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When interviewing for a management position, you must be prepared to answer questions about your management style. Your interviewer will want to know how you handle various situations and what methods you use to motivate and lead your team.
Here are 13 interview questions about management style, the correct answers, and tips on preparing for your interview.
What is management style?
Management style is the way a manager leads and motivates employees. It includes the methods and approaches used to direct, control, and coordinate resources within an organization. It usually reflects their values, goals, and preferences.
There are many different management styles, but most can be classified into one of four categories: authoritarian, participative, laissez-faire, or delegative.
- Authoritarian management style is when the manager makes all decisions without input from others. This can often be seen as a top-down approach where the manager dictates what needs to be done and how it should be done. While this style can be effective in certain situations, it can also lead to problems such as low morale and high turnover rates.
- Participative management style is when the manager solicits input from others before making decisions. This can help ensure that all voices are heard and that the team makes the best decision. However, it can also lead to decisions taking longer to be made.
- Laissez-faire management style is when the manager allows others to make most of the decisions. This can be seen as a hands-off approach where the manager trusts their team to make the right choices. While this can lead to a high level of creativity and innovation, it can also lead to problems such as poor coordination and communication.
- Delegative management style is when the manager delegates tasks and responsibilities to others. This can often be seen as a bottom-up approach where the manager empowers the team to get the work done. While this can lead to a high level of ownership and responsibility, it can also lead to problems such as micromanagement and unrealistic expectations.
The best management style is the one that fits the situation and the team. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to management, so it’s important to experiment with different styles to see what works best for you and your team.
Related: Types of Management Styles
Things you need to know before a management interview
Management interviews can be daunting. But with some preparation, you can ace the interview and land the job. Here are a few things to keep in mind before your interview:
→ Do your research
One of the most important things you can do before an interview is to learn about the company’s culture, values, and management style. This will help you tailor your answers to fit what the company is looking for.
Company cultures vary widely, from laid-back and relaxed to fast-paced and competitive. Knowing the company culture will help you gauge how formal or informal your answers should be.
→ Be honest
The interview question is designed to test your ability to think on your feet and come up with a quick, insightful answer. However, some people try to fake it till they make it by giving a rehearsed or superficial answer.
This might work in the short term, but eventually, the interviewer will see through this, and it will reflect poorly on you. So it’s always better, to be honest and give an accurate answer, even if it’s not perfect.
The interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about the company and the role, so use it as a chance to ask questions and get clarification. By being genuine and showing a genuine interest in the job, you’ll make a much better impression than someone who’s just faking it.
→ Give specific examples
When asked about your management style, it’s essential to use specific examples from your past experiences. This will give the interviewer a better understanding of how you would handle situations as a manager.
For example, you might say you’re a hands-on manager who likes to give employees clear direction and then step back to see how they do. You might also say that you’re the type of manager who is always available to answer questions and help employees solve problems.
Whatever examples you choose, make sure they paint a clear picture of what it would be like to work with you as a manager.
→ The Right Skills Must Be Highlighted
When preparing for a job interview, it is essential to consider the skills required for the position. By focusing on stories that demonstrate the development or use of these skills, you will be able to lay out your experiences in a coherent way.
By defining the problem, explaining how you arrived at a solution, and describing how you implemented it, you will be able to answer different interview questions in a way that showcases your management abilities.
By collecting a variety of tales ahead of time, you can easily modify them to fit the needs of any interview question. By doing this, you can effectively demonstrate your leadership skills and set yourself apart from other candidates.
→ Don’t be overconfident
If you’re interviewing for a management position, you must prepare thoroughly. This will help you feel confident and give the impression of being a leader.
However, be careful not to over-rehearse your responses to questions. The company wants to understand your philosophy and leadership style, so presenting rehearsed speeches can come across as inauthentic.
Instead, focus on being relatable and think about the qualities the company is looking for in a manager. By preparing correctly and being yourself in the interview, you’ll increase your chances of impressing the hiring team and landing the job.
Related: Managers as a Leader
What are the Challenges Managers Face?
When it comes to challenges faced as a manager, every individual will have their own experiences and examples. However, some of the more common challenges faced by managers include:
- Making decisions that will impact employees’ livelihoods
- Dealing with difficult employees or those who are not meeting expectations
- Facing resistance when implementing changes or new initiatives
- Enforcing company policies
- Budgeting constraints
- Time management issues
- Prioritizing tasks and projects
- Juggling multiple tasks and priorities
- Hiring and retaining top talent
- Dealing with underperforming employees
- Managing budgets and resources
- Handling customer complaints and feedback
- Implementing new technologies or processes
- Conflict resolution
- Motivating employees
If you are asked this question in an interview, it is important to share a specific challenge you have faced as a manager. This will show the interviewer that you have dealt with difficult situations in the past and that you are capable of handling challenges.
