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The Best Way to Answer “Tell Me About a Time You Demonstrated Leadership Skills” in an Interview

By | Regina Borsellino |

When you’re interviewing for a job, it’s common to be asked about your leadership skills and experience. Of course, if you’re applying for a management position or a job with a management component, questions like “What’s a time you exercised leadership?” or “Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills” are to be expected. But that’s not the only time you might be asked these questions.

“There is a misconception that if you’re not a manager, you’re not a leader,” says career coach Emily Moyer. But everyone in a company—even individual contributors and consultants—is a leader in some area, making leadership skills and qualities important to have no matter what your title.

For example, even if no one reports to you, you might be asked to take the lead running a project or planning a company event, or you may be responsible for training coworkers to use a technology or methodology you’re familiar with. And traditional leadership attributes like responsibility, confidence, strong communication skills, and relationship building come up no matter what your job is.

Another possibility? Even if a job isn’t a managerial role, “companies might be looking for someone with leadership skills because they want a person who can grow in a position and within the company,” says Muse career coach Steven Davis, owner of Renaissance Solutions Inc. So it’s a good idea to have your future employer think of you as a leader or potential leader from the start.

Keep reading for three steps to acing questions about a time you demonstrated leadership skills—with sample answers included!

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