In a Supervisory or Group Leader Role- Have You Ever Had to Discipline or Counsel an Employee or Group Member?

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When businesses are looking to staff up with the best- they know they have to dig deep in their interviews. This means turning to interview questions about behavior- such as “In a supervisory or group leader role- have you ever had to discipline or counsel an employee or group member? What was the nature of the discipline? What steps did you take? How did that make you feel? How did you prepare yourself?” Unlike more standard questions- behavioral interview questions are designed less to get details about your professional history and more to grasp how you handle common workplace scenarios. These questions may center on things like managerial skills- conflict resolution- honesty and ethics. For instance- someone asking the questions above is very much interested in your leadership skills and- more specifically- conflict resolution in a leadership position. The person asking this question will likely delve a little deeper with such add-ons as “Were you satisfied with the outcome?” and “How did this help the team?” as he or she tries to get a feel for how you function in the workplace.

Perhaps even more so than the perfect resume- the answers to these questions can have a huge impact on whether you get the job or if you’ll have to keep looking. The good news is- you don’t have to fret. Using the situation- task- action and result (STAR) method and a few of the tips below- you can ace the interview with little stress.

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How to Answer the ‘In a Supervisory or Group Leader Role- Have You Ever Had to Discipline or Counsel an Employee or Group Member? What Was the Nature of the Discipline? What Steps Did You Take? How Did That Make You Feel? How Did You Prepare Yourself?’ Behavioral Interview Question

Organize Your Answer: One of the best ways to effectively answer behavioral interview questions lies in using the STAR method. This acronym stands for:

  • • ST – situation or task, or a clearly identified problem
  • • A – actions that were taken to resolve the issue
  • • R – results that show the situation went from negative to positive

In this case, clearly explain the nature of the conflict, be it a clash between employees or a staffer unable to complete tasks. Lay out actions taken on your part and theirs to resolve the issue, and finally, detail results, emphasizing your role in leading the way to a positive resolution.

Whatever your answer to the question, this nifty method helps you create a clear roadmap to the proper answer that will make it easier for your listener to follow your ideas and easier for you to lay them out.

Don’t Get Lost in the Details: It isn’t hard to start talking about a work conflict and get lost in details that just don’t matter much to the listener. Remember, the interviewer is interested in how you solved the problem, not your personal take on the situation. Avoid getting caught up in your emotions by keeping the focus on clearly defined events. For instance, if you counseled an employee about using disrespectful language, avoid extraneous details about the history between the employee and his or her antagonist. Instead, highlight your ability to recognize a violation of company standards and identify a clear path to resolving the conflict and restoring the team dynamic.

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Human Side: Nearly all of us feel internal pressure to be perfect when answering behavioral interview questions. The result can be robotic answers that offer little insight into actual workplace personality. Remember, hiring managers value interviewees with the potential to grow. Include scenarios where you didn’t like your initial decision and handled it differently the next time. Discuss situations when it was emotionally difficult to make the right decision. Any of these can highlight your capabilities as a sensitive, approachable leader who is willing to learn.

Sample ‘In a Supervisory or Group Leader Role, Have You Ever Had to Discipline or Counsel an Employee or Group Member? What Was the Nature of the Discipline? What Steps Did You Take? How Did That Make You Feel? How Did You Prepare Yourself?’ STAR Interview Answer

A member of a team working closely with my own direct reports continued to have negative feedback about my team. This feedback gradually expanded from criticisms of their presentations to spreading of rumors that were relayed to my direct reports and created tension as the teams tried to work together. I approached the team member and her manager and was able to learn that the employee felt my team members were making important decisions without her input. I later scheduled a lunch with myself, my team and the other team with its leadership. Keeping the conversation upbeat but direct, we were able to discuss everybody’s needs in a forum that made everyone feel heard. Shortly thereafter, the teams began working more smoothly together and their professional as well as interpersonal relationships flourished.

Behavioral interview questions are notoriously tricky and can require you to think on your feet at a moment when you may be particularly nervous. Try the above tips to prepare yourself, and anxiety over leadership behavioral questions can be a thing of the past.

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