Behavioural Interview Question – Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills


In this post, we’ll talk about the question: “Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills.” This question comes to us from a reader by the name of Isuru, so thank you Isuru (I hope I’m saying your name correctly).


In this post, we will cover:


  • Why this question is asked


  • How to answer the question (with an example)


  • And how to wrap it up gracefully

Let’s get to it:


All right, why is this question asked?


They want to see how you directed somebody or a group of people or led a team, or how you turned around a situation that wasn’t doing well.


So, for the purpose of this post, we are going to use the S.A.R.I. and an example.


If you’re not familiar with the S.A.R.I. formula, it stands for Situation, Action, Result and Interesting features. So, to tell a complete story, you need a beginning, a middle and an end, and the story should be fun and interesting to listen to, so that’s what we’re going to do here. You should paint a clear picture with your story.



So, how to answer…


So, say that you were assigned to a new team, and this team wasn’t doing very well, and they weren’t very happy because they had a lot of changes happen in their department in the last little while, so you were dealing with a disgruntled team, and you just come into the situation. So, that’s how you set the stage.

Step 2 is the action.


So, what action did you take? What did you do? It’s extremely important here that you talk about specifically what YOU did and not what “we” did or how “we” proceeded because that doesn’t matter. They just want to know about you specifically.


So, continuing with our example, say some of the actions that you may have taken were scheduling one-on-one meetings with each person on the team, where you asked them some questions around what they thought was going on with the team, what was holding them back, and what each person thought that you should do as their new manager/team lead coming in to fix the situation. And you also asked them what they would like to happen, what their ideal outcome would be.


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Step 3: Result


So, here is where you talk about your happy ending. For example, in this example, say you took action on the main thing the team had mentioned that was holding them back. Say you talked to everyone on the team, and they all kind of mentioned the same key thing, and you now keep one-on-one meetings weekly on the calendar to make sure that the team stays strong and are communicating with you, and everyone is a lot happier now, and you’re proud of the work the team did and of the turnaround. So, that would be an example of a great result with a happy.


Step 4: Interesting features


So, here you can talk about things like servant leadership, or you can mention resources that we’ve used in the past, books you’ve read, employee engagement nuggets of wisdom. It can be anything that you found interesting looking back at the situation and what really helped you turn it around.


And there you have it—an example of leadership skills and how they were demonstrated. Now, if you don’t have an example like this, don’t worry. You don’t have to lead a group of soldiers into battle to have a good story about leadership. It can start with just one person.


If you want some help coming up with your own stories with these types of questions, I’ve got you covered in the downloadable guide you can click below to get. And what you’ll get is top-ten examples of stories that I’ve used in my own interviewing, and it’s taken a long time to come up with all of these stories. It is challenging at first, so you do need to take some time to prepare them and think about what your greatest career stories are. In the guide, you’ll also get the S.A.R.I. formula breakdown, step-by-step psychologically why it works, and fill-in-the-blank templates for each question. So, you’ll be able to fill in the blanks. You’ll just need to come up with your own stories. And if you are still getting stuck because you can’t think of your own stories very quickly, I’ve also included 25 questions that you can ask yourself to come up with your stories much quicker and more effectively. You’ll get all of this in a beautifully designed workbook prepared specifically for you to prepare for your interviews. By the end of working through this guide, you’ll be totally ready for any situational interview that comes your way and any of those tough questions that you may have gotten stuck on in the past.


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Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next week here at my digital house of


In Work & Life
-Natalie Fisher


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