(Lansing, MI USA)
Describe a time you needed to use diplomacy and tact to maintain relationships in a tension-filled situation._____________________________
In answering this question, you need to think about a specific situation that required you to use your interpersonal skills to diffuse a situation, for example: mediate between two colleagues, or bring order to a meeting that is getting out of control, or having a disagreement on how to handle a problem. The interviewer is asking for you to recall a specific situation, not some hypothetical scenario that might provide an easier response.
I might answer this question as follows:
I had responsibility to implement a major regulatory change that was impacting a number of departments in the bank that I work for. The first meeting was standing room only, and I was faced with many angry department representatives, all in agreement that what was required under the regulation couldn't be done. I was chairing that meeting, and rather than joining the fray, I brought order to the situation by outlining each department's issues, empathizing with their issues, and then bringing the discussion around to how we were going to comply with the regulatory directive in light of the constraints everyone was talking about.
By listening to the issues, and acknowledging that we were asking people to do something difficult, people calmed down and got to work on finding solutions.
Here's another example -
I was involved in a negotiation to acquire a business. I was "second chair" in the negotiation, but ended up taking a lead role because of tension between the buyer and seller. I was successful in getting things back on track by acknowledging that both sides had legitimate concerns, and working through the concerns to determine which were truly negotiable, and which concerns were show stoppers. By working through the issues one at a time, we were able to come to a mutually beneficial resolution and conclusion to the deal.
Think about your own experience, and a time when you did something similar to ease a difficult situation. Hope this helps!
Click here to post comments
Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Tough Interview Questions.