How to Answer: Tell me About a Time You Took a Leadership Role

Being a flight attendant is a challenging job that demands a range of skills and qualities beyond customer service. One such quality that recruiters look for in flight attendant applicants is leadership. The ability to take initiative, make decisions, and assume responsibility is crucial in high-pressure situations at 30,000 feet in the air.

Therefore, it is not uncommon for airline company recruiters to ask the cabin crew job interview question, “Tell me about a time you had to step up and take a leadership role?” during the interview process.

Also Read: How to Answer: Tell Me About a Time You Dealt with a Difficult Customer

When answering this question, it is important to provide concrete examples of how you exhibited strong leadership skills in challenging situations. Talk about specific instances where you took initiative and overcame obstacles while working with other people. You can describe any problems or challenges that you faced and explain how you dealt with them. Make sure to talk about what you learned from the experience and how your actions benefited others.

Here are some tips and sample answers to help you prepare for this interview question.

Tell me about a Time You had to Step up and Take a Leadership Role

Why is the airline recruiter asking this Question?

The recruiter asks this question because they want to gauge your ability to act independently, take responsibility, and make sound decisions in a challenging situation.

Flight attendants are often the only safety authority in the cabin, especially when the pilot is busy or unavailable. The recruiter wants to see if you can handle such responsibilities and take initiative when necessary.

Another thing is that while flight attendants may be rank-and-file employees and report to a supervisor/manager, they will often be the face of the airline during a flight. As such, they need to be able to act with confidence and decisiveness when dealing with customers or managing situations on board.

1. Start by mentioning an example from the past – the more recent, the better. Talk about a time when you stepped up as a leader either at work or during an extracurricular activity.

2. Showcase your ability to assess situations quickly and come up with appropriate solutions. Describe how you identified potential issues before they became problems and acted swiftly to resolve them.

3. Demonstrate how your leadership skills impacted the outcome of the situation. Show how your actions made a positive difference in the end result.

Also Read: How to Answer: Have You Worked with Someone You Didn’t Like?

Other Variations to this Question

Here are other variations to the leadership skills and experience question:

  • Tell us about a time you have shown leadership qualities.
  • Describe an instance where you assumed responsibility for a task or project.
  • Share an example of when you had to make quick decisions.
  • Give an instance when you had to take initiative in your job.
  • Explain how you handled a situation that required strong decision-making skills.
  • Tell us a story of when you stepped up and took charge in your job.
  • Talk about how you led by example in the workplace.
  • Share with us an experience where your leadership was tested.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Answering This Question

Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to answer the “Tell me about a time you had to step up and take a leadership role?” question:

  • Step 1: Briefly describe the situation you faced.
  • Step 2: Describe what you did to take charge and assume a leadership role.
  • Step 3: Explain the impact of your actions, including the outcome and the actions of others.
  • Step 4: Describe what you learned from the experience and how you would apply it to your work as a flight attendant.

Follow the steps above to guide you in crafting an effective answer to the flight attendant interview question. Show your interviewer that you have the leadership skills and experience they’re looking for in a candidate.

Also Read: How to Answer: Why Would You Be a Good Flight Attendant?

Sample Answers to the Leadership Role Experience

Here are seven examples of how to answer the “Tell me about a time you had to step up and take a leadership role?” question:

  1. “I was working as a waitress, and one day, we had a sudden rush of customers. The kitchen staff was overwhelmed, and orders were getting delayed. So, I took charge and started coordinating with the kitchen staff, prioritizing orders, and ensuring that everything was served on time. The customers appreciated the effort, and we received several positive reviews that day.”
  2. “I was volunteering at a charity event where we were distributing food to the homeless. One of the volunteers didn’t show up, and we were running short-handed. So, I took up the responsibility of managing the distribution and allocated tasks to the remaining volunteers, ensuring that everyone contributed equally.”
  3. “I was part of a group project in college, and we were facing a critical deadline. One of our team members had fallen sick, and the rest of the group was clueless about how to proceed. I stepped up, took charge of the situation, and divided the workload among the rest of the group, ensuring that we completed the project on time.”
  4. “I was at a party, and someone spiked a drink of one of the guests. I quickly took charge, rang the ambulance, and made sure that the guest was taken to the hospital on time. I stayed with the guest until their family arrived, and made sure that they received prompt medical attention.”
  5. “I was participating in a group discussion at my previous job, and one of the members had an idea that the rest of the group was dismissing. I listened to their idea, and although it was not popular at first, I made the group see its merits. We eventually incorporated it into our project and received favorable reviews.”
  6. “While traveling, my flight got delayed, and it was causing major chaos in the airport. I stepped in, spoke with the airline staff, and helped arrange different flights for the affected passengers. I was happy to see that my efforts brought back calm to the situation.”
  7. “During my previous job as a receptionist, there was a company-wide meeting scheduled, but there was no agenda. I stepped up, asked the employees what they wanted to touch up during the meeting, documented the topics, and moderated the meeting. The management congratulated me for the initiative, and the meeting was successful.”

Tips to Answer This Question

  • Keep the responses brief and to the point.
  • Use a situation where you played a crucial role.
  • Emphasize problem-solving and leadership skills.
  • Use examples that support the airline’s company’s mission and vision.
  • Take ownership of the actions taken in the situation
  • Be honest.

Self-Reflection: Question to Ask Yourself

  • What kind of situation did I lead?
  • What was the outcome, and how did it affect others?
  • How did I persuade or influence others in this situation?
  • What do I believe my leadership strengths are?
  • What real-life example can showcase my best leadership traits?

Examples of Bad Answers

While the above are good answers, here we’ve listed below are some bad answers to the “Tell me about a time you had to step up and take a leadership role?” question.

  • I don’t know if I have ever taken on a leadership role.
  • There was a time when I helped out in the office, but I don’t think I led anything.
  • When there’s a problem at home, I usually take charge and solve it, but I don’t think that counts as a leadership role.
  • I was part of a team project once, but I was just one of the members, so I don’t think I led anything.
  • I have never faced a situation where I needed to take a leadership role.
  • I have worked in a team before, and we worked things out together. I can’t think of a specific example where I led anything.

Important Reminders when Addressing this Question

Here are some important reminders to help you prepare for this question:

  • Research the airline company’s values and mission and incorporate them into your answer.
  • Be specific in your examples and explain how you took a leadership role and why.
  • Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your response.
  • Practice different scenarios and questions with a friend or family member before the interview.
  • Be confident and articulate in your response, and don’t be afraid to show your personality.
  • Avoid answering in general terms or using examples that are not related to the job requirements.

Video: Best Answer to the Question Tell me About a Leadership Role You Recently Demonstrated

Check out this video guide on YouTube by CareerVidz about the best response to this question. It features examples of good answers, tips on how to structure your response, and pointers on what recruiters look for in a candidate:

In summary, responding to the “Tell me about a time you had to step up and take a leadership role” question can be daunting but with the right research, preparation, and reflection – it is possible to provide an impressive answer that will help increase your chances at getting the job. By focusing on key aspects such as problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities and demonstrating how you lead with initiative, you will successfully demonstrate


In conclusion, the “Tell me about a time you had to step up and take a leadership role?” question is an opportunity to showcase your ability to take initiative, make tough decisions, and lead a team effectively.

The job of a flight attendant is demanding and requires various skills, including leadership, in addition to customer service. As a result, recruiters from airlines often ask candidates during the interview to describe a time when they had to take on a leadership role.

By following the steps above and preparing various scenarios and responses, you can impress the airline company’s recruiter and increase your chances of getting the role.