What Is Your Management Style? (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A management style is a particular method used by managers to accomplish their company's goals. A manager's style often depends on the organisation, senior management and how the employees work as a team. Interviewers hiring for a management position often ask, 'What is your management style?' and learning how to respond effectively may increase your chances of getting the job. In this article, we discuss how you can answer, 'What is your management style?', explore common management styles, provide example answers and list some useful manager skills you can develop for your resume.

Related: Management Styles: Overview and Examples

Why do employers ask, 'What is your management style?'

Employers may ask, 'What is your management style?' to understand how you might work in their business environment and whether you can achieve their goals. To prepare for this question, it might help to think about your role as a manager and what expectations you can implement for employees and other staff members. Preparing your response beforehand may impress the employer and show them your ability to manage an organisation.

There are several management styles you can use when approaching the workplace. Establishing which one you're most comfortable using can help you develop your leadership and communication skills.

Related: Management Skills: Definition and Examples

Top 5 management styles

It might help to learn about the different management styles and which one is most accurate for you. Here are five management styles you can talk about in a job interview:

1. Democratic management

This management style usually involves using the opinions of other employees to reach a final decision on a project or business transaction. Democratic managers may call meetings or group brainstorming sessions to share ideas on specific matters, such as a marketing strategy, event or product. This method can help employees feel valued and encourage them to meet collective goals and make future decisions. Democratic managers may value open communication and collaboration to maintain democracy throughout the company or department.

Related: 7 Key Differences Between Leadership and Management

2. Coaching management

Managers with a coaching management style typically motivate their employees and create a mutual understanding about company achievements. These managers can teach people new job-specific skills they can use when approaching specific projects and challenges. The coaching management style can create a healthy work environment for employees to remain honest about their careers and what they want to improve. Coaching managers often have excellent interpersonal skills to work well with various people.

Related: How to Become a Career Coach (Plus Salary)

3. Affiliative management

Affiliative managers typically put their team members' well-being first and encourage happiness in the workplace. They might build emotional bonds and promote honesty when faced with problems in the organisation. These managers might also remove strict rules that interfere with employees' performance. Affiliative managers may show empathy and prefer to use management skills to develop positive working relationships.

4. Pace-setting management

Managers who use this style can set high standards for their team members and motivate them to achieve bigger goals. This method usually works if the team has a high level of dedication to improve aspects of a business consistently. Choosing this management style could work for an organisation that manages several projects simultaneously and requires long shifts. Pace-setting managers may feel determined to set challenging long-term goals. They may have excellent time management skills to ensure they meet deadlines.

5. Authoritative management

These managers can build an entire plan for a company and present this to the employees. They often focus on developing visions that may influence how the business operates. They may also instruct their team on how to accomplish shared goals. Significant changes in the company or extensive projects can lead to this management style, as it might require a structured action plan. Authoritative managers may be confident and highly dedicated to building a strong team.

Related: Top Interview Questions for Managers With Sample Answers

Examples answers to 'What is your management style?'

Before an interview for a management position, consider reviewing your management style and taking notes about your leadership skills. This reflection can help you form a structured response. Below are some sample answers for each management style:

Democratic manager example

An employer might want to know more about your communication skills and how you ask employees for their opinions. If you are a democratic manager, you can express moments where you discussed a big decision with your team. Aim to refer to methods you used to keep your colleagues engaged in sharing their ideas.

Example: 'I always reassure my employees that their opinions contribute to final decisions in the project. It's important for my team to understand their value, especially when we're going through a big change in the company. Promoting a democratic management style allowed me to develop my communication skills as I continuously talked to team members and offered them feedback when appropriate. I believe that democratic management allows you to work closely with your team on projects, which is why I feel comfortable using this style in my workplace.'

Coaching manager example

If coaching is your management style, you may explain your dedication to helping people and building an honest environment. This style can provide less strict rules which might be something the employer is curious about. You can discuss why this works for the company and how beneficial it can be for your team's careers.

Example: 'The coaching style might seem soft when approaching the business industry, but I believe it can motivate employees further. This style allows my team to develop their self-awareness and identify which skills they'd like to improve. Promoting a progressive work environment encourages employees to ask for advice on completing specific tasks. Creating a positive space can increase productivity and allow everyone to form strong friendships.'

Related: How to Get Employees Excited About Training: 12 Top Tips

Affiliative manager example

Describing how you use empathy to promote an affiliative management style can imply that you value building relationships with others. You may distinguish this style by expressing your commitment to emotionally guiding others in your team. Affiliative management is all about promoting happiness and prioritising your colleagues' well-being.

Example: 'I don't believe in strict rules and demands in the workplace as it can discourage employees from fulfilling their duties. Creating professional relationships can be important for the business aspect, and so I work hard to make sure everyone is happy. I don't see myself above employees in the company, but rather on the same level. I prefer to guide people through their career and offer emotional advice that might set them on a new, exciting career path.'

Pace-setting manager example

Some employers usually like a challenging manager who sets prime goals for their team. If you're someone who likes to improve aspects of the company all the time, it may help to express your organisational skills. Provide examples of how you organise projects with your team members and motivate them to achieve business goals.

Example: 'I prefer to let my employees work independently without guidance as I think this develops their professional skills. We usually discuss upcoming projects in meetings and I aim to set tight deadlines. This can encourage employees to work under pressure and find a schedule that suits them best in our company's environment. At the end of each month, I review everyone's short-term goals to understand their actions on achieving them.'

Authoritative manager example

If you prefer to create a long-term plan for your team members, it might be worth discussing your achievements and how you encouraged a strong team. You might only think about future success rather than the current market. Employers may ask about your visions and why these plans are so important to you and your team members.

Example: 'Before each shift, I like to reiterate the vision for our company and remind people what we're striving for each year. I also show them how they can contribute to the success and when they might progress in their career. Authoritative management style allows me to plan ahead and estimate where our company might end up in the trending market. Creating a powerful vision can build a strong team, which is something I stick by when leading employees.'

Related: How to Write a Professional Development Plan (With Examples)

Manager skills to include in your answers

During an interview for a management position, it's helpful to demonstrate your relevant skills. This can show the hiring manager or interviewer that you're an effective manager. Here are some useful manager skills you might discuss or highlight during your interview:

  • delegation

  • planning

  • problem-solving

  • negotiation

  • project management

  • time management

  • teamwork

  • technological

  • motivation

  • patience

  • adaptability

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