5 Answers To "What Is Your Management Style?"

If you are applying 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, will deliver an impactful answer 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 have the knowledge to be able 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:

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 teams performance.

What A Bad Answer Looks Like

A bad answer is one that contains a blunt point of view. One that’s restrictive and going to 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 is going to seem narrow minded and is going to 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, which is where you provide a series a 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 be able to take the 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. If you can, in the conversation, 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 example of how you can answer this question. It’s important that you 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.

Example 1

“I appreciate being able to lead by example. Though I recognize everyone has different types of ‘gaps’ that they need filled in their own ways. Because of that, I take an empathetic approach, trying to think about each of my team members needs individually as well as a unit. I stay focused on the company goal and helping our team to get there.”

Example 2

“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.”

Example 3

“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 in order 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.”

Example 4

“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 in an optimal way and achieve the company goal that we were set out to accomplish.”

Example 5

“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 there to answer it. 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 transformational management. Whenever you are able to 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.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams.

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