I received a call last month from a close friend who just finished up a phone screening for a mid-level management opportunity. He mentioned that she happened to ask the one questions that is typically asked during any managerial hiring process.
“What kind of manager are you?” or “what’s your management style?” I find this question quite irritating. Here’s why:
Ask a professional fisherman what lure he uses to catch fish and he’s likely to respond with:
- “Where are we fishing?”
- “What are we fishing for?”
- “What are the water & air temperatures?”
- “What depth are we fishing at?”
- “What direction is the current flowing?”
I’m sure that you get my point by now. You’re asking someone to provide you a direct answer with dozens of variables. They’ve yet to learn about your company’s current culture, environment, strategies, or even the employees on your team. Now you’re asking how they plan to manage these aspects of your business?
If I was ever asked this question, my answer would be simple. I don’t have one single “management style.” Would a fisherman be successful if he brought with him only one rod and lure to fish with?
The truth is that every company is different. More importantly, every employee is different. The best managers adapt to the particular situation and manage each employee as an individual. This may involve utilizing numerous management styles. If I was hiring a mid-level manager and they told me they are an autocratic manager, I would say “sorry, that works well with only 1/8 of our workforce. Next!”
Personally, I try to study and understand many forms of management from such authors as Drucker, Maxwell, and Logan. By educating one’s self on multiple management styles and strategies, you can simply grow your tool box. Then, when you’re out on the water, you can make the all-important decision of “how to manage,” based upon the many internal variables of that particular company.
Besides, all this is nonsense anyway. Managers are obsolete. Hire leaders.