After sharing your example, be sure to explain your managerial skills and what you learned from the experience. This will give the interviewer a better understanding of your capabilities as a manager.
Related: Examples of Time Management Skills
13 Best Interview Questions About Management Style
Most interviews for manager-level positions include questions about your management style. It’s essential to be prepared to answer these questions, as they can provide insight into how you would handle certain situations if hired. Here are a few examples of questions you may be asked, along with tips on answering them effectively.
1. What are your management styles?
You can answer this question in several ways, depending on your management style. For example, if you’re more hands-on, you might say that you like to give employees clear direction and then step back to see how they do.
You can say that if you’re the type of manager who is always available to answer questions and help employees solve problems. But, whatever examples you choose, make sure they paint a clear picture of what it would be like to work with you as a manager.
Example: You can say, “My management style is very hands-on. I like to give employees clear direction and then step back to see how they do. I’m always available to answer questions and help employees solve problems.”
2. Describe a time when you had to use your management skills.
Hiring managers want to see that you can think quickly and make decisions under pressure. One way to show them that you have these skills is to share a specific story about when you had to use your management skills.
Try to think of a time when you had to solve a problem or handle a difficult situation.
This will demonstrate to the hiring manager that you can handle challenging situations effectively.
Example: You can say, “I will use my management skills when one of my employees is constantly coming late and not meeting deadlines. So I will sit down with him and talk about the situation. Then, I will explain how his lateness affects the team and suggest how he could improve. After that, I’m sure he will start coming in on time and meet his deadlines.”
3. What methods do you use to motivate and lead your team?
A good manager motivates employees by setting a clear vision and communicating it effectively.
Doing this inspires employees to work hard to achieve the company’s goals. A good manager also motivates employees by being a good role model.
When employees see their manager working hard, it inspires them to do the same.
Example: You can say, “I believe in leading by example. Therefore, setting the tone for the team and showing what I expect is important. That way, they know I’m always working hard and pushing myself, so they should do the same.”
4. How do you handle conflict within the team?
Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, but managers must know how to handle it.
When asked this question in an interview, share a specific example of when you had to deal with conflict within the team.
Explain how you diffused the situation and what you learned from it.
Example: You can say, “I will deal with conflict within the team when my two employees are constantly arguing with each other. I will sit down with both of them and talk about the situation. I will explain how their fight affects the rest of the team and suggest how they could resolve their differences. After that, I’m pretty sure they will stop arguing.”
Related: Conflict Management Skill
5. What would you do if an employee wasn’t meeting expectations?
When it comes to managing employees, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every employee is different, and what works for one may not work for another.
However, if an employee weren’t meeting my expectations, you would first sit down with them and talk to them about the problem. Here’s what you can say.
Example: You can say, “If an employee weren’t meeting expectations, I would first sit down with them and talk to them about the problem. Then, I would help them identify the areas they need to improve and devise a plan to get them back on track.”
6. Describe a time when you had to give feedback to an employee.
Feedback is essential to a manager, but it’s not always easy to give.
When you’re asked this question in an interview, share a specific example of when you had to give feedback to an employee.
Explain how you delivered the feedback and why it was necessary.
Example: You can say, “If my employee works hard, I will give him positive feedback. But if somehow he is lacking somewhere, I will ask him why he is lacking with that. Also, I’ll give him feedback that boosts his morale but not discourage him.”
7. How do you handle an underperforming team member?
Underperforming employees can be challenging to manage, but taking the necessary steps to help them improve is essential.
When asked this question in an interview, share a specific example of when you had to deal with an underperforming employee.
Explain how you handled the situation and what the outcome was.
Example: You can say, “If my employee is consistently underperforming and not meeting deadlines. I will sit down with him to discuss the issue and set specific goals for him to improve. I will give him a timeline to achieve these goals. And after a few weeks, I will again check on him to see how he is doing. If he achieves those goals, then great, but if not, I will give him another chance and set some new, more realistic goals.”
8. What do you think is the essential quality for a successful manager?
This question will allow you to share your management philosophy.
Many qualities make a successful manager, but it’s up to you to choose the one you think is most important. Be sure to explain why you think this quality is essential for success.
Example: “I think the most important quality for a successful manager is communication. A good manager needs to be able to communicate clearly with their team and provide them with the information they need to do their jobs well. Without clear communication, it’s easy for things to get lost in translation and for problems to arise.”
9. What challenges have you faced as a manager?
Being a manager comes with its fair share of challenges, but facing them head-on is essential.
When asked this question in an interview, share a specific example of a time when you had to overcome a challenge. Then, explain your managerial skills and what you learned from the experience.
Example: “I’ve faced many challenges as a manager, but one of the most difficult was when I had to lay off a team of employees. It was a tough decision, but I had to do what was best for the company. I worked with HR to ensure that the process was handled as smoothly as possible and that the affected employees were given severance packages.”
10. What do you think makes a good team?
A team is successful when it can accomplish its goals. To do this, team members must communicate effectively, collaborate, and trust one another.
