There is no one "right" leadership style that works for everyone or every situation but you can describe your approach and highlight some of the key principles that guide you. Your answer should reflect your unique leadership approach and your ability to inspire and guide a team toward goal achievement.

Leadership is not just about having a high-ranking position or being in charge of others. It's a set of skills, attitudes, and behaviors that can be developed over time and applied in any context, whether it's a small team or a large organization.

Leadership involves creating a clear sense of direction, motivating and empowering team members, and making tough decisions when necessary.

Effective leaders are often skilled communicators who can articulate their vision, values, and expectations clearly and inspire others to follow. They also possess strong emotional intelligence, which enables them to understand and connect with their team members on a deeper level and create an environment of trust, respect, and collaboration.

What is your leadership style?

The answer to this question that always pops up in interviews will depend on your personal leadership philosophy and management approach.

For example, you might say something like:

“My leadership style is based on building strong relationships with my team members and creating a collaborative and supportive work environment. I believe in empowering my team to take ownership of their work and providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed. I also value open communication and transparency, so I encourage my team to share their ideas and feedback with me so that we can work together to achieve our goals.”

You can also mention specific strategies or techniques that you use to motivate and engage your team, such as setting clear expectations, recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance, and providing ongoing feedback and coaching. 

The best definitions of leadership prioritize motivation, transformation, care for people, and empowerment as key aspects of leadership.

Personal Values, Meaning, and Leadership Style

Values are defined as the guiding principles and beliefs that you hold about what is important in life. Meaning is the subjective experience of feeling purposeful and fulfilled in your life. Research on leadership indicates there is a strong connection between your personal values and your leadership style

Transformational Leadership Style

If you have a clear sense of your personal values and a strong sense of meaning you are more likely to exhibit a transformational leadership style. 

Transformational leaders are those who inspire and motivate their followers by articulating a compelling vision, providing intellectual stimulation, and serving as a role model for ethical behavior.

Transformational leaders are more likely to align their leadership style with their personal values and meaning, as they are more likely to prioritize the growth and development of their team members, act as a mentor, and create a culture of collaboration and innovation. 

Transactional Leadership Style

In contrast, leaders who are not aligned with their personal values and meaning are more likely to exhibit transactional leadership styles, which focus on rewards and punishments and tend to be more hierarchical and controlling.

Delegative Leadership Style

Delegative leadership is a non-controlling and non-intrusive leadership style that gives more power and authority to team members. To practice delegative leadership effectively, there must be an alignment of core values and commitment to goals on a team level.  

Watch the video to see an example of the delegative leadership style:

The Tough Leadership Interview Question

Let’s imagine you need to attend an interview for a team lead position in a marketing agency and need to prepare yourself to answer the question: How would you describe your leadership style? Consider following these steps:

  1. Before the interview, research the company and its culture to get a better understanding of the leadership qualities that they value. This can help you tailor your response to fit their expectations.
  2. Reflect on your previous experiences as a leader, whether in a professional or personal setting. Consider what worked well and what didn’t, and what leadership qualities you exhibited in those situations.
  3. Consider what leadership values are most important to you: collaboration, communication, empathy, accountability, or innovation. These values can guide your leadership style and shape your response to the question.
  4. To illustrate your leadership style, use concrete examples from your past experiences. Talk about a time when you successfully led a team, overcame a challenge, or implemented a new strategy. Be specific about the actions you took and the results you achieved.
  5. Demonstrate self-awareness. Acknowledge any weaknesses or areas for improvement in your leadership style, and show a willingness to learn and grow as a leader.

Finally, don’t try to emulate someone else’s leadership style or say what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Instead, be true to yourself and describe the leadership style that you believe is most effective for you.

A strong answer to the question “How would you describe your leadership style?” demonstrates your experience, values, and authenticity as a leader.

The Elevator Pitch Answer to the Question ”How Would You Describe Your Leadership Style”?

If you are asked to describe your leadership style in three words in the shortest possible time, you have to know your goals, personal values, and meaning. Here are five possible elevator pitch-style answers to the question: “Describe your leadership style in three words”:

  • “Collaborative, Empowering, Visionary”
  • “Authentic, Inclusive, Strategic”
  • “Results-driven, Innovative, Communicative”
  • “Adaptable, Trustworthy, Servant”
  • “Inspiring, Accountable, Humble”

Self-awareness and alignment with your values and purpose are crucial for effective leadership. 

