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Preparing to Answer "What Are the Qualities of a Good Leader?"

Leadership is among the most valued qualities in any organization and the many research in the field rightly points in that direction. It is therefore no wonder, that when you interview for a job, especially for one that supervises others’ work, you are asked to list down the qualities you think are imminent in a good leader. The question, like every other question in an interview, has a deeper meaning into it. Hence you need to prepare well when you are answering for a question on the qualities of a good leader.

Why is this Question Asked?

The main strategy behind the question is to understand how the candidate perceives leadership. Your ability to understand the qualities of a good leader will emphasize that you are a candidate who can very well lead a team. It is a question aimed at gauging your leadership abilities. They also ask this question to see if you have the ability to handle any situation and guide your fellow colleagues and move up the ladder in the organization. No organization would want to employ a person who doesn’t have the ability or the appetite to move ahead in his/ her career.

What Should You Remember?

You have to be very professional when you are answering this question. It will help if you can recall and quote some of the leaders from your previous organization whom you have looked up to and the qualities that made them such a great leader. This will show that you are a keen observer and you are willing to learn more.

Sample Answer: “In my opinion, a good leader would be willing to listen and be courteous. He/ She will be able to understand the capabilities and limitations of their team and will take the initiative when required to make a change.”

You can also give example of someone who was an excellent manager and explain the qualities that made him so. When you are speaking about managers and leadership skills, you need to use more professional language like visionary, decisiveness, etc. You can reflect upon that one person who has guided you in your career and use them as an example too.

What to Avoid?

This question is not for you to bash about your current supervisor who is the cause of your leaving the company. Never use improper language or informal speech when speaking about leadership skills. Also do not attack any poor manager from any part of your life in your interview.

If you want to show yourself as a person with good leadership capabilities you need to make sure that you sound like one. In order to do so, you have to reflect on the good qualities of a leader and speak on that. Do remember to keep your answer concise and not lengthy. The answer will not be just a reflection of your skills as a leader but it will also be matched with that of the company’s vision to see if you would fit there.

Here are some further tips to make your answer more efficient.

Use a Stronger Example

If you want to show that you have good leadership skills, then you may want to choose a strong project which ended in success in your previous company in which you worked on.  Be precise and explain in a little detail on the role you played in the project. It should not be,

Sample Answer: “I lead the project and it was a success.”

It should be detailed than this. Also never talk about projects which resulted in failure.

Be Specific

The question is so framed, that people tend to go off the tangent into a different direction. You just have to explain a situation which represents your potential as a leader in detail. The story of your success has to be believable and hence do not script it too much. Make it specific and realistic. You can probably note down the points which can help you to describe it better.

Keep Practicing

It is proven by studies that candidates who practice are the ones to land up with the job. When you know that there is a possible question in this direction, it is better to stay prepared for the same. With practice, you gain the confidence and with confidence you can definitely clear the interview in flying colors.

Remember an interview is a place where the hiring manager studies your behavior and personality based on the answers you give. So prepare well in advance and enjoy answering!