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Top 10 Critical Leadership Interview Questions and Answers

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14th Oct, 2021
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Top 10 Critical Leadership Interview Questions and Answers

The position of a leader is a crucial determinant of a company’s success. A true leader encourages and motivates the whole team to perform to their best ability and drive them towards success. Hence, interviewers ask a set of diverse questions that evaluate your personal and professional traits that qualify for leadership roles at managerial and C-suite levels. 

Leadership questions primarily help assess an applicant’s experience in leadership, decision-making skills, and critical thinking abilities. So, you must go in totally prepared and ready to answer with confidence and accuracy. 

Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that one understands the interviewer’s approach during the selection process.

How to nail an interview?

Interviews act as an opportunity that provides both exposure and experience. Most of all, it tests your confidence and spontaneity. As an interviewee, you must present your best self. And while interviewers appreciate a confident and honest candidate, make sure you don’t come off as boastful or overconfident.

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Also, when asked about your weaknesses, it would greatly help if you could put a positive twist on your shortcomings by saying that you’re willing to learn and improve. If you are confused or intimidated by your weak points, it will convince the interviewer that you cannot lead a team. 

As a leadership candidate, you must be prepared for technical questions that test your professional and academic knowledge. Plus, it always helps to be ready for situation-based questions that test your spontaneity.

What is the interviewer’s approach while asking questions in a leadership interview?

Every type of interview is different. The questions largely depend on the job title and core requirements. However, there’s a proven and effective way to nail a leadership interview – the STAR technique. STAR stands for the following:

  •  Situation: identifying the problem that requires you to exercise your leadership skills
  • Task: talking about the tasks you planned solution route you took that helped you reach the desired results
  • Action: describing how you acted upon the plan by engaging the team you handle 
  • Results: showing results that prove your experience and talent. 

This approach allows you to exhibit how you have implemented your leadership skills in the past.

A good leader adds a lot of value to the business by fostering a conducive and collaborative ecosystem and encouraging incubating new ideas. In an interview, Leadership questions help the recruiters get more insight into any candidate’s working method. In a leadership interview, interviewers seek to evaluate the following aspects:

  • Motivation: The capability to acknowledge good work and boost the team’s productivity and performance.
  • Delegation: How well you understand your teammate’s ability and assign relevant duties.
  • Communication: The capability to understand the team’s grievances and motivate them when required.
  • Integrity: Testing how one deals with work relations, adhering to company policies. How they handle classified information, and what kind of examples they set for the team. 

Top 10 leadership interview questions

The following list of possible questions is the most commonly asked ones. Go through them to understand how can you impress your interviewer and get selected for the role:

1. Tell us about a time when as a manager, you successfully demonstrated your leadership skills?

To answer this question, you need to understand what the interviewer is exactly hinting at. An interviewer needs to know your experience and how well you perform in this field. Take a minute to answer the most relevant experience you had as a manager.

Example – “I was the marketing team manager, and there was a sudden shift in roles of the people in my team. The new approach, skills, role clarification, change in the work profile – everything was supposed to be communicated to the team. It was the most testing time for me. I took the time to understand the requirements and description of each role and sat down with each member to explain their individual role and the work they would do. I also allotted follow-up sessions with the team to make sure that the team members are settling in their roles with ease.”

2. What approach do you usually follow to motivate your teammates and extract their best performance?

Make sure you answer this question with accuracy because this question will judge your motivational skills as a leader. Give the most authentic experience under this category. Tell them a situation where no one but you could make your team perform the best.

Example – “I will find out what motivates each member of my team. This will help me to understand how I should speak to them about their goals and how they can create value for the company. I’ll offer them constructive criticism and positive feedback wherever necessary to shape them into better performing professionals.” 

3. As a leader, what are the most important values for you?

The answer to this question expresses your entire background as a person and a professional. Make sure you pinpoint 2-3 most essential values that depict your leadership alignment in the best way.

Example – “I believe in total transparency at the workplace. The most important values that I suppose a leader should have are patience and convincing power. In an organisation, there are various people with distinct goals, mindsets, and work approaches. First, I’ll try to hear them out and then guide them in the right direction to optimise their potential. Also, I believe that team spirit is the key to success in any organisation.”

4. Are you open to collaborative work and accepting newer ideas?

A company prefers leaders who are collaborative and accept new ideas over rigid ones and impose their mentality upon others. Hence, offer an answer that highlights your collaboration skills.

