In a nutshell, questions about leadership style refer to the role you take on in a group setting.  Think of a 4-person group project.  What do you do the first time the group meets?  Here are some options:

  • Do you immediately take charge and start organizing everyone into subgroups?
  • Do you sit back for a bit to see if anyone else will take charge, and then step up yourself if no one does?
  • Do you wait for someone else to take charge, and then make sure that you do everything possible to hold up your responsibilities within the group?
  • Do you take it upon yourself to proofread everyone’s work, knowing that your final grade is dependent upon their work?

Each of those questions reflects a different type of leader within the group.  Some companies may prefer one style over another, but you just want to be honest about yourself during the interview.  An interview question about leadership style may be looking for a little bit of self assessment as to your role/style in a group, and an example of how you’ve been successful doing that in the past.  Here is a sample answer:

“Last year in my _____ class we had a project where _#_ of us had to design a ____ in order to ___.  I was content allowing one of the more vocal members to take charge, as my style is to lead more by example.  During the course of the project, I was the one who consistently turned in my portion of the work the earliest, and made it a point to stay focused during meetings when it otherwise could have been easy to become distracted by things.  I think my example helped keep everyone focused, and consequently we got the best grade in the class.”


You would be able to provide more details, since it was an experience that actually happened to you. but that could give you an idea.

Contact the MSOE Career Services Office for more information about interview questions.