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Looking through the job boards, it may seem like every job wants their future hire to be a ‘good leader’ or to have ‘leadership skills.’ However, what exactly does this mean, and how do you showcase this seemingly arbitrarily measured skill to an interviewer at your next job interview?

Defining Leadership

The word ‘leadership’ is at risk of becoming one of those corporate buzz words, almost as vacuous as phrases like we have ‘an exciting opportunity’ for a ‘self-motivated,’ ‘team player’ with ‘lots of drive’ to work for a ‘forward-thinking company.’ Great sounding words, but they don’t really mean anything of substance.

Leadership, however, should carry with it the weight of the world. Whether you’re discussing leadership in IT, in an HR role, in marketing, or even in the recruitment sector, it’s a phrase that carries with it a lot of weight and expectation.

How to showcase your leadership skills

If you’ve been in a role where you took on significant amounts of leadership work, then you must present this well in your next interview.  

Here are three ways to do just that.

Discuss a time you stood up for what was right

Great leaders stand up for what they believe in. They take responsibility for their beliefs and opinions and take pride in leading the way rather than waiting at the back.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw, Playwright

While you don’t need to have started a revolution from your swivel chair, discussing times when you stood up for what you knew was right, even if it wasn’t popular, will show great leadership qualities.

Speak Confidently

Nothing comes across better in an interview than a quiet confidence that commands the room. Confidence is the foundation of leadership.

Speaking clearly, confidently, and calmly about your achievements without boasting or shying away from being proud will show that you are always looking to achieve. If you can also discuss how proud you are of the people you worked with on a particular project, this will win you brownie points for leadership skills.

Be Passionate

This is a bit of a different tip, but nothing shows off a good potential leader than someone discussing things they are passionate about.

Ideally, this should be in a work-related setting, perhaps a particular project you had a big hand in, or an idea of yours that was taken further and made a difference to the team or even the company, but your personal passions are just as important.

If you volunteer outside of work, perhaps planting trees, delivering food to the elderly, or coaching a kids’ football team, these are all great examples of fantastic leadership opportunities. This comes across even better when you are doing this of your own free will, in your own free time, and because you are passionate about helping people. It’s a win/win situation.

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