Leadership, Strategic Thinking and Leadership Interview Questions

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1637 Words
Date:  2022-08-15


Primary duties are supervising and directing alongside ensuring adherence to policies and other administrative tasks. Employee cooperation is paramount, and it is often necessary to motivate them by involving them in decision making. Being part of a large company makes one always conscious of the image they project to the public and adjustments are often necessary to keep up with the rapidly changing world. Most employees are young and require patience and understanding to work effectively. However, job quality and service delivery must not be compromised at all costs. Also, you have to hold similar expectations of yourself as you do the employees to reduce resistance to decisions especially in the case of the younger store workers. Disciplinary issues sometimes get channeled through the store manager before reaching the human resource department, and such scenario calls for calm and rational but firm decisions.

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General View of Leadership

Gandolfi and Stone in their preferred definition of leadership identify some of the roles of a leader to be selecting followers, training, and equipping them and exacting influence (Gandolfi and Stone, 2017. P.19). The functions identified by McNeely mostly constitute wielding authority and some elements of training. This assertion is because as a store manager, he mostly gives instructions and corrects employees when there are mistakes. He also comments employees may need to be motivated which amounts to exacting influence. McNeely also recognizes that some employees are young and therefore need more guidance. The statement that the employees require patience and understanding suggests a transformative approach to leadership. This suggestion is because McNeely considers the opinion and feelings of subordinates before making some decisions.

However, the statement that meeting organizational expectations is mandatory suggest the leadership may be situational and adapting as necessary. This assertion is because sometimes McNeely gives instructions without compromise which is consistent with Theory X and inconsistent with the transformational approach to leadership. Moreover, McNeely is open to accepting and initiating new ideas and methods. He comments that his way of doing things often has to change to keep up with rapid changes in the business world brought about by customer expectation and new company standards. This statement shows initiative to lead change. Doss, 2014 suggests that leading innovation advocates for equally high standards for the employees and oneself and McNeely adheres to such as he often leads by example(Doss, 2014). Leading by example also motivates others to adopt similar qualities which in turn nurtures them as leaders.

The Leader's View of Organizational Culture

Brubaker, 2011 agrees with Peter Drucker's sentiments that an organization's culture overpowers most leadership and strategies (Brubacker, 2011). McNeely views Walmart's organizational culture as employee centered and in alignment with the company's strategic objectives. It is not an easy task changing corporate culture, and Walmart has made a lot of effort to ensure that their current structure remains so. Madu suggests that leaders can influence organizational culture by emphasizing on issues and adhering to them too, therefore, creating norms which the employees adopt (Madu, p.3).

Similarly, McNeely states that his employees expect him to direct, gently correct and adhere to similar standards. The method ensures subordinates behave as he does thus create excellent organizational culture. However, McNeely has apprehensions on the sustainability of the current corporate structure because he feels employee plights are not well considered. He views Walmart's organizational culture as useful but flawed as it is too customer centered.

The Leader's Approach to Strategic Thinking

Rowe suggests that strategy is what provides the real distinction between a visionary leader and a manager (Nejad & Rowe, 2009). A manager is more inclined to maintain the status quo while a leader is inclined to changing it and progressing. However, a strategic leader manages to incorporate both aspects of management and rapid advancements into his or her leadership. McNeely shows some level of strategic leadership as he seeks to solve the wage problem before it seriously arises and ensure the company maintains a competitive advantage. Gilmore, 2007 suggests that strategic thinking requires a leader to have both insight and foresight (Gilmore, 2007). Insight, in this case, refers to awareness of the current state of the company regarding strengths and weaknesses while foresight refers to the future state of the company concerning risks and opportunities. As shown in the interview, McNeely's insights have made him realize employee consideration is Walmart's current weakness and future uncertainty. Moreover, McNeely plans to create an opportunity for himself by obtaining a degree in marketing and seeking promotion which is a strategic decision.


Leadership is an interactive process. An efficient leader should encourage contribution from followers to create a sense of belonging and motivate the employees. A leader should also be able to adapt to the situation and be the type of leader that is needed for each unique case. Moreover, subordinates' resistance to a leader's attempts to influence their behavior reduces when the leader adheres to the standards set for the assistants.

