The question “What is your management style?” can be a tricky one to answer in a job interview. How do you handle it in the best way possible to impress a recruiter?
What Is Your Management Skill, and Does It Matter?
What Is Your Management Style?
Job interviews typically include a wide variety of questions that attempt to get at important information about who you are as a person and as an employee. However, when an interviewer asks, “What is your management style?” especially if you’re not applying in a management capacity, it might confuse you more than it helps you. What should you know about answering this question in the best way possible?
What To Know About Management Style Discussions
Here are three important tips to consider when answering this question.
Understanding management styles can help
There are many different management styles out there, and understanding them before you create your answer can help you do it more effectively. Here are a few common management style terms:
- Democratic management style. In this management style, you typically let the team members have at least an equal say in how you manage. This can be helpful in situations where team members all have a lot of say and need to work together.
- Laissez-faire management style. In this management style, you’re extremely hands-off. This can be a good management style if your team already has a clear direction and doesn’t need a lot of input from the manager.
- Autocratic management style. This is a very strong management style where you’re in complete control of the decision-making process. Taken to an extreme, this style could be considered negative, especially when it comes to “steamrolling” team members.
- Transformational management style, also called a visionary management style. This management style focuses on creating an environment where your team members can focus on their professional development. It can be helpful if you’re trying to coach your team members in becoming successful managers themselves.
There are also many other management styles, but these can help you create your sample answer.
Any answer is better than no answer
When a hiring manager asks, “What is your management style?”, you shouldn’t say, “I don’t have one” or “I have a lot of different styles.” Having a specific statement about what makes you a good leader makes more impact, and can help you move forward in your job search.
Be specific, not vague
Specificity is the name of the game here. The hiring manager wants to know specifically what makes you an effective leader. You need to show that you’ll be beneficial to the company culture and that typically starts with a specific example that tells the hiring manager what they need to know.
The Two Steps To Creating a Great Answer
A great answer to this question typically consists of two parts. If you master these two parts, you can impress a hiring manager every time.
The answer itself
The first section is where you state what your management style is. For most people, the ideal management style is participative, where you check in with your team members but still have the final decision on what happens in the team project. This part of the answer could be something like this:
“I prefer a very persuasive management style. I like to show my team members why the important decisions I make are best for both the short-term and the long-term, rather than just imposing my will on them.”
An example supporting your answer
Next, you should discuss a specific example that supports your claim that this is your preferred management style. Talk about a time when you had to manage a group or an individual and you used that management style to make them see your point of view. For example, you may follow up the answer in the first paragraph with an example like,
“I was once team leader on a group project where no one could agree on the best terminology to use in the project. I created a PowerPoint presentation that explained why I chose the wording I did. This eliminated the infighting, and we were able to move on and quickly accomplish our goals.”
FAQ: What Is Your Management Style?
Yes. Even people in entry-level positions may need to discuss their management skills with the hiring manager. This is for two reasons. First of all, a recruiter wants to understand how you may behave when it comes to teamwork. Most work environments require people to work alongside each other, and job seekers need to show that they can take managerial positions and interdependent positions. Second, many companies like to promote from inside if possible. Showing off leadership skills in your interview makes you a great potential hire for a leadership position.
You can tell just about any story when you’re answering this question. The best managers know how to manage in many different capacities, including collaborative projects and helping each other with daily tasks. Any stories you can tell that show off the way you interact with other people will give a hiring manager an idea of your type of management style.
The STAR method is a solid way to respond to this question. This method stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result, and it’s one way that you can structure an answer to common interview questions. You start with a situation you were in, discuss a task that you needed to accomplish, mention the action you took, then talk about the result you ended up with. This approach helps you show off your experiences more effectively.