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What Is Your Management Style?: Why It Is Asked & How To Answer [With Sample Answers]

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Are you struggling to answer interview questions like “what is your management style?” Job screening assesses how a potential employee handles difficult scenarios, especially regarding leadership.

Fortunately, you’re not alone, as many people fail to understand how to answer this question. Fortunately, it’s easier once you realize what your interviewer is actually asking.

Let’s discuss why interviewers ask about management styles and what makes an ideal answer. We’ll also address what you should avoid saying and supplement it with some sample responses.

Understanding the right managerial qualities is crucial for acing your interview and scoring a job.

Why Do Interviewers Ask “What Is Your Management Style”?

When interviewing for a managerial opportunity, you may encounter this question.

When employers ask about your management style, they want to see how you will display long-term leadership skills and promote a cooperative work environment. In addition, interviewers want to know if you can balance being a firm authority and a reliable team member.

As a result, when they ask what your “management style” is, they aren’t looking for a single correct answer. Instead, they’re probing for your ideas about how to be a leader and what kind of work environment you will help to create.

So, just like it sounds, this is a very open-ended question with room for your opinion and experience.

What is the Interviewer Looking For?

The interviewer wants two distinct areas of understanding in every applicant: knowledge of management styles and personal expertise.

Like all interview questions, your workplace also wants to verify your preparedness. Stumbling and stuttering exude unconfidence and poor preparation, so be ready to address this question before your interview.

There are several pre-established, well-known management styles in the workplace. One example is the democratic method, where you work with your team to reach conclusions and meet deadlines on a principle of equal importance. Contrariwise, direct management informs your coworkers of what they must do and how as part of a cohesive unit.

There are many more management styles, but people don’t typically fall neatly into one category. That’s why interviewers want you to synthesize your personality and expertise with one or two existing methods to create a unique response.

For example, are you personable and reliable? Do you get the job done by any means? Your answer will reflect those qualities.

How to Answer “What Is Your Management Style?”

An open-ended question like this has no exact correct or incorrect answer. Instead, focus on qualities that exemplify your managerial strengths and what the workplace needs.

Let’s look at a few of the best points to emphasize and the ones you shouldn’t mention.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

The first step to giving a good answer is to assess what kind of manager would succeed in the environment you’re applying for.

For instance, if you’re interviewing as a factory manager, you may realize the importance of timeliness and assembly line work division. However, if you’re applying for an office overseer position, you may prioritize decorum and instruction.

Once you clearly understand what makes a successful manager, convey that to your interviewer. Combine that image with managerial styles that motivate and sustain your subordinates. Try to balance the authority of management with humility, aiming for efficiency and high team morale.

Your workplace wants to hire somebody who will show long-term commitment. Emphasize that you will take up long-term tasks like employee training. Express a willingness to take on whatever jobs you can, especially during worker shortages or unexpected scenarios.

Finally, interviewers want to see your unique personality in your management skills. Express how your unique traits and experiences will contribute to the work environment you will create.

You can even give an example of a scenario where you excelled in the past or a hypothetical solution to a common problem.

Always ask your interviewer for feedback, which shows high learning potential. They may help inform your ideas of the best management style for the opportunity. They might also aid in refining your answer for future career interviews.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

There are a few ways to strike a wrong chord when answering this question during an interview.

The first thing to avoid is mentioning what you think doesn’t work well in the workplace’s current arrangement.

Overestimating yourself comes across as prideful and disrespectful, even if you feel sure your management would drastically improve the company. So avoid voicing your opinion about how the business currently works. Instead, be ready to fulfill your role.

Don’t use language suggesting you don’t plan to stay with the company. Even if that is the case, almost every company wants someone willing to work long-term. In addition, they want to see your potential for extended leadership.

Don’t suggest that you will shadow your workers at all times. The best managers can avoid micromanaging and still get the job done. If you aren’t confident in your workers, that will affect your management model negatively.

Lastly, don’t suggest that you’re too important for grunt work. Even a manager must fulfill menial tasks at times. Instead of sticking to a strict administration model, be open to various responsibilities, as all workplaces desire versatile team members.

Examples: How to Answer “What Is Your Management Style?”

The best way to get a feel for good answers is to see them yourself. So let’s see three sample responses that best show the applicant’s capabilities, confidence, and cooperation.

