Even if you’re a highly respected and popular leader you’re going to make some decisions that are not well liked by those you’re trying to lead. It does not matter if they are your decisions or you’re simply trying to implement a strategy from senior management, if you’re met with resistance you’re going to need to find a way to let your leadership shine through and get your team members to adopt your idea.
Behavioral Interview Question: Tell me about a situation where you found it difficult to get your team to accept your ideas or direction. How did you overcome the problem? What was the outcome?
It should go without saying, but make sure that the idea that they refuse to accept is actually a good idea. The example you chose to share with the interviewer has to make sense. You should also make sure that you do not take the authoritarian approach, where you essentially pull rank and make them do it because you’re there boss.
Your answer should that you had a plan, used diplomacy and were able to achieve a positive outcome. You can insert nearly any story here provided there was a clear plan of action.
“…While running a sales team at Company X, I realized that replacing the entire sales funnel process with a new program would save the company a great deal of money and improve sales efficiency while reducing drop-offs along the way. However, in order to initiate it effectively, the entire sales staff would be forced to learn a new system, and many of them had been performing the same tasks for years and were reluctant to change the process.
I asked the new software company if they could provide me with a demo version of the new software. Then I trained one of the oldest and most trusted sales staff to use the software with me, showing them why it was beneficial and how it could enhance the sales process. Once they learned the system, they realized how useful it would be. They brought their experience back to the meeting, and while some of the staff members were still a bit reluctant, they had a lot more trust now that their peer tried my new system and found it to be valuable. The process is still used today.”
Leadership is not always about telling people what to do. Sometimes it’s about having the right idea and standing behind that idea, using a process to prove to others that it is valuable. That’s what this type of answer shows the interviewer.
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