A common interview question you might come across in a job interview is “What is your management style?” or “Describe your leadership style.” On this page, I’ll explain the reasons why hiring managers ask this question and provide you with useful interview tips that will help you structure your answer.
The reason why hiring managers ask managerial style related interview questions, is to find out the candidate’s managerial approach and if he/she is able to manage their team. Understand which management styles they seek for and provide them with a suitable real-life example answer.
Example Answer (Experience)
“I believe that my default management style, if I have one, is a democratic or participative approach. When I was a [Job title] at [Company XYZ], I noticed that this style increased productivity, overall group morale and the input of ideas and opinions were important in the decision-making process.
However, I assess the situation and team before I choose my management style. At my most recent job for example, my team experienced tight deadlines and there was little margin for errors. In these circumstances I tend to adopt an authoritative management style.”
Example Answer (No Experience)
“As you might have noticed in my resume, I don’t have any professional managerial working experience. I did however, take on several management roles and responsibilities as a student. I was team leader in various group projects and managed our academic volleyball team for four years.
I took a holistic approach and focused on the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of each team member. I motivated the team before matches and provided constructive feedback afterwards. As a result, our team earned its 4th straight district title and I was praised for helping the team evolve and grow.”
Interview Question Tips
- Don’t say that you’ve never managed a team before. Even if you’ve no working experience, you still need to come up with a story or narrative about a situation you took the leadership role.
- Don’t say ‘I’m not sure‘ or ‘I’ve never thought about it‘. Also, don’t say ‘I don’t have a management style, I just accomplish the department objectives’. You’ll come across as someone that lacks interest in their team and company culture.
- Do match your managerial qualifications to the job description. For example, if it concerns a position in Information Technology (IT), then a delegative management style is often preferred. A marketing team however, usually requires a more collaborative approach for constant support.