Reflection Points to Discover Your Leadership Style

If you haven’t thought about your values so far, here is a practical exercise to help you become a better leader by reflecting on the following points:

1. Vision and Direction 

A good leader has a clear vision and direction for their team or organization. This involves defining goals, establishing priorities, and communicating expectations.

2. Communication 

Leaders must be able to articulate their vision and goals clearly, listen actively to their team members, and provide constructive feedback.

3. Decision-making 

Good leaders weigh the pros and cons of each decision, consider the potential consequences, and choose the best course of action for their team or organization, often with limited information.

4. Empowerment 

Leaders empower their team members to take ownership of their work, encourage them to be creative and innovative, and provide them with the resources and support they need to be successful.

5. Emotional Intelligence 

Good leaders are empathetic, able to build strong relationships with their team members, and create a positive and supportive work environment.

6. Accountability 

Leaders hold themselves and their team members accountable for their actions and results. This involves setting clear expectations, monitoring progress, and providing feedback and support when necessary.

7. Continuous Improvement 

Good leaders are always striving to improve themselves and their teams. They seek feedback, learn from mistakes, and adapt their leadership style to meet the changing needs of their team or organization.

8. Ethics and Integrity 

Leaders must act with integrity, uphold ethical standards, and be accountable for their actions. This includes treating team members with respect and fairness, being transparent and honest, and leading by example.

After working through these reflection points, how would you describe your leadership style?

If you want to develop a self-managing digital leadership system that changes and evolves as you gain experience and grow as a leader, and help your team achieve their best work there is a roadmap you can download for free below: 

self managing business roadmap

how would you describe your leadership style? 5 best definitions

Are leaders born or made?

The debate about whether leaders are born or made has been a topic of discussion for many years. While there is no clear-cut answer, the general consensus among researchers and experts is that both nature and nurture play a role in leadership development.

Some people may have certain innate qualities or traits that make them more predisposed to leadership roles, such as charisma, confidence, and communication skills. However, these natural abilities alone are not enough to make someone an effective leader. Leadership also requires the development of specific knowledge, skills, and behaviors through education, training, and experience.

Therefore, it can be said that while some people may have a natural inclination towards leadership, it is ultimately a combination of innate qualities and learned skills that contribute to successful leadership. Anyone can develop leade

What is a true leader?

Here are some qualities that are commonly associated with true leaders:

  1. Visionary: a clear vision of where they want to go and can communicate that vision to the team in a compelling way.
  2. Courageous: not afraid to take risks, make difficult decisions, and stand up for what they believe in.
  3. Empathetic: can put themselves in others’ shoes and understand their perspectives, which enables them to build strong relationships and create a supportive work environment.
  4. Authentic: true to themselves and their values, which helps them gain the trust and respect of others.
  5. Resilient: able to persevere in the face of challenges and setbacks, and motivate others to do the same.
  6. Humble: not driven by ego or a desire for personal gain, but by a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the world.
  7. Collaborative: work effectively with others, delegate tasks, and build a strong team that is greater than the sum of its parts.

A true leader is someone who has the ability to inspire and guide others toward a common goal or vision. They possess a combination of character traits, skills, and behaviors that enable them to effectively lead and manage a team.

What are the 5 main leadership styles?

There are many different models and frameworks for categorizing leadership styles, but one commonly used approach is to identify five main leadership styles:

  1. Autocratic leadership: Making decisions without seeking input or feedback from others, and using a top-down approach to command and control.
  2. Democratic leadership: Seeking input and feedback from team members, and using a participatory approach to decision-making and problem-solving.
  3. Laissez-faire (delegative) leadership: Delegating authority and decision-making to team members, and allowing them to work independently with minimal supervision.
  4. Transformational leadership: Inspiring and motivating team members to achieve a common vision or goal, and creating a sense of purpose and meaning in their work.
  5. Servant leadership: This style involves prioritizing the needs and well-being of team members, and using a supportive and empowering approach to leadership that fosters growth, development, and collaboration.

Each of these leadership styles has its own strengths and weaknesses, and may be more effective in certain situations and contexts than others. Effective leaders are able to adapt their style to fit the needs and preferences of their team members, and to the demands of the situation at hand.

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