Answering the “What is your leadership style?” interview question can be a make-or-break moment in your job interview. It’s essential to understand what the hiring manager is looking for regarding leadership experience, management skillset, and communication skills. As a leading executive search firm, MatchBuilt knows that being a good leader is not just about taking on a leadership position; it’s about having a vision, the ability to motivate and inspire team members, and the skill set to implement new ideas effectively.
When answering this question, one of the first things to consider is understanding the different leadership styles. The most common leadership styles include autocratic, democratic, participative, transformational, transactional, and coaching. Knowing the differences and how you align with each will help you answer the question more effectively. The best thing you can do is be honest and true to yourself, as the goal is to showcase your leadership strengths.
At MatchBuilt, we know that a successful leader creates a shared vision and empowers their team members to take ownership and make decisions. A great leader is also someone willing to step out of their comfort zone, listen to their staff members, and provide constructive feedback. Our team of visionary leaders understands the importance of identifying the best leadership style for the role and company culture.
“What is your leadership style?” sample answer:
My leadership style is transformational, and I believe in inspiring and motivating my team to achieve our common goals. An example is when I led a sales team and increased their performance by 20% by setting clear targets and empowering them to take ownership of their sales processes. By creating a positive and supportive work environment, I was able to drive the team to reach new heights.
This blog post will provide 12 “What is your leadership style?” sample answers to help you prepare for your next job interview. These sample answers are designed to provide you with a starting point to create your unique response. Our team of experts has created these answers based on previous work experiences, different styles of leadership, and the best ways to become a more effective leader.
So, whether you are a project manager or seeking a management position, this blog post is for you. We will cover the most common leadership styles and provide you with a sample answer for each. By the end of this blog post, you will better understand your leadership style and how to articulate it effectively during your next job interview.
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
Why Employers Ask About Your Leadership Style
Employers ask about a candidate’s leadership style for several reasons, and it is essential to answer this question in the best way possible. A candidate’s style of leadership can reveal their approach to managing a team and handling tasks. Effective communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making are crucial to being a strong leader in any type of leadership role.
For instance, a democratic leadership style may work well for a sports team where all group members have a say in decision-making. In contrast, a servant leader may be more effective in creating a positive work environment and achieving the best version of a small team.
Providing examples from previous jobs is essential when answering the question about leadership style. For instance, participative leaders may describe how they effectively involved team members in projects in achieving success. True leaders can provide examples of how they have helped colleagues and their company grow and adapted their leadership styles over time to serve their career path better.
Employers also want to know if a candidate’s leadership style fits the company culture. For example, a company that values work-life balance may highly value an affiliative leadership style that prioritizes a positive work environment. Additionally, the decision-making process can be an essential aspect of leadership style for some companies. An autocratic leadership style may be better suited for a company where quick decisions are critical and time is of the essence.
In conclusion, understanding the different types of leadership styles and providing examples of how you have implemented them in the past is the best way to answer the question of your leadership style. By doing so, you can show potential employers your potential for growth and advancement within the company.
An Overview of Different Leadership Approaches
As a job seeker, it’s essential to be familiar with the different types of leadership styles and to understand your own approach to leadership. This will help you effectively communicate your skills and experience to potential employers and make you a more competitive candidate for leadership roles.
Here’s an overview of some of the most common leadership approaches:
- Transformational: This type of leader inspires and motivates their team to strive for a common goal. They focus on creating a shared vision and work to build a culture of trust and collaboration.
- Situational: This type of leader adjusts their approach based on their team’s situation and needs. They are flexible and adaptable, able to switch between different styles as needed.
- Servant: This type of leader prioritizes their team’s needs and places their employees’ well-being above their own interests. They focus on creating a supportive work environment and empowering their team to succeed.
- Democratic: This type of leader encourages collaboration and seeks input from their team in decision-making. They believe in building consensus and promoting shared ownership among their team.
- Laissez-Faire: This type of leader allows their team to take the lead and make decisions without much input or direction from the leader. They focus on delegating tasks and allowing their team to operate autonomously.
- Visionary: This type of leader has a clear and compelling vision for the future and works to inspire and motivate their team to achieve it. They are often creative and innovative and focus on driving change and growth.
- Charismatic: This type of leader has a magnetic personality and inspires others through passion and enthusiasm. They can motivate their team and build a strong sense of loyalty and commitment.
