How To Answer “What Is Your Management Style?”

Updated September 1, 2023

When interviewing for a new position, you may be asked, "What is your management style?" Employers search for managers with a management style that motivates employees to succeed and provide valuable work. It's also asked to show how you might handle a situation that calls for guidance and direction even if you're not a manager.

In this article, we explain why interviewers ask, "What is your management style?" and list types of management and example answers to this question.

Why do employers ask about your management style?

Employers often ask about your management style because they want to understand how you lead to see if it fits the current needs of their employees. Departments and their employees can vary depending on their tasks, how quickly they are completed and how well they respond to different types of leadership.

For example, an IT team may respond better to managers who give them plenty of space yet provide assistance when needed. A marketing team may need constant support and collaboration from their supervisors to provide adequate work. Employers may assess the needs and performance of their departments and choose a supervisor with a management style that matches these needs. This can lead teams to produce more valuable work due to motivation from their managers.

Related: 8 Common Leadership Styles (Plus How To Find Your Own)

How to answer "What is your management style?"

Questions like this are known as behavioral interview questions since they help the interviewer understand what they may expect from you in certain situations. The best answer will give an example of how you handled a past action.

But what if you don't know your management style? Here are five steps to help you answer this question and stand out from other candidates:

1. Think about the management style of previous supervisors

To help you prepare an answer, consider your previous supervisors and analyze their style when managing you. Determine the qualities they had and how those helped you perform. Did they make you feel motivated and encouraged to produce high-quality work? If they did, you may adopt that as your management style.

If you had managers who were less successful in motivating you, analyze what caused you to feel less positive and passionate about your position. You can apply the opposite of those qualities to your management style.

2. Determine qualities that make you a good manager

Once you've assessed past managers' qualities, consider the skills you have that make you a good manager. If you've worked in previous leadership positions and gained skills or knowledge that may help your employees succeed, you can use those to describe what makes you a good manager. Mention those qualities when answering the management style question.

Related: 9 Good Management Skills and How To Improve Them

3. Define what skills you believe a good manager has

Before describing your management style, you can briefly explain what qualities you feel an excellent manager holds. This can help employers understand what management skills you think are beneficial and which ones you possess. Once you have defined what a good manager is, you can discuss what your management style is and how you apply these skills to your management style.

Related: 21 Skills of a Good Manager

4. Decide which type of management style you have

Now you can talk about the specific management style you believe you possess. Common management styles you can mention in your interview include:

  • Consultative management style

  • Democratic management style

  • Laissez-faire management style

  • Transformational management style

  • Visionary management style

Read more: 8 Types of Management Styles for Effective Leadership

5. Tell a story about when you used a specific management style

After describing your management style, you can briefly explain an instance where you used this style with an employee. This helps give more of an idea of when you have applied these styles and if the outcome was positive. It also allows them to better picture you applying these management styles to their employees. You can describe this using one or two sentences and expand upon the story if the interviewer requests additional information.

Related: 27 Leadership Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

"What is your management style?" example answers

You can use the examples below to help form your own answer to this question based on your type of management style.

Example 1: Consultative management

"Being an effective manager means building relationships with employees and motivating them to continue producing valuable work. Through my consultative management style, I continually encourage my employees to share their suggestions and opinions when deciding. If they receive a project that may be too difficult or makes them feel overwhelmed, I listen to their concerns and determine how to follow through with the project. This encourages them to make strong and impressive work in a comfortable environment."

Example 2: Democratic management

"I see the employees in my department as my team and treat them as such. My democratic management style involves collaborating closely with team members to develop strategies and make decisions. I constantly work to ensure my employees know their ideas and voices are heard by working on projects we all agree on. This helps them feel motivated and encouraged to provide impressive results as they work to make their original ideas come to life."

Example 3: Laissez-faire management

"I believe employees work best without a manager constantly monitoring their work. This is why I use a Laissez-faire management style. Each employee has a different way to complete work, so I allow my team to complete their work however they see fit. If they need my assistance, I will help guide them as needed. I do this with my account management team by allowing them to work directly with clients to meet their needs and provide assistance when they feel stuck or need help assisting a challenging client." 

Example 4: Visionary management

"A strong manager possesses effective communication and listening skills. I apply these when working with employees to provide a professional visionary management style to employees. Communicating your vision for a project is often as much as the employees need to carry that vision out and provide impressive results. When working with my marketing team members, I often develop a vision for the campaign and let my team build a strategy and design and write an effective campaign. At the same time, I monitor and answer any questions along the way."

Example 5: Transformational management

"I believe a good manager is motivational and encouraging. I'm always working to push myself out of my comfort level and enjoy doing the same with my employees. They can often overcome many challenging obstacles, so I use my transformational management style to help guide them through this challenging task when needed. I've accomplished this with a content writer I once supervised. I encouraged them to write long-form content on subjects they had little knowledge of. This made them my strongest research writer on the marketing team."


Related Articles

What Does a Business Coach Do?

Explore more articles

  • How To Become a Car Salesperson
  • How To Develop Your Area of Interest and Specialization
  • 21 Different Types of Evidence (And How They Affect a Case)
  • How To Write a Letter Requesting for a Company Quotation
  • 25 of the Most Useful College Majors To Pursue Today
  • Expository Writing: Types and How To Write in This Style
  • 199 Potential Topics For a Communication Research Paper
  • 10 Tips for How To Get Along With Coworkers
  • Meeting Objectives: Definition, Benefits and How To Write One
  • What Is SWIFT Code? (With Definition, Uses, Format and FAQs)
  • How To Write a Research Plan (With Template and Examples)
  • 30 Common Business Buzzwords and Their Definitions