Interview for Executives

“Why Do You Want to be a Leader?” Master this Interview Question

Potential management candidates are tested thoroughly during the interview process. If you have the ambition to become a senior executive, you need to lay out strong arguments for your interviewer. We’ll show you how you should confidently respond to the question, “Why do you want to be a leader?”

Are you ready for a leadership position?

Stop for a moment and think about it. A leadership position sounds promising, but it also comes with an increase in workload and great responsibility. Perhaps you already have some experience as a team leader? If yes, then you already know that this position takes a lot more than just achieving success with your team.

You not only have to organize, coordinate and delegate but also motivate. Plus, you’re the number one contact person when problems arise. Are you really ready for a leadership position? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you enjoy the organization of work processes?
  • Do you accept responsibilities for yourself and your employees?
  • Do you get along well with your colleagues and staff?
  • Are you a good decision maker?
  • Can you enforce company policies?
  • Is it easy for you to accept differing opinions?
  • Do you handle criticism well?
  • Are you able to resolve conflicts as they arise?
  • Can you calm your nerves, even in stressful situations?
  • Can you effectively select and manage teams?

Did you answer “yes” to the majority of questions? If so, you could be ready to take that step in leadership.

Do you have what it takes to be an executive?

Few people are born leaders but, luckily, leadership can be learned. Regardless, there are still important basic requirements you must already bring with you. Unlike your employees, whose competence lies in their expertise, you need specific social skills as an aspiring executive. Take a look at these qualities needed for success as an executive:

  • Respect & trust
  • Self-confidence & assertiveness
  • Authenticity
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to delegate
  • Empathy & Awareness
  • Stress management
  • Organizational skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Commitment & motivation
  • Concentration
  • Fast decision maker

How to build your argument

There’s a lot of demand placed upon executives. These figures embody different roles – they are the bosses, organizers, motivators, and role models. And now back to the question, “Why do you want to be a leader?”

When the time comes, it is vital to structure your arguments and present them logically. Write down your leadership skills and list examples in which you demonstrated these skills successfully. Maybe if it wasn’t for your conflict resolution skills, the partnership with your new advertising agency would have failed at the last minute. Ideally, if you are applying for a management position, you have very likely already gained experience in staff management. Think back to your biggest people-related challenges.

Write down your successes and present the facts: “Over the last three months, I headed the “marketing innovation” project, comprising of nine members. I was not only responsible for the coordination of the project but also for the delegation of responsibilities. Through regular meetings and feedback sessions with staff, I managed to resolve problems and conflicts at an early stage to optimize individual processes. This way, I could bring the project to completion three weeks earlier than scheduled.” Have no doubt when it comes to your leadership potential!

Once you have your leadership successes documented based on concrete examples, you should address your personal motivation. What motivates you to be a leader? Have you realized your avid interest in staff development during your supervisor’s last sick leave? Do you have new ideas you’d like to implement or test out in a new role? Perhaps a new approach to foster employee motivation?

Make it clear that you are willing to take responsibility and indicate your desire to positively influence the corporate culture. If you explain your motivation authentically and provide compelling examples of how you have used your leadership skills successfully in the past, you’ll have no trouble confidently answering the question, “Why do you want to be a leader?”

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