"When I first started in my current role, I was replacing a very beloved manager who had retired. The team that I was given was not happy about the change and they initially set out to give me a hard time. I addressed it within the first week, acknowledging that I had big shoes to fill. I believe that the team respected this honest approach and slowly everyone came around once they realized that I had their best interest in mind."
"Everybody likes me! (Smile!) In all seriousness, I worked with someone in my last role who had a very different style than I lead with. For whatever reason, they were unwilling to make the effort to adapt to rapid change or the fast pace in which the team worked. I was always asking questions to learn the most I could about the business, while this person would have preferred everything stay status quo. I consider myself to be fairly perceptive to people around me and took it upon myself to approach this person in private in an effort to build a relationship with them outside of the work group. It helped."
"When I was promoted to manager of my current department, I came in as younger than the combined sales experience of only two of my employees. This made me not very popular in their eyes and they thought they could treat me as though I were their daughter, rather than their boss. I made it clear that while I respect their experience, I am their boss and need to be treated as such. I did so kindly over a cup of coffee while emphasizing their importance to me and the team, explaining my credentials and again clarifying that I am the manager and am to be treated with respect. We've all done well together since and I find our department to be a very enjoyable place to work!"
"I'm all about tackling a problem when you see it, and being transparent so the problems are quick to surface. This doesn't go over well with my low-achievers who are hoping to skate by doing the bare minimum. Anytime this happens, I speak with the employee in question off of the floor to assess what's going on and how we can get them up to speed to hit numbers. Sometimes they rise to the occasion and sometimes they don't or can't. In either case, I am sure to explain exactly what the problem is, how I hope to fix it, solicit their input, and work to find a plan of action together. I don't take their dislike of my style personally, but instead try to bridge the gap to find a cohesive, collaborative environment for all."
Being a manager, you may sometimes come across personalities that simply do not mesh with yours. Talk to the interviewer about a time that you had to lead someone who may not have liked you. How did you handle the situation?
"As a manager, the most difficult task for me is to delegate the work evenly. You will always have team members who are absolute rock-stars, then some who are a bit less enthusiastic or are lower producers. I have to remind myself to distribute the work and responsibilities evenly despite my natural inclination to give more work to the high performers. I am currently working with my under performing team members to prepare them for a larger workload."
"Working with people and running a business are two of my favorite things. It can be easy to get caught up in these important aspects and forget to carve out time regularly to develop - myself and my team. I have set reminders and triggers to help me stay focused on doing this in the background."
"I would say the most difficult part of managing people is being both their friend and earning their respect, while being new on the team. To balance all of these roles, you have to make sure to be approachable and genuinely interested in them as humans, but also make sure they know that it's a place of business and that meeting or exceeding expectations is the name of the game, above all else."
"I think the most difficult task is to come into a preexisting, cohesive team and to be taken seriously to get them to rise to the occasion under my leadership. It's something that may be the hardest part, but it's something I actually enjoy as a challenge professionally."
Being in a management role is always a great challenge. Share with the interviewer what you feel is the most difficult part of being a manager, and why. Also discuss what you are currently doing to make this task less difficult in the future.