Furthermore, similar measures allow the manager to change organizational behavior by influencing employee behavior. Another way for managers to control corporate behavior is an emphasis on issues that they intend to establish as a norm and eventually integrate into the culture. Lastly, a good leader engages in strategic thinking and decision making. The position of a manager does not necessarily make one a leader as most managers follow set standards and rules and do not take the initiative. A leader should also not lean predominantly to visionary leadership as such exposes the organization to more risks and may derail the company. Strategic leaders have to find a balance between managerial leadership and visionary leadership. Therefore, leaders have to consider not only the current state of the organization but also future possibilities to be effective.


Gandolfi, F. & Stone, S. (2017). The Emergence of Leadership Styles:

A Clarified Categorization. Review of International Comparative Management, 18(1), 18-30.

Madu, B. C. Organization culture as a driver of competitive advantage. Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, 1-9.

Doss, H. (2014). How to Lead a Culture of Innovation. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/henrydoss/2014/04/29/being-innovation-leadership/#13821490180e

Brubaker, D. (2011). Strategy, Structure, and Culture: Aligning our Organizational Systems. Peace Builder. Retrieved from https://emu.edu/now/peacebuilder/2011/06/strategy-structure-and-culture-aligning-organizational-systems/

Gilmore, B. (2007). Integrating Strategic Thinking into your Organization for Long-Term Competitive Advantage. Leadership Advance Online. Retrieved from https://www.regent.edu/acad/global/publications/lao/issue_11/gilmore.htm

Rowe, G. W. & Nejad, M. H. (2009). Strategic Leadership: Short-Term Stability and Long-Term Viability. Ivey Business Journal. Retrieved from https://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/strategic-leadership-short-term-stability-and-long-term-viability/Appendix

Interview Questions

General Leadership Questions

1. How do you express your belief in your subordinates?

Employees often feel they are trusted if they are allowed to participate in the decision-making process. Most of the young employees lack experience but have good ideas while the experienced employees often do not need guidance but purely facilitation. Moreover, some level of tolerance and patience goes a long way in creating belief.

2. When is it okay to break the rules?

Employees must adhere to organizational expectations. It is never okay to break the rules. Some rules may be bent to accommodate unforeseen circumstances, but this is a temporary measure as the administration awaits revision of company policy.

3. How do you deal with uncertainties?

Change is one of the unchanging elements of a business. A business will often have unknowns. However, as a manager, one must first set new standards for oneself when experiencing uncertainties. This measure encourages subordinates to follow suit. Consultation with upper management is often necessary to solve such issues.

4. What changes would you make to the organization's hierarchical system if granted opportunity?

I would advocate for a more flexible hierarchy. Often, a leader does not have all the knowledge, and there may be scenarios in which the employees have more information than the leader. Allowing them a significant contribution to decision making would ensure smoother operation/

5. Why do you do what you do?

My family motivates me every day to get up and go to work. However, I often feel content when I accomplish asks, and this is the underlying reason I do what I do.

6. What has influenced you the most?

My time as a store worker at Rent-A-Center has had the most impact on my preferred leadership style

Questions on Organizational Culture

1. How would one best define the culture of this organization?

Walmart's organizational culture makes the customers the top priority. The company advocates for maximum customer satisfaction when possible. Moreover, the company relies on individual, team and organizational performance and their mutual contribution to achieving customer satisfaction. Leaders have to provide an excellent example to subordinates

2. How do your employees expect you to act?

The employees expect firm directions with gently delivered corrections in case of error. The employees also expect me to adhere to equal standards.

3. Is there anything about the culture that you would change?

The company should increase emphasis on employees. The customer is king often comes at the expense of the employees. The organization should balance employee needs and customer satisfaction.

4. What qualities do you look for in someone you promote?

The foremost consideration is work skills and competence. Other factors will include work experience, leadership qualities, and communication skills.

Strategic Leadership Questions

1. Plans for the next 3-5 years?

I plan to take an online marketing course and seek promotion to a marketing manager. Additionally, I have plans to start a campaign for improved wages of Walmart workers and get support from employees all over the country. The campaign will involve peaceful and non-aggressive tactics such as suggestions and lobbying.

2. Who are your biggest competitors?

The company's biggest competitors are online retail and wholesale giants such as Amazon and Alibaba. These companies manage to bypass Walmart's pricing penetration strategies by providing in-house shopping and delivery at competitive prices.

3. How much have you learned in this leadership role?

The most significa...

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Leadership, Strategic Thinking and Leadership Interview Questions. (2022, Aug 15). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/leadership-strategic-thinking-and-leadership-interview-questions

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