5 Answers To "What Is Your Management Style?"
If you apply for a management position, a question you’ll certainly be asked in the interview is, “What is your management style?” Being prepared with your answer in advance will make you sound more professional, deliver an impactful answer to the interviewer, and increase your chances of receiving an employment offer.
What The Interviewer Wants To Know
When an interviewer asks, “What is your management style?” they’re looking to see if you’ve had management experience. Those with management experience know to say what good management looks like and what bad management looks like. Through this answer, you’ll show your true experience level beyond your resume.
What A Good Answer Looks Like
A good answer to this interview question is one that addresses a few bullet points. Those points are:
- What good management looks like.
- What bad management looks like.
- Why you decide to go with this management style.
- Your flexibility in the way that you manage.
The last part is the one that’s the most critical. Managers with significant amounts of experience know that you’ll have to manage your team based on who the team is. Certain people value different types of management. They may appreciate your ability to be organized more so than your ability to lead them. That’s okay. Good managers know you have to mold yourself to fit the team's performance.
What A Bad Answer Looks Like
A bad answer is one that contains a blunt point of view. One that’s restrictive and will show that you aren’t empathetic or flexible in your points of view. That would be an answer like, “Good management is when the team listens to me.” An answer like that will seem narrow-minded and will make you appear as though all you’re interested in is the ability to have “power” within the business. Avoid answers that focus on you; keep the answers focused on the team.
Transformational VS. Transactional
This is a point that will always make you appear as though you have a significant amount of large company leadership. There are two types of leadership. Transactional, where you provide a series of tasks, ask the team to complete them and then provide them more. That’s actually not the best way to manage a team. Why? Because it doesn’t scale. Scale means to be able to reach optimal performance. If you were to provide a series of task lists, then your job becomes providing task lists. And that’s not the best way to lead.
Transformational leadership is when you provide teams with all the information and knowledge that they need to take risks on their own and do the work autonomously. This is when you are instilling accountability into the workplace. And that’s always going to make you seem like a great leader. In the conversation, if you can talk about the difference between these two types of leadership and how you appreciate transformational vs. transactional.
5 Answers To “What Is Your Management Style?”
Here are some examples of how you can answer this question. You must put your own natural way of managing into the interview answer. But if you follow the guidelines here, you should be able to make an impactful answer that’s terse and improves your odds of employment.
“I appreciate being able to lead by example. Though I recognize everyone has different types of ‘gaps,’ they need to be filled in their own ways. Because of that, I take an empathetic approach, trying to think about each of my team members' needs individually and as a unit. I stay focused on the company goal and helping our team to get there.”
“I appreciate transformational leadership vs. transactional. This is when I can provide everyone the information they need to take accountability. I’ve found this is the best way to manage a team.”
“I’ve had projects in the past that went on far beyond their deadline. And I remember realizing that this was my fault, not the teams. The first thing I did was tell them, “This is my fault that we’re behind.” and then tried to break down where we could make some changes to expedite our project. I take an empathic approach to management and always take responsibility for the team. But provide them with the information they need to be able to do a great job.”
“Management is the ability to provide guidance and support when needed. There’s no job too small for me. If the team needs something, I’ll get it for them. The goal is for our unit to work optimally and achieve the company goal that we were set out to accomplish.”
“Management is the perfect mix of empathy, leadership, accountability, expectation management, and organization. I try to ensure that my weekly focus is set on balancing these. If the team needs me to build our task list, I’m there to do it. If the team has questions regarding the goal of our project, I’m here to answer them. Whatever the team needs, I’ll get it to them.”
What Is A Good Management Style?
At the end of the day, a good management style is a transformational management. Whenever you can describe the differences between transactional and transformational and then declare that you are a fan of transformational leadership and management, this will come off as the best potential type of management style that you appreciate.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
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