When these elements are in place, the team can successfully delegate tasks and work together towards a common goal. Without these elements, the team will be less effective and may even fail to accomplish its goals.
Therefore, teams must have good communication, collaboration, and trust if they want to be successful.
Example: “I think a good team is able to communicate and collaborate effectively. Trust is also important. Each member of the team needs to be able to trust each other and work together towards a common goal.”
11. Describe how you delegate tasks to team members.
Delegation is the key to being an effective manager. When you delegate tasks, it frees your time to focus on more important responsibilities. It also allows you to utilize your team’s strengths.
You can provide an example of when you successfully delegated tasks to team members.
Example: “I will delegate task to my team members while preparing a presentation. Because I know that I couldn’t do it all by myself, I will identify which tasks could be delegated to each team member. I will then communicate these expectations clearly so that everyone is on the same page.”
12. How do you build relationships with your employees?
Building positive relationships with employees is essential for any manager.
When asked this question in an interview, share a specific example of how you’ve built relationships with employees. Explain how these relationships have benefited both yourself and the employees.
Example: “I will build my relationships with employees by being approachable and open to feedback. I want them to feel like they can come to me with any concerns or suggestions they may have. I will also try to get to know them on a personal level. I think this helps create a more positive and productive work environment.”
13. What have you learned from your past experiences as a manager?
Being a manager is a learning experience, and it’s essential to be able to take what you’ve learned from your past experiences and apply it to your current role.
When asked this question in an interview, share a specific example of something you’ve learned and how you’ve used it in your current role.
Example: “I’ve learned that it’s important to be open to feedback from your employees. They often have good ideas that can improve the workplace. I’ve also learned that it’s important to be consistent with your expectations and give clear instructions.”
Related: Examples of Organizational Skills
Interview preparation for management
Before entering a management interview, you must be prepared in every way possible. This means researching the company, specific management style, and a solid understanding of your qualifications and how they align with what the company is looking for.
Additionally, preparing answers to common interview questions will allow you to demonstrate your confidence and capability in the role. While you want to come across as qualified and professional, it is also essential to be yourself and let your personality shine.
This way, the interviewer can get a sense of who you are and whether you would be a good fit for the company.
Finally, have a few questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview. This shows that you are genuinely interested in the position and want to learn more about it.
Following these tips can set you up for a successful outcome.
Related: List of Skills for Resume
The best way to answer interview questions about management style is by providing concrete examples of how you have handled difficult situations in the past.
Prepare for your interview by thinking about specific scenarios where you utilized strong leadership skills, and practice telling your interviewer what happened and what you did to resolve the situation. Being able to share stories that illustrate your abilities as a manager will help set you apart from other candidates and increase your chances of getting the job.
Have any tips of your own? Could you share them in the comments below?
How do you ask a management style question?
When asking a management style question, it is essential to understand the different management styles. Once you understand the various management styles, you can begin to formulate your query to allow you to gain insight into the respondent’s management style.
There are four primary management styles: authoritarian, participative, delegative, and laissez-faire.
• Authoritarian management is characterized by high levels of control and little room for employee input.
• Participative management encourages employee involvement in decision-making.
• Delegative management gives employees more autonomy to make decisions on their own.
• Laissez-faire is a hands-off approach in which employees are given free rein to work as they see fit. The theory is that workers are more productive when they’re not being micromanaged and that they have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
How would you describe your management style interview question?
There are a few different ways that you can ask a management-style question. One way is to ask your manager what their management style is simple. This can be an excellent way to get started if you’re not sure what to expect from your manager or how they like to handle things. Another way to ask a management-style question is to look at your company’s policies and procedures. This can give you an idea of the overall management style that your company prefers. Finally, you can ask other employees about their experiences with their managers. This can help you get a feel for the different management styles that are out there and how they may impact your work.
Can you ask about management style in an interview?
Yes. Many interviewers will ask about your management style to understand how you would handle certain situations or problems.
What management style brings out your best performance?
The management style that brings out your best performance depends on your individual preferences and motivations. The best management style for you will be the one that aligns with your preferences and motivations, recognizes your strengths, and provides the support you need to be successful.
What are good questions to ask a manager in an interview?
Some good questions to ask a manager in an interview are:
• What would be your priorities if you were to be promoted to this position?
• How do you handle difficult situations and conflicts within the team?
• What is the biggest challenge this department or organization is facing now?
• What are your thoughts on employee development and training?
• Can you give me some examples of projects with which you have previously led or been involved?
What kind of management style do you generally prefer?
I generally prefer a hands-off management style. I like to give my team members the freedom to work independently and come up with their solutions to problems. I believe this allows them to develop their skills and creativity and ultimately results in a more productive and innovative team. But, of course, there are always exceptions to this general preference, and I am always willing to adjust my management style to the team’s needs or the situation.