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Navigating Interview Success: Showcasing Your Unique Management Style

What’s your management style? When inquiring about a job interview, one of the most common questions interviewers ask is, “What’s your management style?” A candidate’s answer to this question can make or break their chances of getting hired.

This question, although intimidating, offers a vast opportunity for candidates to showcase their skills and prove their compatibility with the company’s culture. In this article, we delve into answering the question “What’s your management style?” We will be discussing why this question asked during interviews, how to answer it effectively, and the importance of demonstrating adaptability as a manager.

Reasons for asking “What’s your management style?”

The question “What’s your management style?” is not only intended to assess the candidate’s experience as a leader, but also to evaluate their fit with the company and team. The following subtopics discuss the two primary reasons why interviewers ask about management style:

Evaluating fit with the company and team:

Every company has its unique culture, values, goals, and mission.

When an interviewer asks about your management style, they are curious to know if your leadership style aligns with the company’s values. A good fit takes more than having the required qualifications: it also requires a candidate to align their personality with the company’s culture.

The interviewer might ask follow-up questions such as: “What motivates you?” “How do you build relationships with your subordinates?” “How do you handle conflicts?” etc. These questions help the interviewer to assess if the candidate’s approach to leadership is a good match for the team.

Seeking real examples and experiences of handling situations as a manager:

Apart from evaluating fit, interviewers ask for specific examples of experiences candidates have had while handling situations. Interviewers believe that an effective manager is not someone who has all the answers or solutions to problems.

Instead, they are individuals who can tackle difficult and complex situations by applying leadership principles and strategies. The STAR method can be an informative way to answer this question.

STAR Method for Illustrating Management Style:

The STAR method is a tool used to structure answers to interview questions. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

This method helps to provide relevant examples of past experiences and how you dealt with them. When answering the question “What’s your management style?”, you can use this method to describe situations when you had to apply different leadership styles.

Below is an example of how to use STAR to explain flexibility in management style:

Situation: I was recently promoted to manage a team of eight software developers. The team was working on a project that was due in three weeks, but we were behind schedule.

Task: My task was to find an effective way to motivate the team to deliver the project within the deadline. Action: I approached the team and explained to them the importance of getting the project done.

I used a democratic leadership approach by involving the team in the decision-making process on the best way to deliver the project. I also used a coaching style when working with individuals who were struggling with some aspects of the project.

I needed to be approachable and empathetic to their concerns. Result: We delivered the project within the deadline, and the team was proud of their work.

We had a debriefing session where we discussed what worked, what did not work and how we could improve next time. This example illustrates the use of multiple management styles to achieve a specific goal.

You could summarize at the end what you are trying to communicate to the interviewer by wrapping up your STAR response by emphasizing the importance of adaptability to you as a manager. Using multiple management styles to demonstrate adaptability:

Adaptability is the ability to adjust to new conditions or situations.

A good manager should have the skills and flexibility to adapt to different situations that may arise. Using multiple management styles demonstrates your ability to be flexible and adaptive.

As a manager, there will be a need to use different styles to achieve specific goals. For example, a manager may use a directive style when setting expectations for a new team and a coaching style when a team member requires additional training or support.

When answering the question “What’s your management style?” it is essential to emphasize your ability to use different styles depending on the situation. Using examples of how you deployed different approaches in various situations demonstrates your ability to handle different scenarios as a leader.


In conclusion, the question “What’s your management style?” offers an excellent opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their leadership qualities. It is essential to prepare for this question by using the STAR method to provide relevant examples from your experience.

Highlighting your ability to use different styles depending on the situation is also essential. Remember that answering this question well might be the difference between landing that dream job or not.

How to Answer “Describe Your Management Style”

The interview question, “Describe your management style,” can be daunting for many candidates. The answer can help the interviewer assess whether the candidate’s skills align with the company’s values.

It is advisable first to research the company’s culture and the hiring team to ensure that your answer is customized and relevant. Additionally, the STAR method can be an effective tool for structuring answers with real-life examples.

Customizing Answer Based on Company and Team Research

An interview is an opportunity for candidates to show how they can align with a company’s culture and add value to the hiring team. Adequate research is essential as it helps candidates prepare tailored responses.

