One of the most common interview questions when applying for a position that involves overseeing others is “what is your management style”. When an interviewer asks you this question, they want to know what you are doing to lead, motivate, and lead a team of employees.
Not every leadership style works for every company and the interviewer tries to find out if you are a good fit for their team.
To give a good answer, you have to show that, as a leader, you can deal with situations and problems while talking about real experiences.
Table of Contents Hide
- What makes a good manager?
- Why employers ask what your management style is
- How do I respond to the “what is your management style” Question?
- #1. Think about the leadership style of previous managers
- #2. Identify qualities that make you a good manager
- #3. Define what skills you think a good manager has
- #4. Decide what style of leadership you have
- #5. Tell a story about when you used a particular leadership style
- “What is your management style like?” Sample answers
- Editor’s Recommendations
The first thing you should know is that there is a “right answer” to “what is your management style”. This is because this is a so-called “behavioral” interview question. And to correctly answer such a question, you need to give an example of past behavior.
If you are applying for a position where you have to oversee others, any reasonable hiring manager will ask you, “What is your management style?”
And for some reason, this question always seems a bit awkward to answer. How can you respond in a way that shows that you can be an effective leader who fits the team without sounding too grandiose (and not too humble at the same time)?
While there are many ways to make an impression that will strike that balance, in this writing, we shall look at the proper way to respond to this question
What makes a good manager?
Before you can talk about your leadership style, you need to define what good leadership means to you. Being able to explain this will help the interviewer see what kind of manager you are.
Ask yourself: What does a good manager look like? No, they’re not just big, dark, and handsome. Use your knowledge of the company to make sure you mention qualities and skills that are important to the company.
Consider these qualities that make a good manager:
1. You value the corporate culture: A good manager likes the qualities of the company that make them unique. Managers should be invested in the culture that sets them apart from other companies in their industry.
2. Positivity: A positive attitude can spread to everyone around you. When a manager has a good attitude and shows enthusiasm for their job, it can make everyone more positive and work harder.
People are more productive when they are satisfied, and someone who keeps their people on the job and motivates them is a great asset to any team.
3. Ability to set priorities: Being able to prioritize and focus on the tasks ahead is a great recipe for success. A good manager can prioritize the most important projects and get their team to focus on those projects.
Successful managers not only complain about things that need to be done but find ways to get them done before a deadline.
4. Empathy and warmth: Nobody wants to work with robots. Managers should lead their employees and lead them with understanding.
Everyone is going through tough times that can make it difficult to get their job done. It is important that a manager looks after his team and can motivate them to do their best job.
5. Honesty: Of all the qualities that make a great manager, honesty is arguably the most important. The best managers will tell their employees what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. The truth can hurt, but giving honest feedback is the only way your team can be successful.
6. Accountability: Being a good manager is more than just getting the job done. Good managers are responsible, work to achieve their own goals, and take responsibility when things go wrong.
Creating an atmosphere of accountability will help others see the importance of responsibility for their actions.
7. Decision-making and flexibility: The best managers are capable of making big decisions that will produce the best results for their team. Good leaders should know how to think quickly and adapt their methods to suit each employee rather than expecting everyone to respond to the same leadership style.
Why employers ask what your management style is
Employers often question a manager’s leadership style because they want to assess how they lead their team to see if it meets the current needs of their employees.
Many departments and their people can vary depending on what tasks they are doing, how quickly they are done, and how well they respond to different types of leadership.
For example, a production team can respond better to managers who give them plenty of space and request support from managers if necessary. A marketing team may need constant support and collaboration from their managers to do their job effectively.
Employers can assess the needs and performance of their departments and choose a manager with a leadership style that meets those needs. This can result in the teams doing more valuable work due to the motivation of their leaders.
How do I respond to the “what is your management style” Question?
This question is very important for employers as it helps them understand how well you can interact with people in their department. Follow the steps below to learn how to answer “What is your management style” during your interview.
- Think about the leadership style of previous supervisors.
- Identify qualities that make you a good manager.
- Define what skills you think a good manager has.
- Decide what style of leadership you have.
- Tell a story about when you used a particular leadership style.
#1. Think about the leadership style of previous managers
Before answering the question, think about your previous supervisors and analyze their leadership styles. Determine the qualities they had and how they helped you perform.
Did it make you feel motivated and encouraged to do effective work? If so, then you can use this as your leadership style of choice.
If you’ve had managers who motivated you less successfully, analyze the qualities they had that made you less positive and passionate about your position. They can apply traits that are the opposite of what they used in their leadership style.
