Why is knowing your leadership style important?
One of the common questions asked by recruiters during interviews, especially for managerial roles, is about your leadership style.
Yes, even if the role you’re applying for is not a managerial role, recruiters would want to know about your leadership qualities to see if you are a suitable fit for the company in the long run.
So, how can you define your leadership style during interviews?
First things first, you need to have a clear understanding of your leadership qualities and skills before you try to answer that.
Are you good with leading by example? Or are you more of a delegator with great communication skills?
If you’re not sure about your answer, there are plenty of ways you can assess your management style.
Read on to determine what is your leadership style and get clarity on the following questions:
- What are 4 types of leadership styles?
- How can you determine your leadership style?
- What is a Laissez-faire leadership style?
- How to answer leadership style questions during interviews?
- What are some describe your leadership style examples?
- What are some common leadership style interview questions?
4 Different Types of Leadership Styles
Your management or leadership style refers to how you lead, manage, and guide your team members as a senior professional.
While some may argue that a particular leadership style is better than the others, a good leader has to know how to mix & match different approaches as the need arises.
Given below are the 4 most common types of leadership styles:
Authoritative or Autocratic Leadership Style
A leader with an authoritative or autocratic leadership style follows the “do as I say” approach to guide his team members.
They make all the decisions and leave little to no room for input from the employees working under them.
Although these types of leaders are a good fit for leading a group of inexperienced team members, an authoritarian leadership style is likely to create frustration and dissatisfaction among team members in the long run.
Democratic or Inclusive Leadership Style
Leaders with a democratic or inclusive leadership style seek the input and opinion of their fellow team members while making team decisions.
This leadership style decentralizes the decision-making process and harbors trust, corporation, and team spirit among workers.
These leaders lead by example and offer benefits such as:
- Increased motivation among workers
- Offers better personal and professional growth
- Improves employee retention and reduces grievances
Coaching Leadership Style
This leadership style is a supportive role that is characterized by guidance, motivation, and collaboration.
The leaders who follow this approach try to unlock the true potential of their employees by providing constructive criticism, encouraging good communication, and providing support.
Even though there are many benefits to this leadership style, it can be time and resource-consuming, which might not be suitable for startup companies and organizations.
Laissez-faire or Free-rein Leadership Style
The complete opposite of an autocratic leadership style, leaders who follow the laissez-faire leadership style leave all the decision-making and goal-setting responsibilities to their team members.
They delegate the work to their subordinates and play little role in management. This style of management is driven by the belief that employees work best when they are left to themselves.
However, this leadership style is suitable only when you are leading a group of highly experienced, skilled, and self-motivated professionals.
Otherwise, you risk floundering the organization with a lack of direction and control.
How to Determine Leadership Style?
To find out which leadership style best suits you and your organization, you must assess various factors and situations.
As stated earlier, being flexible and using different leadership styles allows for a more thriving workplace environment as opposed to rigidly following a set leadership style that can hinder growth.
Meanwhile, here are some tips that will help you determine which leadership style you resonate with the most:
Probe Your Personality Traits
To determine which leadership style works best for you as a leader, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses.
Consider your skills and assess how you generally make decisions.
Analyze how good or bad you are with communication and work delegation. If you are not sure about the same, you can ask your friends or colleagues for feedback.
Know Your Options
Before you settle for a particular leadership style, research and learn about the different styles of leadership to get clarity on their pros and cons.
You must also consider the type of organization you are working in and the type of employees you will be managing.
For instance, an authoritative leadership style may be suitable for managing interns and running small businesses, while a democratic leadership style might be more suitable when you working in the marketing industry.
You can also take an online leadership style quiz to determine the best fit for you.
Also read: How to be a good manager?
Answering “What is Your Leadership Style” Interview Questions
Once you understand the common leadership styles and are clear about your leadership style, it’ll be much easier for you to answer interview questions based on it.
Given below are some do’s and don’ts that you must consider when framing your interview answers for what is your leadership style:
Avoid Saying You’ve Never Led a Team
Even if you lack professional experience and have never managed or led people, you might at least have experience in leading a class project, a sports team, or any extracurricular activities.
Whatever the case may be, avoid saying that you don’t see yourself as a leader or that you’ve never been in the position.
You might be startled if the recruiters ask you about your leadership style when you are not even applying for a managerial role.