Example – “I appreciate fresh ideas and collaborative work experiences. Such experiences allow you to open up to newer avenues and think critically, giving you a different perspective on things. I would strive to create a comfortable environment wherein each of my team members can speak their mind and bring new ideas to the table.”

5. According to you, what is a leader’s best asset?

While answering this one, take a realistic approach – don’t frame a hypothetical answer. The interviewer is testing your leadership skills.

Example – You can respond by saying that “a leader’s best asset is to inspire and motivate people by driving them towards success.”


6. What kind of leader are you?

Here, your past experiences will come in handy.

Example – You can say that “I have a clear mindset. I do not believe in having hidden agendas or motives. I feel that you can communicate best with your followers/teammates only when you are transparent with them. I aim to inspire respect from people instead of instilling fear in them.”  

7. According to you, what is the most challenging part of being a leader?

To answer this, you must be aware of the fundamentals of leadership. Here the interviewer is judging your weakness towards your work. Keep an optimistic approach.

Example – “Being a leader may lead you to decide and convince your team in its favor. But, on the other hand, if they disagree with you in some ways, convincing them and getting them on the same page is what makes the job challenging.”

8. How do you, as a leader, measure your success?

Give a concise and straightforward answer. If you sound confused while answering this question, you may end up losing the battle.

Example – ”I measure my success when the team achieves their individual goals while progressing towards the bigger picture. When they succeed, I succeed.”

9. If there is a change in the company, how would you lead your team through change?

The answer to this question gauges maximum attention. Therefore, prevent boastful tones and reflect a humble personality.

Example – ”A leader must embrace the change themselves and then communicate it to the team. Next, I have to make sure that I can make them accept the change by convincing them with the right approach.”

10. Explain to us how a leader can fail?

While answering this one, you talk about how to analyse and deal with failures and challenges. Explain to the interviewer how you have learned through the setbacks that you have faced.

Example – “I feel a leader fails when they can’t get their team on board with organisational goals. There are some factors that may also lead to failure of leadership, which are time constraints, the economy, the skilled labour, to name a few.”

These are some basic leadership questions that you can expect in a leadership interview. No matter how tricky the question is, make sure to answer it with spot-on confidence. Do try to incorporate real-life experiences in your answers whenever you can. However, don’t fluff your answers with irrelevant stuff – keep them concise and well-rounded. 

We hope this list addresses your requirement of the most commonly asked leadership questions and answers at an interview.

Master the nitty-gritty of leadership with upGrad

If you’re passionate about taking up a career manager, executive or supervisor, check out the Online MBA Program from upGrad.  This course gives you a specialisation in leadership techniques and managerial skills. Curated by industry experts at Deakin Business School (Deemed to be University), the program obliges people who wish to design better strategies for the organisation at different levels. The curriculum is quite interesting as it includes subjects like marketing, operations management, design thinking, strategic problem solving, people management, and many more.

Every learner gets 360-degree assistance and dedicated support throughout they take the course. upGrad courses include unique specializations to enable students to learn the latest skills and knowledge. This two-year leadership course imparts an in-depth understanding of leadership theories and principles of management and application. Additionally, students enjoy engaging and live interaction sessions with skilled mentors. They also interact with peers from different backgrounds, which enriches their knowledge base and exposes them to new ideas and opportunities.


Being a leader isn’t a cakewalk, and cracking a leadership interview is even more challenging – you need to prove your abilities and convince the interviewer that you are a true leader. Do your research on the company you are interviewing for and learn as much as you can about it. Read different leadership theories, follow global thought leaders, and use their examples as a source of inspiration in your answers. 

While this was a brief Q&A listicle on leadership, we hope it offers you a sense of direction on how to ace the interview game!



Blog Author
Meet Sriram, an SEO executive and blog content marketing whiz. He has a knack for crafting compelling content that not only engages readers but also boosts website traffic and conversions. When he's not busy optimizing websites or brainstorming blog ideas, you can find him lost in fictional books that transport him to magical worlds full of dragons, wizards, and aliens.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are some leadership roles in a company?

Leadership skills can be explored at any level. However, the main roles of leadership positions are managers, executives, supervisors, team leaders, etc.

2What work experience do I need to get into leadership roles?

You'll need relevant work experience of exercising leadership in similar roles in the past. In addition, your resume must reflect a steady growth ladder.

3 What is the pay scale of leadership roles in a company?

Leadership roles often draw handsome salaries. They are paid anywhere from ₹50,000 - 70,000 and above depending on their exact position, skills, qualifications, experience, base location, etc.

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