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Leadership Interview




The following report describes the result of an interview conducted with a human resource manager of a leading electronic store in the city. Theaim of theinterviewwas to gain an understanding of the leader’s philosophy and leadership strategy. The interview also gave insight into the essential leadership competencies and traits that make effective leaders. The interview lasted twenty-five minutes. In order to ensure the interviewee obtain maximum insight, the interview was recorded and later transcribed to identify themes.

The manager noted that motivating his team and ensuring every time members is empowered with the necessary skills and resources to accomplish tasks is critical in ensuring the overall success of the organization. He noted that one had to be ready to communicate to the team when in doubt and be able to make decisions, particularly in uncertain times. In order to better his leadership skills, the manager noted that he has to improve his resilience at appraising risks and be able to create a great vision for the team. As a leader, one has to understand when to use discretion and when to consider the context of a situation while making a decision. The manager informed that leaders have to be prepared to lead effectively especially in times of uncertainty and crisis. During crises and uncertainty, the leader must be ready to listen, decide and simplify issues quickly. The need to make decisions fast requires leaders to empower their followers or subordinates to make decisions. He or she need to define whether he is led by the followers. The managers noted that even if leaders have the responsibility of motivating workers and listening to their input, the leader need to be decisive. He or she has to recognize the right goal and the path forward for the success of the team. As such, the managers definition of a leader concurs with Greenleaf’s definition of a servant leader. According to Green’s definition, a leader has to listen to followers and be ready to “serve first” (Spears, & Lawrence, 2002).

Role modeling is an essential characteristic of a leader (Ogden & Meyer, 2009). While leading a team, the managers acknowledged that it is possible not to please everyone. He noted “if you lead, you will also hurt; you will blame and sometimes celebrate. That is all part of your job.” Whenasked about his role in developingfutureleadersandmotivation to passleadershipskills to others, themanagernotedthatit is easy to teachhardskillssuch as workprocessbutverycomplex to teachsoftskillssuch as experience. A good leader needs to be intelligent, be able to think conceptually, be ambitious, innovative, and growth oriented, noted the manager. Although these traits are important, the manager added that they have to be balanced with a specific level of skepticism or the recognition that not everything will succeed. The manager’s recognition that not everything will work every time enables him to set realistic goals and establish mechanisms to monitor processes. As such, the manager is able to institute correction measure at the right time. The manager emphasized the importance of being able to make strategic plans and mobilizing resources to achieve such goals. However, such efforts often encounter challenges, as resources are always scarce and prioritization, has to take place.

According to the manager, every leader needs someone who can listen, speak in confidence and understand the dynamics of leadership. The importance of a stable emotional relationship is critical in ensuring every leader performs according to expectation. The manager also emphasized the importance of maintaining good health and physical stamina.

In an effort to explore leadership in a particular project, the manager was asked to give some of his recent roles, tasks or project that required his leadership skills. The manager was in charge of overseeing the establishment of the new business branch in New York. Asthe one in charge of ensuringthe organization hires the necessary talent, the manager was given the responsibility of recruiting and training new employees. His responsibility was to ensure the new branch had the right talent within the shortest time possible. According to the manager, the responsibility was enormous because he had to instill the organization’s culture and values to the new recruits. In addition, the manager had to manage the relocation of some employees from the parent company to instill some sense of experience within the new branch. He acknowledged that, it is very tricky in the modern labor trends to identify and recruit the right personnel. Having the right qualification and experience may not be the only criteria to use, stated the manager. One has to look for employees who can easily adapt to an organization culture, who have a passionfor their jobandwho are willing to learn. The manager noted that there is always a tricky balance between ensuring diversity and avoiding discrimination and getting the most appropriate employees. Often, the managers have to put the interest of the organization first, and then ensure all the other activities are aligned to meet organization or business goals.

When asked how he manages to remain focused as a leader and ensure effective leadership, the manager answered” In this modern business environment, one has to keep on learning and seeking information.” The statement underscores the important of personal and professional development. The manager noted that he always get advice from fellow managers and seek information from books and the internet. In order to furnish his leadership skills, the manager is current leading “The Leadership Challenge, fifth edition” by Kouzes and Barry. According to the manager, one cannot exhaust the amount of information about leadership and there are mountains of information on every aspect of leadership. He noted that a leader needs to bereceptive to newskills, information and competencies is the key to remaining relevant. One cannot afford to ignore the information in this fast-paced globe. The manager noted that he gets a lot of inspiration from the leadership of Steve Jobs. He noted that, although Steve Jobs has passed on, the legacy he built with the Apple Company will live forever. He noted that, Steve was driven by his childhood dream and every decision he made was aligned to achieve one specific goal. In addition, he admired how Steve built an empire based basically on innovation. Innovation and motivation enable employees to explore new ways of doing things and with the right environment, employees can drive the success of the company (Ramsey, 2003).

When asked about the greatest the 21st century leaders are facing, the manager noted that managing time and resources are some of the greatest challenges. Most modern leaders are highly accessible and there are numerous issues and people seeking their attention. Consequently, the leaders have to maintain the vision and perspective of the company in a demanding environment. Apart from challenges of leadership itself, the manager noted that leaders have to contend with practical pressures such as deadlines, finances, projects and other day-to-day challenges. He also noted that motivating people while “one is seen not to be” is a major challenge to his responsibilities as a human resource manager. It is hard to assess the success of some project that are aimed at motivating employees.

In conclusion, the activity gave a lot of insight into the essential competencies and traits of leadership. Some of the understanding themes include the ability of a leader to establish a clear vision, plan adequately, and motivate followers (employees), making effective decisions on time and leading. In addition, a leader needs to be receptive to learning and be ready to seek information from various sources.


Ogden G & Meyer D (2009). Leadership Essentials: Shaping Vision, multiplying influence, definingcharacter. InterVarsity Press, USA.

Ramsey R (2003). What is a “servant leader?” National Research Bureau.

Spears, L. C. & Lawrence, M. (2002).Focus on Leadership: Servant-Leadership for the Twenty-First Century New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN: 9780471411628



Appendices 1: Interview Questions

1. According to you, what are the most critical skills of a manager?

2. Can you describe one of the recent activity or situation where you are required to utilize these skills?

3. Is it possible to pass over these skills to subordinates or followers?

4. Most leadership books emphasize the importance of managing a team effectively. What is your opinion on the same?

5. How do you as a leader remain focused to your responsibilities?

6. Throughout your leadership journey, there must be some person who motivates you or provides a role model to emulate. Who is that person?



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