: Find your leadership style

Having followed the steps above, you now have a clearer understanding of yourself. It’s time to delve into your leadership style. Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate each leadership style.

Transformational leadership is practical when you have a clear vision for the future and must inspire and motivate your team to achieve extraordinary results. Leaders like Nelson Mandela or Steve Jobs can excite people about working towards a common goal.

Servant leadership is another popular style that prioritises the needs of followers and creates a supportive environment where everyone can thrive. A Servant leader prioritises empowering their team and helping them grow personally and professionally. Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi or Florence Nightingale have been known to embody this approach.

Transactional leadership focuses on clear expectations and rewards. This style of leadership is suitable for well-defined tasks and established procedures. These leaders provide direction, set goals, and offer incentives for achieving them.

Participative leadership values collaboration and involves team members in decision-making. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and shared responsibility and encourages input and ideas.

Authoritarian leadership is a directive style in which the leader makes decisions without much input from others. This approach is helpful in crises or when clear direction is needed, but it can stifle creativity and motivation in the long run.

Delegative leadership, also known as Laissez-Faire leadership, is when leaders give their teams a lot of autonomy and trust them to get the job done without much oversight. This approach works well with experienced and self-motivated teams. Still, it can lead to confusion or lack of direction if not managed carefully.

Coaching leadership is focused on developing team members’ skills and potential. This leadership style provides constructive feedback, guidance, and support to help team members grow and learn.

Charismatic leadership uses personal charm, personality, and vision to inspire and motivate others. This approach can be practical at rallying people behind a cause, but its success can be tied to the leader’s personal presence.

It is essential to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership. You could be one or a few of the above. Good leaders are adaptable and able to shift their leadership style as necessary to meet the changing needs of their team and organisation.

A great way to share authentically about your leadership type, core values, and strengths in your interview is to reflect on a specific experience. Perhaps you led a successful project at work or volunteered to organise a community event. Think about what worked well and what didn’t. What skills did you have that you utilised during the experience? How did your values impact your decision-making?

From there, you’ll be able to craft authentic stories that impress any interviewer.

The leadership questions

When it comes to leadership interviews, they usually ask specific questions to get a feel for how you lead. These questions can generally be grouped into a few categories, each revealing qualities important for effective leadership.

“Tell me about a time you had to take initiative to solve a problem.”

Initiative and problem-solving questions are designed to evaluate how well a candidate takes charge of a situation and how they approach problem-solving. The candidate’s response to this question will give the interviewer insight into their ability to identify issues and take action to resolve them.

“Describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision under pressure.”

Decision-making questions assess a candidate’s ability to make tough decisions under pressure. The candidate’s response to this question will demonstrate their ability to handle stress and make sound decisions even in challenging situations.

“How do you motivate and inspire your team members?”

Team building and motivation questions evaluate how well candidates can motivate and inspire their team members. The candidate’s response will reveal their ability to understand their team members’ needs and how to create an environment that fosters motivation and teamwork.

“Give an example of a time you had to mediate a conflict within your team.”

Conflict resolution questions assess a candidate’s ability to mediate conflicts within their team. The candidate’s response to this question will show their ability to address conflicts constructively and maintain a positive work environment.

“Explain your approach to delegating tasks and holding team members accountable.”

Delegation and accountability questions evaluate how well a candidate delegates tasks and holds team members accountable. The candidate’s response will demonstrate their ability to delegate tasks effectively and ensure everyone on the team meets their responsibilities.


Ultimately, preparing for leadership questions is an investment in your future. Not only does it help you secure that coveted leadership role, but the efforts you put into reflecting on your past experiences can provide significant clarity and confidence as you take on new challenges.

Having real-life experiences ready for each leadership category is crucial when facing interview questions. Being prepared to share personal experiences authentically will showcase your leadership abilities effectively and prevent feeling caught off guard during the interview.

Remember, leadership is not just about a title or position—it’s about how you inspire others, manage change, and drive outcomes. When you can showcase your abilities clearly, structured, and compellingly, you’re more likely to leave a lasting impression on your interviewers and, ultimately, secure the role you aspire to.

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