What is your leadership style and why? That is not some throw away question during a 90-minute interview. It is central to who you are.
If it is not that important to the person who is asking the question then you are probably talking to the wrong organization.
Deep Dive Is Essential
You should be able to have a deep conversation regarding this question and yet a surprising number of executives really can’t – they stumble over the difference between style and philosophy and they seem genuinely surprised when asked how their leadership beliefs and actions manifest themselves on a day-to-day basis. It is not that they are not good at what they do, rather, it seems to be more about their latching on to an idea without the requisite deep dive – I must have a style so this is as good as any.
Have you ever hit the brakes to really dig into this question, to explore your heart and mind and your history and the difference between your day-day utterances and actions? Most interviewers ask about your style, very few ask why. They should.
Servant Leadership: The Origin?
Take servant leadership, a very popular answer these days. Why do you believe in this concept? Why did you adapt this approach as your own? What are your underlying beliefs that support this? What is the origin of the concept, from whence did this two-word description that is all the rage these days arise?
If you just throw something out when asked – the first thing that comes to your mind or the same thing you always say without much elaboration – you are chipping away from your authenticity persona and you are missing yet another chance to sell your value.
An interview is more than just answering a prospective employer’s questions. It is about selling yourself.