MBA Interview Question: What is your Leadership Style

Leadership is not defined to a one-fits-all solution. Depending on the company size, the team’s composition, the culture, and the ‘Founder’s personality, eight categories of leadership play into the daily decision making and problem-solving, in an organization.

While answering the question on leadership, don’t confine yourself to one style but as we had noticed in our mock interview sessions, one prevalent style dominates most candidates. Identify the style. Complement it with styles that became visible during the time of crisis.

1. Stick and Carrot Leadership

This was a primitive form of leadership style that is phasing out in a knowledge economy except in Financial Services and Sales. Most of the conversation with the team is about the bonus and the punishments of missing the target. Glengarry Glen Ross, the 1992 movie is a case study on how the leadership works. If you win the #1 position/close the deal, win the Cadillac Eldorado, second prize is a set of steak knives. The toxicity of the leadership is so addictive that despite the open secret of the horrible work culture, like a cult, employees hang onto every word of the leader, slaving through 16-hour days, most weekends, and sacrificing their lives on unreachable targets. At the end of the quarter, each employee boasts about the bonus and the strategies they used to close a bad deal. The boasting is all one sided with customer rarely appearing in a positive light.

They are just a means to an end.

Ideally, don’t mention the leadership even if you were part of such a toxic culture. Choose delegative leadership instead.

2. Self-obsessed/Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic Leadership is a code word for self-obsessed leaders. If the scrutiny is public and the responsibilities path-breaking, the motivations align with the company objective and the greater good of the society. For such leaders, the awareness that their every word and action is evaluated is a bigger motivator than achieving the goals of the company.

Such leadership is prevalent in non-profit, government, and roles that require motivating a large group of people. Since the incentives are not entirely financial, following the charm of the leader and emulating the footsteps is a bigger motivator for most team members. Qualities that are worth following is on active display or showcased whenever the opportunity arises. The actions are captured as folklore and shared with future teams. The cycle of the story pushes the less experienced team to offer their time in exchange for the feeling of following a worthwhile goal or a charismatic ‘leader.’

3. To-Do Leadership

Most of you as an employee or as a first-time leader would fall under this category. Without completing the to-do list, projects are delayed, and company goals remain unrealistic. The problem arises when the leader sacrifices the individuality of the team, their morale and long-term company goals for the to-do list. Most of us initially believe that the leadership is effective. Although valuable for meeting deadlines, the most common reason for attrition in an organization are such leaders who can’t find a balance between managing tasks and freeing enough time for the team to experience healthy distractions (team building exercises, cultural events, competitions, and sporting events).

4. People-focused Leadership

On the opposite end of the to-do style is the people-focused leadership. Although necessary in a team that experienced failure and for projects that are long and need the commitment from everyone, the style is not conducive in high-stress projects where the client is demanding...

Complete Leadership Styles in F1GMAT's MBA Admission Interview

Learn which leadership style is ideal for your answer

MBA Admission Interview Guide

The Guide offers detailed examples and strategies to answer about yourself, career summary, innovation, frequent job switch, managing change, ethical dilemma, made mistake, contribution for the school, handling conflict, the greatest accomplishment, low grades, difficult boss, backup plan, industry, role and gives you tips on managing first impression, improve likeability and lists the questions that you should ask the MBA Admission interviewer.

Pages: 204

The Guide includes commonly asked MBA Admission Interview Questions for:

1) Booth School of Business
2) Columbia Business School
3) Ivey Business School
4) Johnson Graduate School of Management
5) Insead
6) Kellogg School of Management
7) Stanford Graduate School of Business
8) London Business School
9) Harvard Business School
10) MIT Sloan School of Management
11) Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Team Discussion Strategy + Interview Tips)


1. Importance of MBA Admission Interview  
2. How to do Gap Analysis for MBA Admission Interview Preparation?  
3. 5 Conversation Plan for MBA Admission Interview  
4. Focus on the Interaction  
5. How can you control First Impression in MBA Admission Interview  
6. How to improve likeability in MBA Admissions Interview  
7. Avoid these 4 Handshakes  
8. How to highlight Personal, Cultural, and Academic Dimensions of your personality  
9. What motivates an Interviewer?  
10. How to Fine Tune your answers according to MBA Admission Interviewer's Personality Type  
11. How to answer the “Tell us about yourself” introductory question?  
12. How to answer Walk me through your resume?  
13. 5 Follow-up questions to expect  
14. What is the greatest accomplishment in your professional career?
15. What is your leadership style?  
16. How would you contribute at the School Community
17. What is the most difficult obstacle you overcame?  
18. Are you a Creative Person?  
19. How do you define Success?  
20. How to answer about Innovative Solutions?  
21. Answering Frequent Job Switch
22. How did you Handle Conflict?
23. How did you manage Change?  
24. Give an Example of an Ethical Dilemma you faced. How did you handle it?  
25. Answering Greatest Accomplishment
26. How did you Handle a Difficult Boss?  
27.Tell me a time when you made a Mistake. What did you learn from it?
28. How to summarize your Career?  
29. How to explain low grades?  
30. How to answer Scenario Questions?  
31. How to answer the Backup Plan Question  
32. How to discuss about Industry Experience & your Role?  
33. What Questions should you ask the AdCom after an MBA Admissions Interview?  
34. 7 Things to Consider for Skype MBA Admission Interviews  
35. 5 Must Read MBA Admission Telephonic Interview Tips  

Download MBA Admission Interview Guide

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