leadership picWhen it comes to interviews, different questions are asked for different posts and positions.
Clearly, there will be a one set of questions asked for the profile of a general manager and different set of questions asked to a sales person.

In the same vein, a different set of questions will be asked to a person who would be appointed to be a team leader, a manager or even a CEO.

One of the most important questions asked during such an interview is: ‘What type of leader are you?’ Or ‘How would you describe your leadership style’ or ‘Are you a leader or a follower?’

If you are ever asked to describe your leadership abilities and experience during a job interview, here are some tips to remember:

1. Are you a Leader or a Manager?
 Some interviewers may ask you whether you are a leader or a manager.
To reply to this question, you must first understand the difference between a leader and a manager. Management and leadership have very different meanings: a manager is a title and leader is a function. Management is a position and leadership is a skill.

2. Team Leadership versus Team Management 
A leader is someone who leads a team, and becomes a leader because of his or her skills and talents which are higher than those of the remainder of the group, while a manager is someone who is purposely hired to manage the operation of a team.
 A leader is recognized as a leader by his teammates because he possesses some influential personal traits that affect the group performance and activities.

2. What Makes a Leader?
 Leadership skills can be categorized as follows:

  • Sharing Information
  • Understanding Needs and Characteristics of the group
  • Knowing the Resources and skillful in their utilization/development
  • Controlling and Counseling
  • Setting the Example
  • Representing
  • Planning & Evaluating
  • Sharing leadership and Learning


4. What kind of a leader are you? Words that describe your leadership characteristics
 Some key personal traits that effectively describe leadership performance are: Initiator, Innovator and Originator, Decision Maker, Listener, Critical Thinker, Coacher, Inspiring, Motivating, Dominating, Goal Oriented and Vision/Planning Abilities.
Determine which of the above skills you possess and expound upon (illustrate) them in your answer. 

5. A True Leader Works With the Group
 The corporate world is altering quickly, and the general consensus nowadays is that a leader works side-by-side with the group, instead of merely delegating.
This is seen as the optimum path in today’s corporate world.

Do you display people orientated leadership? Are you essentially ‘people oriented’? It is known that a leader with no people who are willing to follow him (or her) is not a leader. The leader must maintain an effective interpersonal relationship with people resulting in an ongoing and growing network.
 He/she may present original thinking, a fresh ideal, a vision or a new path that attracts and motivates others to go after him without hesitations.


When you are questioned regarding your leadership style, try to integrate these points into your reply, along with some brief and concise examples portraying your leadership abilities in action. You may also wish to share leadership styles that you admire, and hope to emulate.

After reading this article, I recommend reading the following one which I’ve found really useful:

4 ways to become a leader people want to follow


In a few days, I will write about typical behavioural leadership interview questions and how to answer them.

If you would like to get some help with your career challenges/development, please answer a few questions at http://www.talkwithmargaret.com to apply for your complimentary discovery session.

If you’d like some help with answering competency-based questions related to your leadership style so that you make a great impression at your next interview, please email me on margaret@interview-coach.co.uk 


Margaret Buj is an Interview Coach who’s helped hundreds of professionals across Europe and the US to get the jobs and promotions they really wanted. Margaret also has 9 years of experience recruiting for a variety of positions at all levels across Europe and in the US, primarily in technology and e-commerce sectors. If you want to find out how recruiters read resumes, why you are not getting hired, how to sell yourself successfully in a job interview, and how to negotiate your best salary yet, you can download her FREE “You’re HIRED!” video course.



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