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How to answer the job interview question "What type of leader are you?"

By Rachel Green, world-class job interviews coach and Director, Job Interviews Australia.

What kind of leader are you? This is a common job interview question for anyone going to a supervisory, team leader, managerial, executive or CEO position. How would you answer it? 

Here is an example answer, given to me on Facebook.

I lead by example and by demonstrating to colleagues the standard that I expect. I have a transparent and honest working relationship with my team. This includes accepting and discussing feedback to help achieve mutual goals to better improve our skills and cohesiveness.

This was my feedback:

If you added one extra part at the end it would make it even more powerful. For example, explain the benefits of your leadership style to the organisation by completing this phrase, "... and what this means is ....". You could also expand on the standards that you expect - standards in what, and to what level.

How to answer the job interview question "What type of leader are you?"

I had a go at re-writing it. Here is my expanded version:

I lead by example and role model strategic problem solving, time-effective solutions and emotionally intelligent behaviour so that my team is clear as to the standards that I expect. I am also a leader that people trust because I build transparent and honest working relationships with them and ensure that I am clear in my communication with them. I listen to them fully without belittling, dismissing or ignoring their ideas and perceptions so that they feel supported and appreciated and quickly own up to any mistakes they have made. The result is that all members of the team feel able to provide and receive constructive feedback, skills are continually enhanced and because of the team cohesiveness we achieve our goals. What this means is you can be confident that any team I lead will be able to work effectively towards their strategic goals and they will be achieved with minimal conflict and maximum effectiveness.

This is what I call a strength.

It is different from only describing your experiences.

I recommend people have ten strengths that they can easily talk about for any job interview.

It is only a general answer because any answer you give must fit the requirements of each individual position. However, I hope it helps you to understand how a short response can be expanded to become a specific and unique strength when answering this type of job interview question.

Lots more top job interview tips in my job interviews self-coaching guide.

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