But what recruiters really want to know when they ask you this question is how aware you are about your professional traits and whether or not you have the potential to advance to such roles in the future.
Talk About What Works Best for You
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to answering what is your management style during interviews.
You could be a great manager with a democratic leadership style or a coaching leadership style.
With this question, recruiters simply want to probe if you have set up a system or method that works for you and how successful you have been at it.
Don’t simply state your management style when you are answering this question during interviews.
You need to back it up with instances that show that your leadership style is a tried and tested approach that is not based on personal choice alone.
However, you need to ensure that your answer is concise and avoid going into details as it may bore the interviewer.
Use the STAR Format
Now, to frame concise yet impactful answers to highlight instances where you've used your leadership style, you must use the STAR format.
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
Your answer needs to talk about the situation where you used your leadership style, the task that was assigned to you, the action you took to execute the task, and the result that you achieved.
This way, your answer will be to the point and clear.
Rehearse Delivering Your Answer
The best way to get comfortable answering questions about your leadership style during interviews is by practicing delivering the answer out loud.
You can do so in front of the mirror or even before your family or friends and ask for their feedback.
This will allow you to gain more confidence and get comfortable with the flow of the answer.
However, you must not mug up a scripted answer. Simply have a mental outline of what you're going to talk about and your choice of words can change each time you practice giving the answer.
What is Your Leadership Style Sample Interview Answers
Given below are some sample answers for what is your leadership style interview questions:
"I think my leadership style is a democratic one wherein I like to lead by example. I recall one instance from my previous stint when I led a team of 5+ software engineers to work on a new product release and its software development. During the development process, my team faced a roadblock when the integration tool that my team member chose for the software was not compatible. I then encouraged my team members to pull extra hours on the project by working alongside them and taking on a chunk of work to make up for the lost time. We were not only able to deliver the software on time but also managed to get 100% positive feedback from the clients for the software’s cohesive features."
"I believe that I do not fit into one leadership style. In my previous work experiences, using elements from several methods has brought me greater success in the workplace. For example, I once led a team of website designers to complete a front-end design project for an important client. While some of the designers in the team were highly experienced and therefore didn't need alot of guidance, a few of them were freshers, so I had to adapt and provide them with extra support as we worked through the project. In the end, everyone on the team completed their respective tasks on time and the project was a huge success. The clients were really happy."
"The biggest part of my leadership style has always been effective communication and delegation. I ensure that all my team members are clear about their respective tasks and what is expected of them. For example, when I was supervising a team of 10+ executives in my previous stint, two of the staff members were in disagreement as to where the responsibility fell for a cross-functional department. I called for a quick meeting to resolve the issue with some discussion and constructive feedback. Eventually, all three of us came up with a viable solution that served the entire department and everyone was satisfied."
Common Leadership Style Interview Questions
Apart from the straightforward interview question about your leadership style, interviews can also rephrase the question to probe your leadership skills.
Listed below are some of the common leadership interview questions that you prepare for:
- Tell me about a time when you demonstrated your leadership skills.
- How do you ensure that your team members are productive?
- How do you delegate tasks and responsibilities?
- What do you do to motivate your team members?
- What values are most important to you as a leader?
- How open are you with collaborating with others and accepting new ideas?
- What is your definition of good leadership?
- How do you handle disagreements with co-workers?
- How do you respond to criticism and feedback?
- How do you measure your team members' performance at work?
- What are your strengths as a leader?
- Tell me about a time when you resolved a conflict between your team members.
- Describe a time when you led by example.
- How do you respond to suggestions or ideas from team members?
- Who do you look up to as an ideal leader and why?
Key Points from the Blog
- What is your leadership style is a common question recruiters ask to know about your leadership skills and capabilities during interviews.
- While some may argue that a particular leadership style is better than the others, a good leader has to know how to mix & match different approaches as the need arises.
- Authoritative, coaching, democratic, and Laissez-faire are some of the common leadership styles seen in companies and organizations.
- To find out which leadership style works best for you, you must assess your personality, consider the industry type, and even take a leadership style quiz.
- While answering what is your leadership style questions during interviews, avoid saying you’ve never been in that position before.
- Describe your leadership style by highlighting a method that works for you and providing suitable examples.
If you need further assistance in determining your leadership style and describing the same during interviews, head on over to Hiration 360 degree Career Platform that offers 24x7 chat support to answer all your questions. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.