How would you describe your management style? Interview questions answered

There are numerous classifications of management styles available online and in print. There may be four, six, or even ten of them. Sometimes it is difficult to comprehend the precise meaning of a particular category. However, a job interview is not a school exam.

Employers do not anticipate you to state whether you favor paternalistic or collaborative management. They anticipate hearing how you actually manage people and, ideally, want to hear an example of your management style.

Managers care most about results at the end of the day. Specifically, long-term outcomes trump short-term ones. Whether you prefer to lead the team with an iron fist or allow your employees to do whatever they want (or anything in between), as long as it works for you, you achieve your goals, and people do not leave the company under your leadership, you are good to go.

Let’s examine seven examples of responses to this intriguing interview question. My selection includes some conventional responses, as well as a few unconventional and inventive descriptions of your management style. I hope you find at least one answer that corresponds to your preferences and the message you wish to convey in the interviews.

How would you describe your management style? Interview questions answered

7 examples of responses to the question “What is your management style?” interview question

  1. I would describe it as highly democratic and visionary. I prefer to show people a vision, the ultimate objective, as opposed to micromanaging them and attempting to direct them each day. I have a broad vision, and everyone should be aware of their role in achieving the objectives. It should also be intellectually demanding and stimulate creative thought. In my current position, I have a fantastic team of designers and engineers, so I give them creative freedom. I am only responsible for reminding them of the vision, ensuring that they are motivated and intellectually challenged, and ensuring that they haven’t strayed from the intended path in their work and don’t lack motivation.
  2. I have been a construction supervisor up until this point. And in my experience, authoritative leadership is the only management style that works on a construction site. If you allow workers to do whatever they want, if you do not have clear rules of discipline in place, and if you do not have a clear system of rewards and punishments in place, the effectiveness of your workforce will plummet. People will stop working as soon as you leave the office for a meeting or any other reason. They will smoke cigarettes and converse while doing nothing. And if you do not set realistic deadlines for them, they will deliberately work slowly in order to earn more money. This is my experience from a construction site, and I am certain that other management styles may work in other settings. But for me, it’s all about authoritative leadership.
  3. This is my first job application, and I have yet to demonstrate my management abilities in a real-world setting. However, I wish to be a democratic manager. I want to be receptive to my employees’ feedback, especially since I will be a newcomer to the organization and this will be my first managerial position. Despite this, it is still essential to show respect. I should be able to make my own decisions and be accountable for my actions. That is the plan, and I intend to adhere to it.
  4. Sincerely, I have no particular preference. I may switch between autocratic and permissive management based on the project, the team, or the actual workplace situation. There are situations that require a strong hand and a decisive word, and there are others that require patience and an open ear to your subordinates’ opinions. I believe I have sufficient experience and skill to select the appropriate style for every situation.
  5. I’m not too fond of certain management divisions as taught in schools. My management style is results-oriented. Because this is the only thing that matters in the end. To meet the deadlines, finish the work, achieve the objectives, and of course, to help your people develop. How I accomplish this depends not only on the project, but also on a managed individual. If there is a creative person on my team who is not afraid to challenge the status quo and present disruptive ideas, I will give them a great deal of freedom to express their creativity because it will benefit the entire team. But if someone expects me to tell them what to do and then does an excellent job by following my instructions, I have no problem instructing them on even the most basic tasks. Because I strive to maximize the team’s efficiency and the value each employee brings to the organization. This is how I would describe my management style.
  6. If we want to retain the best employees, I believe we must provide them with room to grow and the chance to express themselves through their work. I prefer coach management because of this. I consider the workers’ needs, goals, and motivation, and I do not expect everyone on the team to be the same. No two people are identical, and a person who performs 70% of the work of the best employee is still valuable. It is essential to know your people and communicate with them frequently. My management style is built around one-on-one meetings. I’ve been successful thus far in attracting and retaining exceptional employees. They enjoyed working under my supervision, and I hope to achieve the same level of success in your organization.
  7. I’ve learned through experience that leading by example is the most effective management style. If the workers observe that I am the first one in the warehouse and that I am willing to perform manual labor when necessary, such as when the workload is heavy or an employee is absent and we are short-staffed, they will respect me more as their manager. This has been the case in both managerial positions I’ve held, and I would like to continue in the same manner if given the opportunity to work for your company.

If you are uncertain about the appropriate management style or your own management style, you can always emphasize an individual approach to each subordinate.

It’s a plus if you understand their company culture and the management style they employ throughout the organization, as well as what works best in the given economic or business sector.

However, if you are uncertain, you can always emphasize individual approach. You can either say that your management style will change based on the project or team you are leading, or even the atmosphere in the workplace (see sample answer no. 4 as an example), or you can say that you will tailor your approach to each employee based on their motivation, goals, and personality (see sample answer no. 5).

Do not set your sights too high when applying for your first managerial position.

If you are just beginning your management career and applying for your first managerial or supervisory position, you should be open to learning from others, including your subordinates. Confidence is essential, but humility will score you more points in interviews. Assure the hiring managers that you are willing to learn from anyone in the company and are extremely receptive to subordinates’ feedback.

Ultimately, it may be your only opportunity to earn their trust and respect. Because you would not advance as a manager if, as a young newcomer to the company, you immediately began to exert authority over your subordinates, you must avoid this pitfall.

Athina Iliadis is a Human Resources Professional with over 25 years’ experience in corporate environments working for companies such as Pearson, LexisNexis, Hershey, and Reckitt. In her current role as a consultant working with clients around the world, she coaches managers and employees on HR issues, supports leaders in their business, produces content about careers, interviews, and job opportunities. She is fluent in English, French and Greek, and she holds a BBA with a major in HR from Université du Québec à Montréal. Find her on LinkedIn and at

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