There are some parts of leadership that are completely inherent. You walk into a room and people notice your presence. You speak, and people quiet down. You listen, and someone else feels truly listened to.
But not all leadership is about the natural power you have over people. Much of it is based on planned, smart decision making and the ability to turn those leadership skills into action.
Behavioral Interview Question: What do you consider your greatest leadership achievement in the workplace? What steps did you take to achieve your goal?
Employers are looking for some type of plan. They want to believe that they’re hiring someone that doesn’t just lead through luck and guessing. They want someone who understands how to get things done using their knowledge, experience and talent.
A good answers needs to have 2 key parts:
The Achievement Should Be Specific
Specific, relatable achievements are the most impressive types of achievements. If possible, it should be an item not on your resume (so that they’re surprised by your answer) but if that’s too difficult just make sure to add some unique details when you answer.
There Should Be a Plan
There don’t necessarily have to be specific steps, but there should be at least two parts to what you did to be successful, and like the achievement, they should be specific.
Of course, your details are going to be very specific to your project, and your answer is going to be different depending on the size of your team, the industry, and the tools you use to motivate. However, you can model your answer after something like the following:
“We were struggling converting VCD to ATE, with countless man hours spent on translating it manually. So I had the engineering team work with the IT department to create a program that would convert it automatically. Both groups of engineers had very different personalities, and knowing their quirks, I starting by having the test team convert VCD on their own, separately, using carefully guided criteria that I created, and then write down all of the needs of a VCD translator. I compiled it in easy to read format, added my own thoughts, and then I handed a very specific list of needs over to the IT team, along with notes, sample pages, and before and after scripts for testing since I knew that they were a group that needed details. The software was so successful, it became its own additional service line.”
Did you lead any type of project that was successful? Chances are you had an achievement. Try to make sure that you find the actionable items within that achievement that show you go into leadership with a plan.
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