#2. Identify qualities that make you a good manager
Now that you’ve assessed the qualities of your bosses, it’s time to reflect on the skills that currently make you a good boss.
If you’ve worked in previous leadership roles and acquired skills or knowledge that can help your people succeed, you can use these to describe what makes you a good manager.
List these traits in your head before or during the interview and try to mention them when answering this question.
#3. Define what skills you think a good manager has
Before describing your leadership style, you can briefly explain what qualities you think a good manager has. This can help employers understand which management skills you think would be beneficial and let them know that you have those skills as a manager.
Now that you have defined what a good manager is, it is time to discuss what your leadership style is and how to apply those skills to your leadership style.
#4. Decide what style of leadership you have
Now is the time to talk about the specific leadership style you think you have. Common leadership styles that you can mention in your interview include:
This leadership style is about getting employees to reach their maximum potential. Executives who use this style constantly encourage their employees to hone their skills and develop new ones.
They are constantly innovating and solving any employee problems to help them.
Visionary leaders develop a vision that their employees pursue and encourage them to achieve the goals of that vision. Once you communicate these goals, let your team do these tasks on their own.
They frequently monitor and review employees to answer questions or provide additional guidance if necessary.
These managers understand and value their employees’ ideas. They often give their team members a strong voice when they are making important decisions in the department to ensure their opinions are valuable.
This also encourages the team to work harder on projects as they have a voice in choosing the overall goal that they are working towards.
Mentoring or training management
This leadership style is also known as serving leadership and is based on encouraging, motivating, and supporting team members.
These managers often put their employees and their needs before projects or tasks. They work to build a relationship with employees that can motivate them to deliver valuable results.
Laissez-faire managers let their employees make a large part of their decisions themselves and let them work on projects with little or no supervision. These managers often believe that their employees work best individually and help when requested.
#5. Tell a story about when you used a particular leadership style
After describing your leadership style, you can briefly explain a case in which you used this leadership style on an employee. This will help employers get a better idea of when you used these styles and if the result was positive.
It also enables them to better imagine how you would apply these leadership styles to their own employees. You can describe this in a sentence or two and expand the story if the interviewer asks for additional information.
“What is your management style like?” Sample answers
The following examples can help you answer this question yourself based on your leadership style.
- Transformational Management
- visionary management
- Democratic Management
- mentoring or training management
- Laissez-faire management
Example 1: Transformation Management
“I believe that a good leader is motivating and encouraging. I always work to get myself out of my comfort level and do the same with my co-workers in style to guide them through this challenging task if necessary.
I accomplished this with a content writer I once mentored. I encouraged them to write long pieces of content on topics they had little to no idea about. This led to her becoming my strongest research writer on the marketing team. “
Example 2: Visionary Management
“A strong manager has effective communication and listening skills. I use these when working with employees in order to convey a professional, visionary leadership style to the employees.
Communicating their vision for a project is often as much as the employees need to do it Implementing Vision and Being Impressive When working with members of my marketing team, I often develop a vision for the campaign and let my team develop a strategy and design and write an effective campaign while observing and answering any questions as I go. “
Example 3: Democratic Management
“I see the employees in my department as my team and treat them as such. My democratic leadership style includes working closely with team members to develop strategies and make decisions together.
I constantly work to ensure that my employees are well informed, that their ideas and voices are heard when they are working on projects that we can all agree on. This helps them feel motivated and encouraged to produce impressive results as they work to bring their original ideas to life. “
Example 4: Mentoring or Training Management
“Being an effective leader means building a relationship with employees and motivating them to keep doing valuable work. Through my mentoring management style, I continuously reward my employees with positive reinforcement when they finish a challenging project or submit impressive work.
When they receive a project that might be too difficult or they feel overwhelmed, I listen to their concerns and decide how to implement the project. This encourages them to do strong and impressive work in a comfortable environment. “
Example 5: Laissez-faire management
“I believe that employees work best when a manager doesn’t constantly monitor their work. That’s why I use a laissez-faire management style. Every employee has a different way of doing their job, so I allow my team to do their job the way they see fit.
If you need my help, I’ll help you when necessary. I do this with my account management team by enabling them to work directly with clients to meet their needs and provide assistance when they feel stuck or need help to support a challenging client. . “
Different management styles are most effective when used together. The success of any style depends on how you use it and how you adapt it to the people and the work environment.
Each company will have its specific values and culture, so try to tell a story that shows that you are adaptable and share your mindset.
With that in mind, get out there and let your interviewer know that you are the best possible manager for their team.
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