5 Answers To "How Do You Like To Be Managed?"

a picture of business person and how do you like to be managed

When being asked, “How do you like to be managed?” it’s important you have a clear example of the most optimal situation you’d like to be in and be ready with your answer in advance. We’re going to cover why interviewers ask this question, how you might look upon your past to come with a great answer, examples of answers you can use, and what you should avoid saying when answering the question.

Why Is The Interviewer Asking Me How Do You Like To Be Managed?

The interviewer is asking you this question for two reasons. The first is that they can get an idea of what your ideal work situation looks like. The second reason is that they can get an idea of what your past working situations looked like. Both of these provide some potential for understanding how to drive success within the management of the company and how your manager might work with you.

The reality is that even when you provide your answer, it doesn’t mean that your future manager will be able to give you exactly what you are looking for. This is an opportunity for the interviewer to learn more about your personality and how they might anticipate your chemistry within the companies ecosystem.

The Ideal Answer To The Question

Ideally, the answer to this question is one that contains a prior working experience and reflection upon why that prior working experience succeeded. It would help if you took the time to think about how your previous bosses worked with you and which qualities of theirs really stood out to you.

Your answer should contain the following:

  • An example of your past working experiences.
  • A short story about your boss.
  • The reason why the management style worked so well.
  • Aligns with the company culture.

If you have all four of these key components within your answer, the interviewer should respond fondly to you.

What If You Only Had Bad Bosses

If you feel like you’ve never truly appreciated the way that you’ve been managed, I urge you to take another look and find the one that was the least of the “bad” bosses. You might interpret their leadership style as a negative one. But from experience, the next boss you work with could worsen, making the boss you thought was bad a good one. The point is that everything is relative in hindsight. Try to examine your managers with an unbiased point of view. Put yourself in their position, ask yourself how they could manage you.

If you don’t have enough work experience to be able to reflect upon a boss in a positive light, then that’s another problem. Though the more you are honest with your answer, then the easier it will be. For instance, if you only had one prior job. You can answer with a simple, “I’ve had the pretty limited working experience, but the manager that I had shown extremely great guidance, patience, leadership qualities, and the ability to stay organized. Because of that, the way he/she managed me showed through in a similar light.”

The point is that if you feel as though you’ve had bad prior working experiences, try to consider the positive aspects of them and bring those to the forefront. You do not want to tell the interviewer that all of the prior managers you’ve worked with were poor. This is because that is highly unlikely, and this communicates with the interviewer that you might be difficult to work with.

The Worst Answers To The Question

If you answer the question without any depth, it will come across as though you are evasive, which means the interviewer might interpret your answer as though you need to hide something from your past. For example, if you say to the interviewer that you don’t have a particular management style preference or that you can work with anyone quite easily, then it will appear like you might be telling a white lie.

Avoid answers that contain emotional past experiences as well. You don’t want to use this question as a platform to start speaking negatively about your other work experiences. For example, an answer like, “I feel like every manager that I’ve worked with could be doing better. That’s the reason why I want this job to be able to do better than they did.”

In that type of answer, you are putting down your previous managers, and that isn’t the best way to carry yourself professionally.

A Reference To Company Culture Matters

Culture is a big part of this answer. If, for example, you answer the interview question with something like, “I really appreciate autonomy. I’m looking to receive autonomy and be able to execute to get results.” While an answer like that may seem like a great idea, if the environment doesn’t provide a lot of autonomy to their employees, then it will seem as though you aren’t a good fit for the role.

The way to avoid this is to be looking up the company culture. You can use tools like LinkedIn or Glassdoor reviews to get an idea of what their culture is like. Though, for the most part, consider your basic company management to be apart of most organizations. That means structure, hierarchy, responsibility, and accountability. Those are some of the core characteristics of classic company management.

Answers To “How do you like to be managed?”

Here are some example answers that you can use to get an idea of what the interviewer is looking for.

Answer 1

“One of my favorite managers went by the name of Sam. Sam was incredibly talented at communicating to us in ways that resonated on a personal level. This means that Sam clearly took the time to think about each of our lives and how to best speak with us. His communication felt like guidance. And because of this guidance, many other team members and I felt like any challenge was possible to overcome. That’s just one of the qualities I look for in a manager.”

Answer 2

“The best managers that I’ve worked with always set clear goals, paths to achieving those goals, left the door open in terms of being able to ask questions and had patience with us when we needed a helping hand in getting the job done. Because of that, I felt like growth was achievable both on a personal level and on a company level.”

Answer 3

“I appreciate management that is both transformational and transactional. That means that the manager provides me the knowledge and background information on why the job is needing to be done. Or better put, the importance of the job. And then providing the list of tasks that our team needs to accomplish to go from Point A to Point B.”

Answer 4

“Collaboration has always been a heavy theme when I think of the managers I’ve worked with within the past, who I’ve had great chemistry. It’s that experience of working alongside someone, sharing ideas, and being able to hit milestones. It feels comfortable, compelling, and makes coming into work every day worth it.”

Answer 5

“I’ve always appreciated the managers who showed me the respect to treat me as though we were peers. It made me feel a closer connection with them, grew my respect for them even more, and then ultimately made them a mentor within the company. Having that line of communication, where the manager is genuinely interested in creating a connection with me, is what I consider a management style. And it’s one I have a great deal of respect for and always look for in a manager.”

Closing Note On This Interview Question

This isn’t your opportunity to create requests. Be honest, be humble, and be genuine with your answer. This will come across in the most professional of ways. Prepare in advance of being asked this interview question and promptly respond with your prepared answer. If you are dishonest, use cliches, or get overly specific, you might indirectly communicate something negative to your interviewer. They are seeking a genuine, simple answer from you. Could you provide them with one? The great news about being asked this question is that it is a leading question to you being offered employment. Normally a question of this type isn’t asked candidates who aren’t doing very well. Keep that in mind as you prepare for your interview and then after your interview when you are reflecting upon your performance, trying to decide if there were signs of the interview going poorly or signs of it going well.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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