- Transactional: This type of leader focuses on achieving specific goals and results. They use a system of rewards and consequences to motivate their team and hold them accountable.
- Collaborative: This type of leader values teamwork and seeks to build solid relationships and partnerships with their team. They focus on building consensus and fostering a sense of community among their team.
- Coaching: This type of leader focuses on developing their team members and helping them reach their full potential. They provide guidance, support, and feedback to help their team grow and succeed.
- Direct: This type of leader is decisive and confident in their decision-making. They give clear direction and expectations to their team and hold them accountable for meeting their goals.
- Progressive: This type of leader is focused on continuous improvement and innovation. They are open to new ideas and encourage their team to take risks and explore new solutions.
Each leadership approach has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best method for a given situation will depend on the team’s specific needs and the organization’s goals. As a job seeker, it’s important to understand the different leadership styles and to have a good sense of your own approach to leadership. This will help you effectively communicate your skills and experience to potential employers and stand out as a candidate for leadership roles.
How to Effectively Discuss Your Leadership Approach
As a job seeker, being asked about your leadership style in an interview can be daunting. However, it’s also an opportunity to showcase your strengths and demonstrate your fit for the role. The key to effectively discussing your leadership approach is to be prepared, confident, and able to articulate your personal and professional qualities. In this section, we will provide tips to help you describe your leadership style in an interview.
Here are some practical tips for discussing your leadership approach:
- Understand your leadership style: Take the time to understand your own leadership style, including your strengths and areas for improvement.
- Prepare examples: Before the interview, prepare specific examples of situations where you demonstrated your leadership skills. Be ready to discuss the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.
- Be confident: Speak with confidence and be clear about your leadership style. This will demonstrate your personal and professional qualities to the hiring manager.
- Be specific: Be specific about your leadership approach and avoid generalizing. Explain how your leadership style has been effective in past roles.
- Emphasize the benefits: Emphasize the benefits of your leadership style, including how it has helped you achieve success and how it can benefit the company.
- Be flexible: Be open to discussing how you may adapt your leadership style to fit the company or team’s needs.
Following these tips, you can effectively discuss your leadership approach in an interview and showcase your strengths to potential employers.
12 Sample Answers to “What Is Your Leadership Style?” Interview Question
Example Answer #1: Transformational Leadership Style
My leadership style is transformational. I believe in inspiring and motivating my team to achieve our common goals. An example of this is when I led a sales team and increased their performance by 20% by setting clear targets and empowering them to take ownership of their sales processes. By creating a positive and supportive work environment, I was able to drive the team to reach new heights.
Example Answer #2: Situational Leadership Approach
My leadership style is situational. I believe in adapting my leadership approach based on my team’s situation and needs. An example is when I led a customer service team and faced a high volume of customer complaints. I quickly adapted my leadership style to become more hands-on, working closely with the team to resolve issues and improve our processes. This approach helped to improve customer satisfaction and maintain our reputation as a reliable and customer-focused company.
Example Answer #3: Servant Leadership Style
My leadership style is best described as a servant. I believe in putting the needs of my team first and creating a supportive and empowering work environment. An example of this is when I was leading a project team, and one of my team members was struggling with a personal issue. I made sure to give them the support and flexibility they needed, including allowing them to work from home when necessary. I fostered a strong and motivated team that delivered outstanding results by focusing on serving my team and creating a positive work culture.
Example Answer #4: Democratic Leadership Approach
My leadership style is democratic. I believe in encouraging participation and collaboration from my team and making decisions through consensus. An example of this is when I was leading a product development team, and we were facing a difficult design decision. I brought the team together to discuss the options, and we made the decision together based on the input and ideas of each team member. By creating a collaborative work environment, we could make informed and effective decisions that resulted in a successful product launch.
Example Answer #5: Laissez-Faire Leadership Style
My leadership style is laissez-faire. I believe in giving my team members the freedom and autonomy to do their jobs to the best of their ability. An example of this is when I led a creative team and allowed them to explore their ideas and approaches to projects. This resulted in a more innovative and creative output and improved the team’s morale and motivation. We achieved exceptional results by trusting my team and giving them the freedom to innovate.
