Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead?

  | James Innes

Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?

Alternative and related questions:

Can you give me an example of a time when you have displayed leadership qualities?

The meaning behind the question:

The interviewer knows it's very easy for you to say that you're capable of leading from the front.  What they want with this question is for you to prove that to them.

Your answer:

The interviewer has used the word 'lead' here.  Leadership and management may be related but they're not the same thing.  Leaders demonstrate vision.  Leaders inspire others with that vision.  Leaders are capable of 'thinking outside of the box'.

If you're being asked this question then you're most likely up for a reasonably senior management position and so should be more than capable of coming up with an appropriate example.


I frequently have to lead from the front.  To give you a recent example, in my current role I initiated the design and implementation of a completely new database system.  The plan was met with considerable resistance from the day-to-day users of the old database system who, quite simply, were happy with the status quo and didn't see the need for change.  While it's true that the old system did an entirely satisfactory job, I had identified a variety of weaknesses and inefficiencies and was convinced we could create a new system which would be at least 25% more efficient, resulting in considerable savings.  I discussed my proposed changes with existing users and managed to bring them round to my way of thinking, emphasising that any disruption would only be short-term and that the long-term gains would more than justify the project.  Ultimately, not only did I manage to persuade them to follow my vision but I also got them greatly involved in the process, providing a lot of valuable and relevant ideas and feedback.

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