Listening Topic: Business – Lecture on management principles

A. Listen to a lecture on principles of good management. Circle the characteristics below that the speaker mentions as important for a good manager.

A good manager or boss …

___ is a positive role model

___ is a leader

___ knows the strengths of the employees

___ closely observes the performance of employees

___ sets high standards and does not tolerate mistakes

___ has good communication skills

___ devotes all his or her time to work

___ openly criticizes employees

B. Read the questions and answer the ones you can. Then listen to the lecture again and note your answers as you listen. Listen again if necessary.

1   Who are most of the people in the audience? _______________________

2   What are two examples of managers who are good role models? _______________________

3   How does a good manager know the strengths of his or her employees? _______________________

4   How should managers support employees? _______________________

5   How do good managers deal with mistakes? _______________________

6   What is the speaker’s feeling about managers and a personal life? _______________________

7   What suggestions does the speaker offer for workers who have bad managers? _______________________



is a positive role model

is a leader

knows the strengths of the employees

closely observes the performance of employees


Answers may vary slightly.

1   People in management positions

2   They lead by example, and they earn the respect of their employees.

3   He or she observes the employees and their work.

4   By giving them the tools and opportunities they need to do their job

5   They use mistakes as teaching opportunities.

6   Managers should have an active personal life and not work all the time.

7   Try to work around your boss and make connections with other important people that will help you to get your work done.


A = Speaker

A:   Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I’d like to welcome you all to today’s seminar on Principles of Good Management. Our first session of the day is a kind of overview. What I want to do is introduce some of the points that we’re going to be discussing throughout the rest of the seminar. Now, later in the day, we’ll thinking much more carefully about each of these items, and you’ll have a chance to put each of these points into action. But for now, we want to take a brief look at what we’ll be covering during the rest of the seminar.

Before we get started, could I see a show of hands? How many of you are currently in management positions? Okay. It looks like almost everyone is. And how many of you are studying management in school or expect to be managers in the future? Alright. And, well, that looks like everyone else. Good.

Today I’m going to talk about characteristics that good bosses and managers share. Please direct your attention to the first point on the screen. Okay, first, we see that good managers are good role models for their employees. They tend to lead by example. They understand a company’s beliefs, practice them themselves and earn the respect of the people they supervise.

Next, we see that another characteristic of effective managers is that they see the unique strengths of their employees and try to utilize those strengths in their organization. This kind of manager observes what tasks his or her people do well, what responsibilities they learn quickly, and which ones they enjoy doing, and a good manager will reward them by giving them tasks that encourage the use of these skills. Now, excellent managers want their team to grow, to take on additional responsibility, and to mentor others. And they do what’s necessary to make that happen.

As this next screen shows, good managers understand the direction their organization is moving in and embrace that vision and communicate it to the team; all the while, being focused on the company targets.

These people also expect their employees to meet the standards they set. But a good manager will always give employees the tools and opportunities to do so. And not only that, but a good manager will check up on employees to make sure that they’re working toward meeting those standards. Now that doesn’t mean being a micro manager. It doesn’t mean that you should be checking up on every detail of a person’s work. No one likes to be micro managed. It’s not only inefficient, but it tells your staff that you don’t believe they can do the work. Trust that the people you hired are capable of doing the job. And you’ll have to accept that mistakes will be made. In fact, a good manager uses mistakes as teaching or training opportunities. Ultimately, managers that spend their time micro managing employees are just plain ineffective, because they should be spending time on projects that truly need their attention.

Next point: A good manager delegates tasks that don’t need his or her attention. This allows people the chance to exhibit willingness to take on responsibility. We’ll talk a lot more about that later. But, it’s vital.

As we see here, I also believe that a great manager has a personal life. He or she makes time for family and friends and leisure time activities. Why? Well, I feel you cannot give to others what you do not have, and if you are burned out from working 70 hours a week, how much energy and creativity can you bring to work? Not very much! Good managers take care of themselves by getting enough sleep, eating right, and getting exercise. This serves as a lifestyle example to others, and, again, this is my opinion, it makes the whole team more effective. A more effective workplace meets its goals.

Finally, whenever I give this lecture, I’m almost always asked about what to do with a bad manager, and I’m sure everyone in this room has at one time or another had one of those types of supervisors. We’ll discuss this at length this afternoon. But, for, now I’ll just say this: The characteristics of bad managers run the gamut from micro managing, to bullying, to just plain being ineffective. And, short of quitting, there isn’t much you can do since it is unlikely that your boss is going to change. So, if he or she won’t, you will have to. You may have to work around your boss to get things done; or make connections with others in key positions in other departments so that your productivity is minimally impacted. Don’t let this person stop you from achieving your goals.

Now, as we get ready for the rest of the day, I’d like you all to remember that management can be highly exciting and highly rewarding. Good manager are constantly striving to improve themselves, and their techniques and their employees. And I’m sure that’s why you’re all here today! So now, let’s take a short break and meet up for our next session in 15 minutes.

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