Often found on an employer's interview question list is...
Rejoice if you're asked this question as it is a sign this company values leadership.
At first glance, this sounds like a loaded question.
Here you are sitting in front of your future boss--who you know nothing about--and you're being asked to describe your ideal boss.
Pearl of Wisdom: When you are asked to express your opinion or preference about something, always ask yourself: What is the fear behind the question? In other words, what are they worried about?
In this case, an employer may be looking for insights into your leadership style to see if it's in harmony with their company culture.
Even if you're interviewing for an individual contributor role, employers often like to hire people with the potential to be promoted 2 levels above the job they're applying for.
So they are really asking you: What are the qualities of a good leader?
How many of these qualities do you have? I've worked for a couple of bosses like this and it was heaven.
I've also experienced the misfortune of working for a couple of Neanderthal bosses who caused me to stare at the wall for hours pondering how on earth they were ever given a leadership position.
Under the reign of the Neanderthals, the highlight of my day was lunch and 5 o'clock.
Whereas, under a good leader, the highlight of my day was 6:00 AM when my alarm went off.
I actually looked forward to going to work.
Special Tip: So after your interviewer has check this off their interview question list, it's fair for you to ask them about their management style.
Remember, a job interview is a 2 way street.
In the unlikely event the manager is offended that you asked them the same question; then, you have to ask yourself, do I really want to work for this person?
Would you rather find out in the interview that this manager is a Neanderthal, or after you're on the job under the lash?
Sometimes employers will also ask you to describe your current boss to them. This question is easy to answer if you work for a good leader.
However, if you work for a jerk--and this is precisely why you're job hunting--always start off sharing 2 or 3 of your boss's strengths before you mention a shortcoming or two.
No matter how inept your boss may be, we're all a package of plusses and minuses. Surely your boss has a couple or strengths or s/he wouldn't be the boss.
Avoid sharing any major character flaws or other personality shortcomings about current or past bosses. Now is not the time to air dirty laundry.
In the final analysis, employers want to hire people who will lift their burdens, solve problems, and make life easier for them...not the other way around. The last thing you want to do is come off like you don't get along with people or you're difficult to manage.