When it comes to interviews, different types of questions are asked to the candidates depending on the type of position that he/she is applying to. For example, the questions asked to a sales manager is different from the questions asked to a person who is appointed as a team leader or a CEO of a company. Usually the main problem that an establishment faces is appointing a leader, a person who could make the employers go hand-in-hand with the company. So, the most important type of interview questions on leadership style asked to a candidate is his/hers leadership type. Let us discuss the types of leaderships that are present.

What's Your Leadership Style

Different Types of Leadership Styles:

1. The Visionary:

These usually include leaders who have a vision about their products and its success, they ultimately lead the whole team towards the given agenda. At the same time, these people can also be easily blinded by the goal and can easily be sidetracked hence, bringing the whole team along with him/her.

2. The Operator:

These kind of people strictly follow the game plan and wouldn’t allow even tiny changes. This can cause many problems to the employees working under such an individual, as it may cause them more strain and they might start to feel cumbersome.

3. The Compromiser:

These type of leaders are actually the opposite of the operator kinds and they tend to make sudden changes on the devised action plan. They are very much familiar with decision making processes and more often can lead to them making unwanted and rash decisions.

4. The Drill Sergeant:

The drill sergeant is the most uncooperative kind of leaders present. They tend to rule the employees rather than leading them. As the name suggests, they are very strict and only stick to their ideologies.

5. The Cheerleader:

The most friendliest kind of leaders present. They tend to reward their employees for each and every achievement. These kinds of leaders are usually taken for granted by the team members.

6. The Parrot:

As the name suggests, they rely on the word from the mouth. They believe on the latest trends and happenings rather than believing on the team members. These type of leaders study the changes and act accordingly.

7. The Windbag:

Usually these kind are called as chatterboxes, they are all talk and no work. They usually talk about topics that are not even relevant to the job itself. But are usually supportive of their team members.

8. The Coach:

The derivative of the sergeant kind of leaders. They give the team members extra motivation and expect them to give their 110%. These are usually focussed on the end result rather than the team members.

While employing a candidate, the companies look for all the above mentioned characteristics and also come clean with their own style of leaderships and their personal qualities. Most of the companies are focussed on the flexibility and versatility that is required for most of the leaders. This should be well communicated through leadership style interviews.

How to Answer Leadership Style Interview Questions?

Do’s :

One of the most common approach to answer such tough leadership styles interview questions is the S.T.A.R approach. Utilising the S.T.A.R approach will help you to achieve a simple, concise, organized and a thoughtful answer.
S.T.A.R approach includes:

1. Situation:

Think about a situation where you have been present, which gave you a positive outcome. Do not include any negative or any serious downfalls.

2. Task:

Define the tasks that you were given during that situation. Detail about the type of task, the duration, the basic details about the task, so that the employer could get an idea of the task given to you.

3. Action:

Specify the type of actions that you took to overcome the given task and its associated difficulties, how you incorporated the given resources and the abilities to provide the required results and so on.

4. Result:

What was the result of your decisions, the credibility of the output obtained and the difficulties associated with your decision.

Tips for using S.T.A.R Approach:

1. Analyse the position that you are applying for and recognize your skill set relevant to the job.
2. Identify what type of qualities you have that make you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Stress these qualities during your leadership type interview.
3. Evaluate and reflect upon your previous experiences or your abilities that you have acquired during your academic years, internships, workshops, meetings, social gatherings and so on. Relate these abilities to the required skill set that the employer is looking for.
4. Create brief stories that will go well with your approach. The more interesting the better (if possible). These stories should be used to demonstrate your leadership skills, teamwork abilities, versatility and also problem-solving skills. They should be as relevant to the job as possible.
5. Practice these kinds of stories before an interview, excessive stammering and awkward silences would do no good to the interviewee and the interviewer.
6. Be as specific as possible, try to give the employer what you did in a group rather than what you would. Unwanted generalisation of the roles would create confusion and would make it difficult to evaluate your abilities.
7. Be as honest as possible. If the employer finds out that your story is unsatisfactory it would create more problems for you.

Most of the employers tend to put the candidates in difficult situations. These are used to define what kind of leader you are or to separate you from a leader or a manager. Usually leaders are individuals that stand out from the crowd because of their qualities and are solely responsible for leading the whole group and taking decisions that affect the team members. While managers are people who have the ability to carry the employers and the company together resolving their differences and ensuring the welfare of the workers. They also act as a bridge between the workers and the executives of an organisation.

