How would you answer the interview question, “What is your leadership style?”
To help you answer the interview question “what is your leadership style?”, we asked hiring managers and business leaders this question for their best tips. From stating that you are a democratic leader to leading by example, there are several great responses that will help highlight your qualities as a leader.
Here are 13 great responses to “What is your leadership style?”:
- Democratic, Not Autocratic
- Visionary Leadership
- Responsive Leadership
- Stern, Yet Honest, Engaging, and Fair
- Always Hustling
- Take a Hands-on Approach
- Lead With Empathy
- Inclusive and Innovative
- Encourage Collaboration and Communication
- Act as Safety Net
- Watch, Mirror, Do
- Direct, Coaching, Supportive
- Leading by Example
Democratic, Not Autocratic
I have a democratic leadership style, versus an autocratic leadership style. I ask my team regularly for input, and truly value their feedback. Before making any major decision, I want everyone’s voice to be heard. I believe companies grow when everyone has a seat around the table, whether you’re in a management position or not. I have found this approach to boost employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.
Katie Lyon, Allegiance Flag Supply
I am a visionary leader. Our mission is to promote the health of our communities and our planet, and we never lose sight of that. Everything we do– from our product to our non-profit partnerships to our social media presence– centers around supporting one another and leaving this Earth better than we found it. Every leader is a visionary. For us, our vision of a healthier future drives our decisions.
Bill Glaser, Outstanding Foods
When I’m asked this question, I always answer responsive leadership. Each year, we conduct a client survey and every single year, responsiveness is the number one response from our clients. Whether you’re leading a company or a small team, the people counting on you want timely answers to their questions. Being responsive can set you apart from the competition.
Amanda Haddaway, HR Answerbox
Stern, Yet Honest, Engaging, and Fair
A great answer I would give to the interview question, “What is your leadership style?”, is that my leadership style is to be stern, yet honest, engaging, and fair with my team. Answering with this response is the starting point but it’s also very important to elaborate on the how and why you do this. Being stern can be viewed as a negative most of the time, however, this is just a leader’s ability to be serious and strict with their leadership, rules, policies, etc. Being honest, engaging, and fair is the huge positive point of this answer, as any good leader is bound to have all of these qualities in their leadership.
Jonathan Finegold, MedCline
Being successful is a constant struggle. Unfortunately, it isn’t something that you achieve and maintain forever without any additional perseverance. Yet, this “always hustling” attitude is, as women, what really keeps us on our toes, which I believe is the real strategy for success in being an effective leader.
Personally, I set a list of clear goals that I know that I could achieve, and then I keep replacing those goals with higher, more in-depth goals. Understanding OKRs and how they work can be really helpful in this. As you move along from one goal to the next, success becomes imaginable, and then actually reachable and, finally, just within your grasp.
Lauren Kleinman, The Quality Edit
Take a Hands-on Approach
Working across company strategy, development, sales, and marketing departments, I take a hands-on approach with my team and customers. For me, leadership is not a starring role. I’m the person who simply never fully separates myself from the day-to-day operations.
From day one, I have been building a business that reflects my vision of the most important values of humanity. It is not only about honesty and integrity but also equal opportunities, open and clear communication.
Tatsiana Kerimova, Orangesoft
Lead With Empathy
I describe my leadership style as empathetic, with Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence and daily work experience being my manuals. I seek to make my team members feel at home and free to communicate with me and other leaders by eliminating the notion of an autocratic leader. Everyone in the team is a leader when called upon, and through their help, I’ve been able to implement communication-based tasks and challenges to create better team bonding and understanding.
At the core of empathetic leadership is the drive to create a positive work environment that enables all employees to be their best version and advance their careers. My employees’ welfare and their experience working with me are my top priority. Working with team members with a healthy work-life balance improves chances of success and career growth.
John Tian, Mobitrix
Inclusive and Innovative
There are many answers for leadership style, but I love to respond by illustrating that my leadership style is such that it does not leave anyone out. Leaders will often delegate tasks to display that they are not biased and their leadership is inclusive. However, concrete actions such as diversity hiring are what supports an all-inclusive leadership style claim.
Additionally, I advise candidates and take my own advice on this common interview question because being innovative means you can offer more opportunities to support your company’s growth. An innovative leadership style is also necessary and effective in creating future leadership opportunities and grooming the next crop of leaders to ensure continuity and sustainability in the company.
Ryan Yount, Luckluckgo
Encourage Collaboration and Communication
Different workplaces require different styles of leadership and when a candidate comes to me with this question, I make sure to answer honestly and get specific about times that I have applied my specific style.
I would answer the question like this:
“I would describe my leadership style as one that encourages communication and collaboration with my employees. I think it’s very important to lead by example and that is why I make sure to never assign tasks to my employees that I myself couldn’t complete. I am caring, compassionate and always willing to listen to my employees’ concerns. In fact, last week, I implemented weekly one-on-ones with my employees so that they can air any grievances about work or to just discuss the week. I want my employees to know that, like them, I am willing to listen and learn”.
Colin Palfrey, JollySEO
Act as a Safety Net
Personally, I like to think of my leadership style as being a safety net at the circus. Firstly, working in a startup can often feel like working in a circus– thrilling and daring, several acts happening at once, and often chaotic. Our team is full of star performers, however even the most experienced artists have slip-ups. My leadership style enables my team to fly high but gives them the confidence to know that if they misstep, I have their backs. My leadership approach is to let my team guide their own performance, and call on me when they feel shaky.
Carly Hill, Virtual Holiday Party
Watch, Mirror, Do
In any leadership role I have had, my goal has been to bring along those who can do what I do…but better. I believe every leader should train others so well that they work themselves right out of a job. So I have always taken a very hands-on approach to leading a team. Those in that inner circle will spend time shadowing me and watching what I do and how I do it, then I will let them try their hand at it with my supervision and stepping in as needed, and then I let them go for it and let the baby bird learn to fly on their own.
Dylan Miller, DSM Story Forge
Direct, Coaching, Supportive
My leadership style is direct and coaching. I like to support my employees when they’re starting on a new job or project. While I believe in giving them autonomy rather than micromanaging, I want them to know I’m always there for them. As they build their confidence, they become more and more independent. What inspires me the most is when people reach their full potential and build upon what they have been taught.
Georgi Todorov, thrivemyway
Lead by Example
To answer this question in an interview, one needs to ensure that the answer balances the authenticity of their character while showcasing professionalism and commitment to the position. Also, making sure you don’t sound like a teleprompter is critical; Therefore, brainstorming various answers to this question can be wise. Please find my take on the question below:
“I would describe my leadership style as candid and leading by example. I believe that being one with the team nurtures an honest and loyal relationship between the parties. Even though I enjoy delegating tasks and leading projects, showing your commitment and hands-on approach to your subordinates creates a healthy and productive workplace.”
Natalia Parcinska, Spacelift