Question 60. Describe an occasion when you trained a cross-functional team.
situation: Throughout my tenure with Ross Dress for Less, I led a cross-functional team that consistently achieved goals.
action: To build upon the success, I introduced a new program that covered merchandising, operational management, and customer service.
result: After I trained four store managers, two assistant managers, and two area supervisors, the store benefited from a boost in sales, productivity, and profitability.
Question 61. Give an example of a time when you took on a leadership role.
situation: Within three months of employment with Dupree Company, I noticed that the teamwork was significantly less effective than at other organizations I worked for. The lack of collaboration negatively impacted the company's productivity.
action: In order to boost working relationships, I volunteered to work overtime and without compensation to develop and implement a bi-weekly innovative education and training seminar for forty employees.
result: Management green-lit my initiative. The result was that the program enhanced a team environment, where staff members came together to perform at a consistently high level.
Question 62. Tell me about a time when you brought two departments together to work effectively with each other.
obstacle: When I worked for Gibson Music, the sales department had to meet quota, and they were overzealous in their efforts to land a contract. Many employees would overpromise and the technical department could not deliver.
action: I instituted a culture in which the sales team did not feel pressured to close on deals at any cost. Instead, their sales pitch focused on addressing client needs and determining a package that met those needs while ensuring that the technical department could work within the parameters specified.
result: I created synergy between the sales and technical departments, ensuring that strong communications between the two translated into top-notch customer experiences and increased profitability.
Question 63. Describe a time when a staff member did not meet your expectations, and what you did about it.
situation: As a newly promoted manager for the Comic Strips Company, I met with an employee who was not meeting his goals. Upper management wanted me to let him go; however, I was hesitant because I wanted to see if he could thrive under my supervision.
action: Before I gave him notice, I sat down with him to outline the areas he needed to improve. We then developed an action plan for how he could tackle each competency. Periodically, I asked about his progress and if he needed assistance. In addition, I always left my door open for questions.
Despite my efforts, he never asked for assistance and he continued to perform poorly.
result: In the end, I fired him. Or, I should say, he fired himself because I gave him the opportunity to succeed.
Question 64. Give an example of a situation in which you changed the status quo in order to cultivate leaders.
situation: The managers at National Stillwater promoted or praised employees who never ruffled feathers. They frequently overlooked employees who questioned procedures or offered suggestions for improvement—unfortunately, these people were usually labeled "difficult." From my point of view, that was a mistake. The managers needed to differentiate between doers and visionaries, and to promote accordingly.
action: I instituted a training program that emphasized the characteristics and accomplishments that managers should search for when defining the leaders in their departments.
result: The number of qualified leaders who moved up the corporate ladder grew as a result.
Question 65. Describe a time when you managed an individual who had excellent hard skills, but needed help with his or her soft skills.
obstacle: A technician in my department was effective at his job. Unfortunately, before he attended to customer problems, he would provide the customers with ways they could have avoided the situation in the first place. Though that information was useful, the customers felt that he should first fix the problem and then lay out the details of how to avoid troubles in the future.
action: I spoke with the technician and explained the situation while complimenting his hard skills.
result: His work continued to be stellar, and at the same time the number of complaints I received decreased tremendously.