You often need to demonstrate your leadership skills when interviewing for a new job or promotion. Employers want to hire people who can take the lead by managing less experienced staff or taking a project from ideation to completion.
To demonstrate your leadership skills in an interview, you will need to discuss specific times when you took charge and helped others.
Examples of leadership include managing a study group, coaching a sports team, being elected onto a council team, and being a role model to younger or less experienced people.
Below are 37 examples of leadership that may resonate with you.
- Putting yourself forward to be on your school’s student council team.
- Organizing your friendship group to participate in an event.
- Encouraging others to get involved in a new activity at school or work.
- Showing initiative in your school or community projects.
- Being a role model for younger students or children.
- Taking on a leadership position in a club or team you are involved in.
- Helping out with event planning and execution within your organization.
- Fundraising for a cause you are passionate about.
- Mobilizing your peers to take action on an issue you care about.
- Training new staff in your workplace.
- Taking a promotion at work where you need to manage and direct less experienced stadd members.
- Coaching a team in a sport like football, soccer, or hockey.
- Starting your own business and hiring employees.
- Getting elected to serve on your city’s council or board of directors.
- Running for political office.
- Taking on a leadership role in your church or place of worship.
- Organizing a protest or march for a cause you believe in.
- Being the head of a household and taking care of your family.
- Helping out with neighborhood watch or community policing initiatives.
- Volunteering to be a mentor for someone else in your field or industry.
- Serving as a leader in the military.
- Becoming a teacher and working with students every day.
- Tutoring a group of peers during study sessions.
- Taking a stand for something that is right (but not necessarily popular) and then encouraging others to follow your lead.
- Putting your hand up to manage the finances in a sports organization.
- Stepping up to take action when everyone else around you is looking for someone to do it!
- Being the person who checks-in on everyone in a school project to make sure they’re on track and will complete on time.
- Having the responsibility to check-in on other team members to make sure they’re doing things the right way.
- Running a staff meeting or training session.
- Providing professional development to others, such as presenting new research on a topic then leading a discussion on how to implement it in our daily lives.
- Setting up a workout routine for someone then checking-in on them regularly to make sure they’re on track.
- Leading by example, for example, by not only telling other people they should read books but actually being seen reading regularly yourself.
- Helping a friend study for an upcoming test then celebrating their success together.
- Having the initiative when something needs to be done and there is no one else around to do it.
- Helping someone new to your organization feel welcomed and comfortable in their new environment.
- Stepping-in when your boss is away for the day and doing their tasks, including any delegation tasks they may have.
- Being responsible for preparing a school event like a fete or a disco and then completing it successfully.
How to Demonstrate Leadership Skills in an Interview
1. Talk About times you Managed Groups
To show a potential employer that you have strong leadership skills, you could discuss a time when you managed a group of people, whether it was at work, in a volunteer role, or simply during group projects at school.
When discussing your experience, be sure to include concrete examples of what you did to lead the group and achieve success. For example, you might say something like:
“I led a team of five people in our company’s annual charity drive. I delegated tasks, provided support and guidance when needed, and helped to resolve any conflicts that arose. As a result of our hard work, we were able to raise $10,000 for the charity, which was $2,000 more than our goal.”
2. Talk About times you were Given Responsibility
Often, our first experiences of leadership occur when our own boss gives us a little more responsibility. This might occur when a new project arises at work or school, or simply when your teacher sees you as a mature person who can handle additional responsibilities.
When discussing this experience in an interview, be sure to include what the added responsibility entailed and how you handled it. For example, you might say:
“My boss asked me to take on additional responsibility for leading client calls during our busy season. I made sure to prepare for each call by doing my research, and I was always calm and professional when speaking with clients. I made sure all clients had a chance to talk an no one spoke over anyone else. As a result of my efforts, our team was able to complete the project on time and under budget successfully.”
3. Talk About times you Took Initiative
In many cases, leadership is about taking initiative—seeing what needs to be done and then doing it, without being asked. This might mean taking on a new project at work, or simply being the one to organize a social event for your friends.
When discussing this experience in an interview, be sure to include what you did and why you did it. For example, you might say:
“I noticed that our team was struggling to complete a project on time, so I took it upon myself to create a new system for organizing our work. I divided the project into smaller tasks and assigned each task to a different team member. I also created a schedule and deadlines for each task. As a result of my efforts, the project was completed on time and everyone was happy with the results.”
4. Talk About times you Made Decisions
In many cases, leadership is about making decisions—whether it’s deciding what to do in a difficult situation or simply being the one to choose where to go for lunch.
When discussing this experience in an interview, be sure to include the situation you were in and why you made the decision you did. For example, you might say:
“I was in charge of planning a company event, and I had to decide whether to hold it at a hotel or an outdoor venue. After considering the pros and cons of each option, I decided to hold the event at an outdoor venue. I thought it would be more fun for everyone and it would give us a chance to save money on the rental fee.”
5. Talk About times you Acted as a Role Model
Role models have to be leaders. This is because people look up to them and expect them to set a good example.
For example, if you found yourself in a situation where you were a role model to younger students at school, you might have had to make sure you demonstrated maturity and then talked to younger students about what it means to be mature.
Here’s an example of what you could say about being a role model:
“I was chosen to be a mentor for a new employee, so I made sure to always arrive at work on time and take my work seriously. I also tried to be friendly and helpful, so that the new employee would feel comfortable asking me for help. As a result of my efforts, the new employee was able to successfully adjust to her new job.”
6. Talk About times you Encouraged Others
Encouraging others is an important part of leadership. Leaders inspire the people they are leading and make sure they get the best out of everyone. The best leaders put their team first and prioritize their needs.
When discussing this experience in an interview, be sure to include what you said or did to encourage others. For example, you might say:
“I was working on a project with a team of people, and I noticed that one team member was starting to get overwhelmed. I could tell she was about to give up, so I encouraged her to keep going. I told her that she was doing a great job and that I knew she could finish the project. As a result of my encouragement, she was able to keep going and we were able to successfully complete the project.”
If an employer is looking for someone with leadership skills, it means you’re applying for a job in which you will need to manage, delegate responsibility, and take charge. These are some of the most motivating types of jobs you can get!
But to get the job, you usually need to show some ability to exercise leadership. This means you need to talk about times when you were a manager, delegator, organizer, or role model to others. By talking about examples of times you demonstrated leadership, you can show that you don’t only know how to lead, but also have the practical experience in leadership roles.