Potential management candidates are tested thoroughly during the interview process. If you have the ambition to become an executive, you should lay out a few 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 corresponds with not only a lot of work, but also with great responsibility. Perhaps you already have some experience as a team leader? Then, you 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 – you are even the number one contact person when problems arise. Before you are ready to answer the “Why do you want to be a leader” interview question, really think about it. Are you really ready for a leadership position? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you enjoy the organization of work processes? Do you have the talent to accomplish this?
- Do you accept responsibilities for yourself and your employees, as well as their accomplishments?
- Can 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 most of these questions? If so, you seem to be ready for a leadership position. However, some qualities are essential for a leader. Do you have the necessary requirements?
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. Why? Unlike your employees, whose competence lies in their expertise, you need specific social skills as an aspiring executive. From now on, you will focus on leadership tasks and other tasks that you will delegate to your co-workers. Here you will find the properties that executives need:
- Respect and trust of employees
- Self-confidence and the ability to assert themselves
- Communication skills
- Ability to delegate
- Empathy and knowledge of people
- Stress management
- Organizational skills
- Conflict resolution
- Commitment and motivation
- Willingness to make quick decisions and to set priorities
How to build your argument
There’s a lot of demand placed upon executives. They embody different roles – they are the bosses, organizers, motivators, and role models. If you are willing to take this challenge and bring at least the basic requirements, you already have everything you need to convincingly answer the question, “Why do you want to be a leader?” Now it is important to structure your arguments – and to present them logically.
Write down your own leadership skills and list some examples in which you demonstrated these skills successfully. Maybe if it wasn’t for your conflict resolution skills, the cooperation with your new advertising agency would have failed at the last minute. Ideally, if you are applying for a management position, you would have already gained some experience in staff management. You may have already coordinated a team or headed a department when your superior was out sick. Write down your successes and present the facts: “Over the last three months, I headed the “Marketing Innovation” project, comprised of nine members. I was not only responsible for the coordination of the project, but also the delegation of the 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, even three weeks earlier than scheduled.” Have no doubt when it comes to your leadership potential!
Once you have your leadership successes listed based on concrete examples, you should address your personal motivation. What motivates you in your desire to be a leader? Have you realized your avid interest in staff development during your supervisor’s last sick leave? Do you already have some good ideas that you would like to implement – perhaps a new approach to employee motivations? Make it clear that you are willing to take responsibilities and indicate your desire to positively influence the corporate culture. Show that you are one hundred percent behind your decision. If you explain your motivation authentically and provide compelling examples of how you have used your leadership skills successfully, you will have no trouble to confidently answer the question, “Why do you want to be a leader?”