Would you describe yourself as a good manager?

  | James Innes

Would you describe yourself as a good manager?

Alternative and related questions:

Are you a good manager?
How would you describe yourself as a manager?

The meaning behind the question:

The interviewer is specifically looking for you to provide them with an explanation as to why you think you're a good manager.  If you're up for a management role (which you most likely are if they're asking you such a question) then your answer could be very revealing for them.

Your answer:

Well, you're not exactly going to describe yourself as a bad manager are you!  Of course you're a good manager and you're going to tell the interviewer precisely what that is the case.

So what makes for a good manager?

  • Good managers develop good working relationships with their subordinates.
  • Good managers align the aims of their employees with those of their organisation.
  • Good managers set challenging but realistic targets.
  • Good managers use motivational techniques to facilitate the achievement of goals.
  • Good managers are fair and treat their subordinates equally and objectively.
  • Good managers demonstrate empathy, making people feel that their opinions are recognised.
  • Good managers demand the best of people but are aware of their limitations.
  • Good managers are prepared to take appropriate measures with those who fail to perform.
  • Good managers praise in public but criticise in private.
  • Good managers delegate tasks to others who can best handle them.
  • Good managers inspire their subordinates.

I could go on – but it's already a long list!

In answering this question aim to pick up on several of these qualities.  You won't want to repeat the whole list; just pick a few qualities which you feel are particularly strong points for you and which you feel are of particular relevance to the post for which you are applying.


Yes, I would.  I believe I'm particularly good at motivating my subordinates.  For example, I aim to align their aims with those of their organisation.  Once an employee is able to understand – and empathise with – the overall aims of the organisation, they are normally much more motivated to help achieve them.  I also believe I'm good at getting the best out of people while being aware, of course, of their limitations.  I strive to set challenging but realistic targets and ensure people are treated fairly, equally and objectively.

Word of warning:

A natural follow-up to this question will be for the interviewer to ask you to cite specific examples of where you demonstrated the qualities you've mentioned.  Be ready with appropriate answers.

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