Candidates should research companies’ histories, products/services, and mission statements to ascertain if their experiences, skills, and values match the company’s culture. Additionally, candidates should research and understand the format of the interview and the roles of the hiring team members.

Candidates can use their research to tailor their responses to the interview question on management style to align with the company’s culture and the team’s roles.

Using the STAR Method to Structure the Answer

The STAR method is a universal tool for structuring answers to the interview questions. The acronym STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

The method helps the candidate to provide a significant, specific response to the interviewer. Situation: Here, you begin by describing an issue and how you became aware of it.

Task: The next step is to explain what you were trying to accomplish in the situation. Action: Here, you elaborate on the steps you took to accomplish the given task.

Result: Finally, you conclude by explaining how your actions helped in achieving the set goals. The STAR method allows candidates to provide structured responses that help them articulate and justify their management styles to the interviewer.

Qualities of a Good Manager

Being a manager requires more than just being in charge of the team. It requires specific qualities, such as empathy, accountability, and focus, among others.

These qualities help in nurturing better working relationships with team members and improving productivity. Below are some of the essential qualities of a good manager.

Appreciating Company Culture and Unique Qualities

A company’s culture is the values, beliefs, and attitudes that shape collective behaviors and interactions. A good manager should understand and appreciate the importance of the company’s culture in shaping the team’s behavior.

A manager who understands the company’s culture will be better placed to implement cultural values and norms that help in achieving company goals.

Positive Attitude and Motivation to Improve Productivity

A positive attitude is vital for keeping the team motivated and enthusiastic. Managers should inspire their team members by encouraging them to remain optimistic when approaching complex tasks.

Managers should also have the motivation to work towards achieving the expected goals, and this motivation should be evident to the team members.

Ability to Prioritize Tasks and Focus on Important Projects

Good managers recognize that not all tasks carry the same weight. They analyze tasks’ importance and prioritize them to ensure that the important ones get attention first.

The ability to prioritize tasks helps in improving productivity and achieving targeted goals. Empathy, Understanding, and Motivation for Team Members

The success of a manager is highly dependent on the team’s success.

A good manager understands that the team members are essential in achieving the company’s objectives. Managers should strive to understand their team members’ perspectives and experiences to build better working relationships.

Honesty and Ability to Provide Honest Feedback

Managers should be honest when providing feedback to their team members. This feedback should be constructive and aimed at helping the team members improve their skills.

Honesty also helps in building trust and better working relationships.

Accountability and Taking Responsibility for Actions

Accountability is an essential trait of a good manager. Managers should take responsibility for their actions and the decisions they make.

In doing this, managers build trust with their team members, and they are better placed to make important decisions that affect the team.

Decision-making Skills and Flexibility to Adjust to Different Situations

Managers should have excellent decision-making skills, and they should be flexible enough to adjust to different situations. The flexibility to adjust to different situations helps in solving problems and achieving the targeted goals.


In conclusion, answering the question “Describe your management style” should be customized to align with the company’s culture and team roles. The STAR method is a useful tool in structuring answers to interview questions.

Additionally, good managers should have qualities such as accountability, empathy, decision-making skills, and the ability to prioritize tasks, among others. The qualities help managers in building better working relationships with their team members and improving productivity.

Types of Management Styles

In the corporate world, managers employ various management styles to lead their teams effectively. Different management styles have different approaches and characteristics, and understanding these styles can help individuals develop their own unique management approach.

In this section, we will explore some of the common types of management styles.

Autocratic or Directive Manager

The autocratic or directive manager is characterized by their strong control over decision-making and authority within the team. These managers make decisions without consulting their team members and expect strict adherence to their instructions.

This style can be effective in situations where quick decisions are required or when the manager possesses specialized knowledge. However, it can also lead to a lack of employee motivation and limited opportunities for creativity and innovation.

Consultative or Authoritative Manager

Consultative or authoritative managers seek input from their team members but reserve the final decision-making authority for themselves. These managers value the opinions and perspectives of their team members and take them into consideration when making decisions.

This management style promotes collaboration and engagement but may slow down the decision-making process compared to autocratic management.

Persuasive Manager

Persuasive managers use their communication skills to influence and convince their team members to align with their decisions and vision. They are often seen as charismatic leaders who can effectively inspire and motivate their team.