Moreover, the real aim behind such leadership style interview questions is that they are trying to test an individual if he/she follows the work ethics of the company rather than being driven by emotions and other factors. The easiest method to incorporate S.T.A.R approach is to expect what kind of leadership styles questions that the employer might ask. These include scenarios, problems, situational complications and so on. So here is an idea of questions on leadership styles that can be asked in such an interview.

Commonly asked behavioral questions:

1. Describe a stressful situation that you faced and explain how you overcame the situation.
2. Explain how you took the initiative and lead the team.
3. How did you handle an unsatisfied customer.
4 .Describe the various goals you had set and how you achieved them.
5. Describe a condition where you had to take matters in your own hands and how did you handle it.
6. Explain a situation where you and your boss had a disagreement and how did you solve it.
7. How did you handle a conflict between the team members and what all measures did you take to prevent it from happening again.
8. Provide situations or instances where you felt motivated and charged up for the job.
9. How well do you treat your fellow employees when some discomfort occurs.
10. Explain a situation where you had to consider before yourself for the sake of a project.
11. What was the biggest failure under your supervision and what was the cause.
12. A time where you were not fully motivated during a job and what did you do about it.
13. The proudest moment in your career.

These are the few examples that an employer can ask you during a behavioural/leadership type interview. This leads to the next problem. What if you are a novice leader? Then how will you respond to such questions?

What to do if you have no answer?

Most behavioural questions are based on an assumption that the candidate is experienced for such questions, if it is the contrary, then DO NOT try to make up false situations. Usually interviewers are experienced individuals who are able to catch a candidate who is lying. Hence, this can affect the interview. When such questions arise, tell the interviewer that you haven’t experienced such situations and tell them what you would do if such a situation arises.

What if the answer is not flattering?

If such a situation occurs, try to be as truthful as possible and convince the interviewer what you would have done, and how it would have been a learning experience to you. Minimize the negatives and stress how you would have handled the situation more efficiently.


Q1: Describe a situation where you disagreed with your higher ups

What to do: Do not speak negatively of the supervisor. Try not to go into too much detail about the disagreement, rather give a vague explanation about the disagreement. Focus on how you proved your point to the supervisor. Try not to sound bitter about the disagreement.

Q2: Describe a time where you had to face a change in your work behaviour

What to do: This is usually asked to test the decision making skills. They are also trying to check if you are adamant in your policies. Try to explain a situation where you had to change your point of view and how you adapted to the change. Employers do not want employees who are stubborn in their beliefs. They want people who are versatile, not rigid robots.

Q3: Explain a time where you had to take responsibility of a project

What to do: Used to find out if you are a motivated person and a self-starter. Employers do not want anyone who are easily confused or flustered during tough times. Explain how the job was your personal responsibility and how you handled it.


1. Coming unprepared:

This includes being under-dressed, not practising enough for the interview and being mentally unprepared. You need to be viewed as an ideal employee by the interviewer, Hence, be confident and be smart enough to answer all the questions with confidence.

2. Rephrase Things:

When you are given a chance to talk about yourself try not to constantly change the facts. This will give the employer that you do not have much to talk about the subject and that you are basically mugging up the whole story. Also, try not to repeat the same words over and over again. Try to make it simple and interesting and be prepared to talk about a certain subject for long durations, if needed (without reiterations).

3. Creating unwanted noises:

Words like ’umm’,’so..yeah’, are really distracting to the interviewer and it creates unwanted awkwardness between the candidate and the former. Use filler words when needed, to buy you time rather than making noises.

4. Put things in your resume that you don’t want to discuss:

Do not put topics that you don’t want to talk about. Leadership type questions gives the interviewer the full right to ask a candidate about past experiences, educational qualifications and so on based on your resume. Do not write down topics that you don’t want to be discussed. If not followed this leads to incompetency from the candidate’s side ultimately leading to his/her rejection. Moreover, do not try to exaggerate your skills.

5. Failing to mention your achievements:

As mentioned before, past experiences are a huge factor for leadership type questions. So, try to quantify what all achievements that you achieved clearly to the interviewer. This will help to create a good impression to them.

6. Rehashing a long rant about previous employers:

Do not try to have a long rant about your previous boss when asked about the types of disagreement you had between you and your previous employer. Instead, try to calmly explain the interviewer why the disagreement was about (briefly) and what was the end approach. This demonstrates how emotionally intelligent and how well you take care of your surroundings and the individuals around you.

An important thing to remember while attending such questions is that, there are no correct answers. At the end it depends on how well the answer was presented, rather than what the answer was. Moreover, take this as a chance to prove them that you want to be a part of their company, and as a leader, you want to be a part of the company’s development. Convince the interviewer, that you can be a valuable asset to the company rather than being a liability. This will help you start the interview in a positive note and will boost your confidence for further questions.