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Job interview question and answer: What characteristics do you think make a successful manager?

A sucessful business manager
Yuri Arcurs |

If you’re being interviewed for a job where you’ll be playing a managerial role, your prospective employer will want to know what kind of manager you admire and aspire to be.

There is no right way to manage people – it will depend on your personality, the needs of the role and company culture, and different styles can be effective at different times and with different people. Some roles require strong decisive leadership, while others benefit from a more collaborative, consultative style.

While your personality will determine your management style to a large degree, the best managers are flexible and can modify their approach depending on the situation and the people they’re dealing with. However, there are some characteristics which almost all successful managers possess. These include:

  • Trustworthy and open
  • Communicative both in informing and giving feedback, and listening to staff and their concerns
  • Positive and encouraging
  • Calm and reasonable
  • Set clear direction and expectations
  • Flexible
  • Hard-working
  • Strategic in vision and problem-solving
  • Decisive and clear-thinking
  • Well-informed and knowledgeable about the business

To answer this question, choose three or four characteristics and expand on why you think they’re important, how they would be relevant to your role and how you have demonstrated them in the past. You could also describe how a previous manager of yours displayed these qualities to good effect, and how you learned from that example.

Can you think of other characteristics of a successful manager? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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