Their ability to communicate persuasively plays a crucial role in driving the team towards achieving common goals. However, relying solely on persuasion can limit employee autonomy and lead to a lack of diverse perspectives.

Democratic or Participative Manager

Democratic or participative managers involve their team members in the decision-making process and value their input. They create a collaborative environment where everyone’s opinions and ideas are appreciated and considered.

This approach fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among employees, leading to increased job satisfaction and creativity. However, the democratic management style can be time-consuming due to the need for consensus-building and may not be suitable for situations that require quick decisions.

Coaching Manager

Coaching managers focus on developing the skills and abilities of their team members. They provide guidance, support, and feedback, ensuring that employees have the necessary resources and tools to succeed.

Coaching managers strive to empower their team members and foster individual growth. This style is effective for building strong, skilled teams but requires a significant investment of time and effort from the manager.

Affiliative Manager

The affiliative manager emphasizes building strong relationships and promoting a harmonious work environment. They prioritize creating a sense of belonging and camaraderie within the team.

These managers value collaboration, open communication, and trust among team members. The affiliative management style can help improve team morale and cohesion but may downplay accountability or addressing performance issues.

Laissez-Faire Manager

The laissez-faire manager takes a hands-off approach, allowing team members to have a high degree of autonomy and decision-making authority. These managers trust their team members to independently handle tasks and make decisions.

The laissez-faire management style can promote employee innovation, creativity, and individual growth. However, it requires a highly capable and self-motivated team and may lead to a lack of structure or direction if not carefully managed.

Pacesetting Manager

The pacesetting manager sets high performance standards and expects their team members to meet or exceed them. They lead by example and are often seen as skilled and driven individuals.

The pacesetting management style can be effective in motivated and results-oriented environments, pushing employees to achieve their best. However, it can also create high levels of stress and burnout as employees struggle to meet constantly demanding expectations.

Example Answers to “What’s Your Management Style?” Interview Questions

When faced with the question “What’s your management style?” during an interview, it is crucial to provide a specific and relevant answer. Let’s explore some example answers that align with various management styles.

Democratic/Coaching Management Style Example Answer:

“In my management approach, I value collaboration and input from my team members. I believe in creating a supportive and empowering environment where everyone’s opinions are respected.

For example, in a recent project, I held regular team meetings to gather ideas and perspectives. I worked closely with each team member, providing guidance and support whenever needed.

This approach allowed us to tap into everyone’s strengths and collectively find innovative solutions to challenges.”

Flexible Management Style Example Answer:

“I believe in adapting my management style based on the unique needs of each team member and situation. Some team members may require more guidance and support, while others thrive with greater autonomy.

By being flexible in my management approach, I can effectively meet the diverse needs of my team. For instance, in one project, I assigned specific tasks and provided detailed guidance to a team member who was new to the role.

Simultaneously, I gave another team member the freedom to explore creative solutions and take ownership of their work.”

Visionary Management Style Example Answer:

“As a manager, I strive to inspire my team with a clear vision and challenging goals. I believe in leading by example and creating a shared sense of purpose.

For instance, in a recent project, I outlined a bold vision and communicated the potential impact our work could have. I regularly celebrated the achievements and progress we made, instilling a sense of motivation and excitement in my team.

This approach helped us stay focused, energized, and driven, resulting in a successful project outcome.”


Understanding different management styles is essential for aspiring leaders. Each management style has its strengths and weaknesses, and it is crucial to adapt and apply the appropriate style based on the team’s dynamics, the company’s needs, and the prevailing circumstances.

By being knowledgeable about different management styles, individuals can develop their own unique approach and become effective leaders in their respective roles. In this comprehensive article, we explored various aspects of answering the question, “What’s your management style?” We discussed the reasons for why hiring managers ask this question, such as evaluating cultural fit and seeking real examples of past experiences.

We also delved into the importance of demonstrating adaptability and using the STAR method to illustrate management styles. Additionally, we explored different types of management styles, including autocratic, participative, coaching, and visionary styles.

Finally, we provided example answers that align with specific management styles. The key takeaway is that understanding and effectively communicating your management style is critical in presenting yourself as a capable and compatible leader.

By showcasing your strengths, adaptability, and ability to inspire and motivate others, you can leave a lasting impression on interviewers and increase your chances of success in the career journey.

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