Good leaders can explain their values and priorities in a few words. This is a test to see if you can explain yourself. It also helps to determine whether your approach aligns with the company's culture.

Sample answer 1

By Mike Derezin, Hiring Manager

For me, good leadership is about finding the best analytical approach while still caring about the people on the team.

Last year, I took charge of a digital marketing campaign that wasn't getting any traction. I realized our team members didn't know what was expected.

We worked together to build new metrics. I gave more responsibilities to our most engaged team member and helped another one find a different job where he could be more effective.

Within three months, we were hitting our numbers, and morale was vastly better. Then, when we were ready to expand, five internal candidates asked if they could join our team.

I love building productive, successful teams, and it sounds as if there would be great opportunities to do that in the job we're talking about.

Why this answer worked well:

  • She talked about what her overall philosophy was and how she was an effective leader.

  • She shared an example of something that was a challenge, what she did to solve it, how she brought the team along, and the results that she captured from it.

  • Finally, she wrapped it up with how it connected back to the organization.

Sample answer 2

By Marketing Insights Manager Professional

I subscribe to McGregor's Theory Y of management, which emphasizes the importance of "participation." This theory suggests that people take pride in their work and act responsibly for the most part. I firmly believe that everyone wants to do their level best and will do so when they have a clear vision, the right tools, and a sense of ownership.

This informs the way I lead and inspires my goal of creating a positive, inclusive, and enabling work environment for everyone involved. In my experience, this approach has kept collaborators highly motivated and delivered work in a way that is sustainable for everyone involved.

While working on a small sales team, my focus was to set clear and collective targets to ensure ownership and offer regular training sessions on the selling process and technology use. This was more efficient than having a weekly check-in and feedback cadence. In addition, it was a refreshing change for the team, who appreciated the autonomy.

This approach was successful, as our team consistently delivered above-plan revenue while achieving savings on trade allowances. I also received the CEO sales excellence award and the highest performance grade.

Why this answer worked well:

  • The answer includes their philosophy and a real-life example of how it has been successfully applied.

  • The candidate's story shows a genuine interest in teams and in building leadership skills.

Sample answer 3

By Business Development Manager Professional

In a word, supportive. I think it is important to understand the unique strengths and blind spots of my team members and direct reports. Knowing how to work with a range of experience, skills, and working styles play a big role in the success of a team.

We recently hired a new analyst who had limited experience in the industry and required hand-holding up front but whom we believed would learn fast. To effectively lead, I had to know when to step in and course correct and when to let them make their own mistakes and learn by experience for maximum growth.

Conversely, a contractor I managed in a prior role had significantly more subject matter expertise than I did. I recognized this and positioned myself as a support structure — I helped clear the path for her to achieve her goals.

I believe that good leaders pay attention, listen actively, and play to the strengths of each partner and colleague.

Why this answer worked well:

  • The candidate showed the ability to assess all skill sets on the team to optimize projects fully.

  • The answer detailed the balance of giving direct input versus letting the team explore.

Sample answer 4

By Brand Marketing Manager Professional

There are many aspects to my leadership philosophy, but the foundation is psychological safety. Right or wrong, I want to give the people around me, reporting to me and partnering with me the ability to truly and honestly express their opinions without fearing any retribution or impact.

That includes people overtly disagreeing with me, pushing back, or expressing an emotion. I may not always agree with them, but they will always be heard. I have found that this builds powerful trust in teams because it's a natural way to engage. When people feel locked in by dogma, they don't raise their voices, and valuable insights may be lost. By giving everyone I work with psychological safety, they feel respected, understood, and free to contribute authentically.

I also believe in decisiveness — in streamlined decision-making that empowers forward movement. We get the data we need and the input required, we have safe and healthy debates and make the call. This helps to minimize exhaustion across the board and lets team members put their stamp on real progress.

Why this answer worked well:

  • The candidate showed the ability to lead teams with divergent points of view and a willingness to be challenged by new ideas.

  • The candidate demonstrated an understanding of the importance of minimizing exhaustion for the sake of productivity and morale.

Answer framework

You'll hear this question a lot, and answering with authenticity is key. So here are three tips I have to help you get started:

Be clear about your leadership style.

Don't be vague or ambivalent. If you're a team builder, say so. If you're tough but fair, own it. Be very concise and clear on how you define your leadership so that they know very well what you're all about.

Give a detailed example that highlights it.

Talk about a situation, a problem, or an obstacle, and then walk through what you did do and what the result was. What did it mean to your organization, company, and customer? And be sure to include how you brought your team along because this isn't all about you.

Show situations where you've adapted.

Life's not going to be simple. People want to see how you've grown and changed, given the situation. Just like you look for that in the people you're going to hire, the same thing with the hiring manager who's looking to hire you.


  • Start by framing your basic style in a few words.

  • Give an example of your leadership style in action.

  • Show that you can adapt well to unexpected situations.

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