What are the main qualities of a great manager? Is it leadership? Is it great ideas? It’s both of those and more. One of the most important qualities of a great manager is the ability to manage lots of different personalities in a way that makes each one feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
Behavioral Interview Question: What is the toughest group that you have ever had to lead? What were the obstacles? How did you handle the situation?
This is a question asked primarily to those that are applying for management positions, especially if they have already had a management position in the past. It forms part of your management style and it is a a great opportunity to show that you are capable of handling any situation thrown at you. There are 5 key steps for leading any difficult group:
- Maintaining Order
- Communicating Effectively
- Openly Listening
- Analyzing Outcomes and Possibilities
- Assigning Tasks Fairly
When you’re in charge of a group of people that are having difficulties working together, those abilities listed above are important for great leadership, and ideally should be displayed in your answer. Keep in mind that, as usual with behavioral interview questions, you should never say anything negative about any group member or speak too highly of yourself without giving credit to others.
“I was product Manager for BRAND X and we were workington a product launch. The project team working on the launch were all managers themselves, used to being in leadership positions that were suddenly expected to take direction from someone that was considered their equal in the workplace hierarchy. Since I knew that they were going to have strong opinions, I started by opening the floor for discussion so that they didn’t feel like I was suddenly in charge. We discussed the project’s needs, and I evaluated the tasks they sounded confident in completing themselves. After it was all over I created a summary of the events and discussion, and handed out tasks based on what I felt were the best ideas, and showed how all of their thoughts could be weaved together. I also made sure that if I wasn’t going with an idea that someone presented, I explained why thoroughly so they didn’t feel as if I was ignoring their thoughts.”
If you’ve led more than one project before, it’s important to try to figure out which project had the best outcome, but the most challenges along the way. Then frame that answer into one that shows you were able to maintain leadership. If you cannot think of a good example for this question, then consider talking about the first time you ever led a project and what it was like leading unique personalities for the first time.