Interview Question: How Do You Like To Be Managed?

Updated June 24, 2022

During an interview, an employer may ask you questions that help them get a better idea of your ideal working environment. If they can tell that your preferences align with what they can offer, you might be a good fit for their role. Prior to your interview, doing a little research about their company culture and management style can help you come up with the right response. In this article, we explain how to effectively answer, "How do you like to be managed?" and provide sample answers you can use for your reference.

Related: 6 Management Styles To Lead Effectively: Overview and Examples

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Why employers ask, "How do you like to be managed?"

Employers ask, "How do you like to be managed?" to see if their management style aligns with your answer. This interview question is a good sign that this employer values hiring employees who will be happy with their management style. They are looking for someone they can build a good working relationship with. Being honest in your response can help you find a job that is well suited for you.

Related: Guide To People Management: Definition, Tips and Skills

How to answer, "How do you like to be managed?"

Providing a thought-out response to the question can not only make a good impression, but it can help lay down the groundwork for a healthy future work relationship. Approach the question with integrity, but do your homework and follow these steps to effectively answer interview questions about your ideal supervisor:

1. Think about your previous managers

Thinking about your past experiences can help you determine what your ideal management style is. Reflect on how your past managers made you feel on a regular basis. Consider things like the feedback they gave you or how they delegated work. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did they do well?

  • What could they have done better?

  • What would I have changed about their management style?

  • What did I appreciate about their management style?

  • What did they do that helped me succeed in my role?

2. Research the company's culture

Look on the company's website and social media accounts to see if their management style aligns with your needs in a job. When you see good things, make note of them. You may be able to use them as a talking point in your response. See if the company has any online reviews too. You may be able to find what previous employees have to say about their experience working at the company.

3. Provide examples in your response

Share examples of what your ideal management style looks like to you. Explain why this particular technique can help you be a more successful and happy employee. You could share a story about something that your previous manager did that you found particularly helpful.

Likewise, share something that you noticed while conducting research prior to your interview. For instance, if you noticed they have team-building activities, mention that this is something you enjoy. Of course, only share what is true. You want to make sure you're being honest so you get into a job that you will enjoy.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

4. Be positive

Always try to be positive in your interview responses. If your previous employer's management style was ineffective to you, find a way to show how this challenging experience helped you in the end. For instance, you could say by working for a manager you didn't enjoy working with, you had the opportunity to discover what you value in a manager. There are many ways to twist a negative experience into a positive insight.

5. Share specifics

Be specific about the management style you like rather than saying, "I'm happy with any kind of manager." Employers are asking this question to get a genuine response from candidates. By having an actual stance on the topic, you can show them you are being truthful about your preferences. Your response will help them decide if you are the right addition to their team.

Related: What Is Your Management Style?

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Example answers

Management-style preferences vary by the individual, but also by profession. Here is are some example responses to the question of management style for different roles.

Retail associate example: "My ideal manager is someone who genuinely cares about their team. My last manager was someone I definitely looked up to. She always made sure to consider our requests when making the team schedule. She was always very mindful of fairly scheduling people during the holidays, especially during Black Friday. I like to be managed by someone who is empathetic and understanding that employees have personal lives too. I would hope that I can work for someone who trusts that I can get my work done and gives me grace if I am having an off day."

Copywriter example: "I'm looking to work for someone who wants to help me be the best writer I can be. I am someone who thrives off of feedback, so a manager who regularly gives me praise along with constructive criticism is ideal. I see that your company offers a lot of continuing education opportunities, which is important to me. I want a manager who encourages their employees to develop new skills to progress in their careers. My ideal manager is someone who is my biggest cheerleader and wants to see me succeed."

Junior manager example: "My goal for this job is to continue to grow as a leader. I would appreciate an employer who gives me the tools to help me be the best manager possible. One way to do this is by giving me enough independence. I feel confident that I can effectively lead your team while also reporting to upper management. I understand that in this role I would be the liaison between employees and executives.

"The best way for me to thrive in this role is if my employer will trust that I have the background and experience to do my job effectively. I hope that as time goes on, I have the opportunity to take on even more responsibilities."

Related: How To Be a Better Manager in Eight Steps

Marketing intern example: "As someone just getting into this industry, I don't have a ton of professional experience. That's why when thinking about my ideal management style, I think about how my favorite professors at school treat me. I tend to prefer working under people who give me my space to learn and figure things out on my own while also being available to offer me guidance when I need it.

I see that your company has a mentorship program, which would be ideal for me. I would love to have a chance to learn from other's real-life experiences while having the chance to also make some of my own."

Nurse example: "As someone who has worked in healthcare for five years now, I have learned what I want in a manager. First, I want someone who is open to communication. I find that when the head nurse is willing to discuss important matters with the rest of the nurses, we all tend to get along better."

"I also want a manager who cares about my well-being. With so many healthcare workers being prone to burnout, I want someone who can encourage us to take time off when we need it. The previous head nurse I worked with made an effort to ask how we were doing, and I could tell she genuinely cared. I know I would thrive in a work environment where I have the opportunity to work under an empathetic leader."

Research assistant example: "I am looking for a manager who is just as passionate about biology as I am. I would love to work under someone I can discuss exciting industry news with. Working for someone who values what I have to say is also quite important to me. Being able to brainstorm new research methods is something I want in a career, and working with someone who is open to what I have to say would make me happy in my role."

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