How To Answer the Question ‘What Is Your Management Style?'

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

An interviewer is likely to be interested in your management style if you're applying for a role that involves the supervision of others. This information helps the interviewer decide whether you're the right fit for the company. As there are various potential answers to this question, it's helpful to find a way to highlight the reasons that you're the best candidate for the role. In this article, we discuss the most common management styles and help you word a great response to this common interview question.

Why do interviewers ask, 'what is your management style?'

Employers often ask 'what is your management style' when they want to know whether or not you can successfully lead and manage the needs and preferences of their current employees.

Although there are different types of effective management styles, some employees work better with specific management systems. This usually depends heavily on the field you're interviewing for. Employers typically focus on making sure that you listen to your employees and understand their individual and collective needs. If your answer matches what the company is looking for, you may come across as suitable for the position.

Related: Management Skills: Definitions and Examples

Understanding your own management style

Before you answer questions about how you manage employees, it's helpful to decide which of the primary management styles best represents you. Here are some of the most common management styles you may want to know about when preparing to answer this question during a job interview:

Visionary management

This management style involves the leader communicating a clear purpose and direction with their employees. The vision is usually something the employees believe in, making them more likely to follow the 'visionary' manager's ideas and execute them in practice. This type of manager typically allows their employees to get to work once the main vision has been communicated to help give them a sense of autonomy.

Visionary managers are known for being firm yet fair. If employees are performing well or have their own ideas on how to better complete tasks, a visionary leader listens, rewards and changes their strategy accordingly.

Mentoring management

This is a very hands-on managerial style and relies on consistently supporting, encouraging and mentoring employees. This type of leadership follows the idea that employees work most efficiently when they're motivated and pushed to achieve more than they expected to. This type of manager tends to focus on their employees over the task at hand, which helps employees feel valued and appreciated. Managers who use this method typically find that their employees work hard and produce high-quality work as a result.

Democratic management

As the word democracy suggests, this type of management relies on listening to employees and making choices for the company based on the majority's opinions on a topic. While managers with this approach allow the ideas and preferences of the employees to influence their decisions, they're also able to make tough decisions when needed. This management style is a great way to ensure that employees feel listened to and valued. Democratic management relies heavily on trust and strong leadership.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Management Styles

How to answer questions about your management style

Answering questions about management style can be a bit personal. Although management styles can be grouped together, a visionary manager may deal with a specific situation differently than another. When preparing to talk about your management style, make sure to use the SMART technique to better explain your point. Here are steps you can follow to give a clear answer about your management style:

1. Describe your management style

It's generally not enough to define your management style in a word or two. Try to accurately describe what your management style entails both daily and long term. It can be helpful to provide the interviewer with reasons that your management approach is unique and well suited to the company you're interviewing for.

Related: How to Develop SMART Goals

2. Provide examples

One of the best ways to highlight your managerial skills is to provide examples of how your leadership skills have been successful. Make sure to share important details about how your specific management skills helped your previous or current company in situations that could arise in your new job role.

For example, you could talk about increasing revenue or gaining new clients based on how you managed your employees. Alternatively, you can point out a time that you successfully managed a task that resulted in positive reviews and company growth. Statistics are a great way to show your potential employers that you're a manager who can provide results.

3. Show you care

Consider highlighting how your management style helps your peers and employees feel valued and appreciated. This is as important to many employers as company growth or increasing revenue. Talking in detail about your management methods gives you an excellent opportunity to show that you're a leader who cares about your employees.

Example answers to 'what is your management style?'

Here are some examples of answers to this interview question to help you prepare for your next interview:

Visionary manager example answer

If you would describe yourself as a 'visionary manager', here is an example of how you could answer this interview question to highlight your strengths:

'Although management styles can be challenging to define, I would describe myself as a visionary manager. I have strong ideas and goals that I believe can help improve the company and encourage the employees.

I always work hard to ensure that my employees are happy with the goals and objectives I set out, and I always listen to their opinions to ensure that they feel their voices are being heard. Regularly checking in with my employees is important to me as it helps ensure that they understand the tasks at hand and they feel supported throughout.'

Mentoring manager example answer

If you have read the above descriptions and feel that you best fit into the description of the 'mentoring manager', here is one example of how you could answer this interview question:

'I would describe myself as a mentor rather than a manager. I believe that it's much more essential to encourage, support and help my employees grow than to assert myself as their superior.

Although I always strive to achieve goals that help grow the business, improve the company and support clients, I believe that real growth occurs when your employees are working at their best and feel they are being supported every step of the way. Without pushing my employees too much, I always want to ensure they have every opportunity to grow and achieve their personal goals.'

Democratic manager example answer

If your management style involves listening to the majority's wishes, you may choose to describe yourself as a 'democratic manager'. Here is an example of an answer that you could use to describe your management approach at your next interview:

'As a strong believer in democracy, I have found that the best work happens when everyone is happy with what they are doing and believes that they are completing the task in the best way possible. I always want all of my employees to feel valued, so I consider their opinions to be of the highest importance.

I strive to consult my team regularly on big and small matters so that everyone feels that their voice is being heard. Although it is important to me to ensure that my team members make the decisions they believe work best for them, I can also make hard decisions quickly and with astute judgment when needed.'

Related: What To Say in an Interview: 12 Effective Phrases

More tips on how to successfully answer interview questions

To successfully answer your interview questions, consider the following tips:

  • Plan ahead: The best candidates are usually well prepared. It can be helpful to research some of the most common interview questions which may come up in your industry and prepare answers for each of them.

  • Be concise: It's common to over-explain when you're in a situation that makes you feel nervous, but it's best to try and ensure that you're as concise as possible with all of your answers.

  • Show enthusiasm. Show that you care about the company and the position to help increase your chances of a job offer.

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