Example Answer #6: Visionary Leadership Approach
My leadership style is visionary. I believe in setting a clear vision and inspiring my team to achieve a common goal. An example of this is when I was leading a start-up and could articulate a compelling vision that inspired my team to work tirelessly to bring it to life. As a visionary leader, I could focus the team on the bigger picture and drive success through our shared vision and purpose.
Example Answer #7: Charismatic Leadership Style
My leadership style is charismatic. I believe in using my energy and enthusiasm to inspire and motivate my team. An example of this is when I was leading a sales team and was able to increase their performance through my motivational speeches and one-on-one coaching sessions. Being a charismatic leader, I boosted morale and drove success for the team and the company.
Example Answer #8: Transactional Leadership Approach
My leadership style is transactional. I believe in setting clear goals, providing structure, and using rewards and consequences to motivate my team. An example of this is when I led a production team and improved efficiency by setting clear performance expectations and rewarding those who exceeded expectations. Using a transactional approach, I could drive results and maintain a well-run and productive team.
Example Answer #9: Collaborative Leadership Style
My leadership style is collaborative. I believe in working closely with my team to achieve shared goals and make decisions together. An example of this is when I was leading a cross-functional team and was able to bring together diverse perspectives to create a more effective solution. By being a collaborative leader, I was able to foster a sense of teamwork and improve the overall output of the team.
Example Answer #10: Coaching Leadership Approach
My leadership style is coaching. I believe in empowering my team members to develop their skills, grow professionally, and reach their full potential. An example is when I led a customer service team and provided regular coaching sessions and performance feedback to help them improve their skills. By using a coaching approach, I could not only drive performance but also help my team members grow and develop professionally, which helped increase overall job satisfaction and retention.
Example Answer #11: Direct Leadership Style
My leadership style is direct. I believe in providing clear guidance, setting expectations, and giving concise instructions to my team. An example of this is when I led a project team and provided clear direction on timelines, budgets, and deliverables to ensure the project was completed successfully. By using a direct approach, I ensured that the team was focused and on track, which helped to improve efficiency and productivity.
Example Answer #12: Progressive Leadership Approach
My leadership style is progressive. I believe in embracing change, experimenting with new ideas, and encouraging innovation within my team. An example is when I led a marketing team and encouraged them to test new approaches and techniques to drive more effective marketing campaigns. Using a progressive approach, I fostered a culture of innovation and creativity, which helped drive better results for the team and the company.
In this FAQ, we will answer some common questions related to leadership styles, including what they are, why they matter, and how to identify your own style. Whether you are a seasoned leader or just starting out, this guide will provide you with valuable insights to help you lead your team to success.
If you haven't had the opportunity to lead a team before, focus on discussing your ability to take charge and make decisions and your willingness to learn and grow as a leader.
That's okay! Many leaders have a blend of different styles, and it's okay to acknowledge that and discuss the other elements of your leadership approach.
If you're new to the workforce, you can discuss leadership qualities you have displayed in other areas of your life, such as school or volunteer work.
Be honest and talk about what you learned from the experience and how you plan to improve as a leader in the future.
Yes, specific examples are great for illustrating your leadership style and how you've effectively applied it in the past.
Focus on how your leadership style has helped your team and the company succeed, and avoid talking about yourself boastfully.
Acknowledge your areas of improvement and discuss what steps you're taking to improve in those areas.
Discuss your leadership style and how you have applied it in previous management positions. Describe how your leadership style has helped improve your team's performance.
Discuss your leadership style and how you have effectively led small teams to achieve their goals. Emphasize your ability to motivate, delegate, and manage a team effectively.
Focus on your own leadership style and avoid talking negatively about a past boss. Discuss the lessons you learned and how you plan to apply them in your next leadership role.
Lead the Way: Concluding Thoughts on Showcasing Your Leadership Ability
Answering the question “What is your leadership style?” can be challenging for many job seekers. However, with the proper preparation, you can showcase your leadership abilities and set yourself apart from other candidates. Understanding the different types of leadership styles is critical to effectively discussing your approach in an interview. Remember to be specific, use real-life examples, and focus on the benefits of your leadership ability.
At MatchBuilt Executive Search, we have helped thousands of job seekers and hundreds of hiring employers, and we understand the importance of preparing for this question. Our team of experts is here to offer guidance and support in your job search journey. Be sure to visit our blog for more tips on interviewing,