Example Answer 1

“I believe a workplace functions best when everyone’s goals are in perfect agreement. That’s why I take a democratic approach, gathering input from my team and synthesizing it into a detailed plan everyone can follow.

Then, I provide incentives to bring the plan to fruition, leading the workplace to a quick, efficient, and excellent result.”

Why This Answer Works

This response modestly represents an applicant’s views, mixing them with a pre-established management style. They explain the value of incentives and how they can motivate their staff to achieve any goal in a calculated way.

This answer is a great general template for any work environment.

Example Answer 2

“At my last job, I managed a factory floor and saw the importance of maintaining employee morale. That’s why I take a relational approach, checking in on my staff daily. I can call on my prior experience to organize events and motivate my fellow workers, emphasizing that I care about their health and wellbeing.”

Why This Answer Works

Referencing prior experience, this response demonstrates a client’s previous success in a management role. They understand the auxiliary duties of a manager, taking the effort to practice interpersonal skills in the workplace.

Drawing upon an existing working model, they integrate their attributes to create a unique response.

Example Answer 3

“As a prior office receptionist looking to move up to management, I know exactly what being a team member is like. I can bring my subordinate perspective to meetings, events, and everyday work to effectively manage and relate to the team. I use a laissez-faire approach to balance employee individuality and keen problem solving that lasts far beyond myself.”

Why This Answer Works

This applicant starts by explaining that they understand a subordinate’s perspective. Then, they use that experience to inform their hands-on style in all areas of the workplace.

The answer ends with a promise that their strategies will outlast their own tenure, showing both confidence and long-term commitment to the job.

Additional Tips For Answering This Question

What are some other ways or adjacent practices to improve your response?

Here are three that may help you answer articulately or be a better job candidate.

Ask Your Interviewer Questions

An interview doesn’t need to be one-sided. If the atmosphere feels inviting enough, ask your interviewer questions during the process. This makes communicating easier for you and the other person and may help you glean information about the work environment and standards.

You can use that knowledge to inform your management style response.

Give Examples

The various management styles can be difficult to pin down. If it helps, give examples during your answer that flesh out how you respond to everyday situations. Hypotheticals or past scenarios may aid you in elaborating your individual style and workplace goals.

Try To Keep It Short

Don’t feel obligated to regale a long anecdote to answer this question. Keep it brief unless your interviewer asks for clarification or more information. The more you ramble about your management style, the more likely you will repeat yourself or show unconfidence.

Instead, prepare a short paragraph-length response that works well.

Additional Questions To Be Aware Of

Everyone knows that interviews involve more than just one question. So here are other topics you should prepare for.

  • Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years? “Where do you see yourself in five years” is a tough question to answer. You can’t predict the future, after all. But, thankfully, once you realize the interviewer is gauging your long-term commitment to the job, it gets easier to respond.
  • What Are You Passionate About? One of the more personality-based questions, “what are you passionate about” seems very ambiguous. The right balance between personal goals and the opportunity at hand will make the best showing.
  • What Can You Bring to the Company? When interviewers ask “what can you bring to the company,” they want to know what sets you apart from other potential hires. Display your unique skill sets, prior experience, and high potential to wow your interviewer.
  • What is Your Work Style? Similar to management styles, a work style demonstrates how you coordinate, communicate, and handle tasks. “What is your work style” is a common question interviewers ask.
  • How Do You Handle Stress? Every job involves some degree of stress. Employers want to know how you perform in a crisis or an unexpected scenario. So they may ask “how do you handle stress?”

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about management styles that will give you some pointers for good answer possibilities.

What are 2 Management Styles?

Two of the most common management styles are opposites: the democratic and direct approaches.

In the direct approach, you instruct your subordinates what you want them to do, outlining an exact procedure. In the democratic management style, you instead gather input from the entire team for planning, decision-making, and task delegation.

What is a Good Management Style?

Every management style has its own benefits and drawbacks, and any style performs well with the right leader.

Generally, workers are more responsive to methods that show the manager cares. Relational strategies, incentives, and bonuses are key tools for a good management style.

Wrapping Up

So, what is your management style?

Now you know about them and why interviewers ask about them. Synthesize your personal experiences, skills, and traits into a method that benefits the entire company in a lasting way.

Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer for their ideal manager characteristics.

Once you know how to find a job you love, learning to ace your interviews is how you attain it.

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