When considering new opportunities in C-level support, it’s important to demonstrate to employers that you have leadership qualities. You may be asked to provide examples of times you showed leadership skills. People applying for managerial positions expect these types of questions. However, it has become common for employers to ask about leadership skills in roles such as chief of staff, family office management, or even executive assistant, which can sometimes throw interviewees for a loop. The following tips will guide you through the process of sharing your leadership skills during the job interview.
Reflect on Your Ideas about Leadership
The first step is to think about what leadership means to you. There isn’t one definition that applies to everyone or every situation. Employers don’t want you to have the exact same understanding of leadership as they do, nor do they want you to share examples they can relate to. What they want to know is that you comprehend why leadership is important and are self-aware enough to understand how you exemplify leadership in a professional setting. Start by thinking about a role model you admire who held a position of authority. This will help you reflect on how your ideal leader behaves. What qualities did they have? How did they approach problems?
Pick an Example that Highlights Your Strengths
Employers are always looking for talent who has the potential to be decisive, take action, and inspire others. Once you have a clear understanding of what you value in a leader, you can reflect on past situations in which you demonstrated the leadership skills and qualities you most admire. It’s also a smart idea to take a second look at the job description, as well as the company website. You may find clues about how your role could require you to lead. You don’t necessarily want to share the story that is the most impressive. Share a story that is relevant to the role you are applying for and genuinely reflects how you perceive strong leadership.
Communicate Your Example Clearly
A good story is meaningless without good storytelling. Start by briefly describing what leadership means to you using a definition that complements your example. Then, describe the scenario in which you demonstrated leadership skills. Provide enough context for the interviewer to comprehend why the situation required that you take charge. Next, identify what actions you took that reflect leadership skills. What role did you play and how did you behave during the scenario? Finally, discuss the outcome. What did your actions achieve and how did the experience inform your opinion about the importance of leadership.
Behavioral questions are often the hardest kind to answer during interviews. Questions about leadership can be particularly challenging because it’s such an important skillset. The key to sharing examples of leadership with prospective employers is to have a firm understanding of what leadership means to you, choose a story that is relevant to the role you have applied for, and structure the story in a way that is clear, concise, and detailed.
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