Listening Script Vocabulary
(Section 3: You will hear a conversation between two students and a tutor about different management styles. First, you will have some time to look at questions 21 to 23 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 21 to 23.)
T: Right, now you've both been looking at different management styles, particularly at managing individuals in the workplace. How is your research going Paul?
P: Well, I've been reading about why individualism, or individual differences, are so important to management studies. It's become a relatively important area. Any organization, whether it's a family business or a huge multinational, is basically just a group of people trying to work alongside each other. The important thing is what these individuals contribute to the workplace. Everybody has their own ideas, but they also have their own attitudes and learning experiences. Diversity is a big thing, too.
T: And why do people behave differently from each other at work?
P: Well, it comes down to a lot of different factors at the end of the day, but personality has a lot to do with it and so does gender. Men and women tend to behave differently to each other in the workplace.
T: What are the results of these differences between workers? Did you find any information?
P: Yes, I did. On the plus side, diversity encourages people to be creative thinkers, and that is considered to be valuable to the company. But on the negative side, these differences between people can also be sources of conflict between workers and this can lead to serious problems for management.
(Before you hear the rest of the conversation, you will have some time to look at questions 24 to 30 [20 seconds]. Now, listen and answer questions 24 to 30.)
T: Thanks, Paul. So, it seems that the two main points are that managers must identify individual talent and also use it. What about you, Julie? You were finding out about how managers identify talent in their workers. Is this something that is easy for managers to do?
J: Well, the emphasis in the workplace at the moment is firmly on teamwork and, in my opinion, individual work is neglected. From my point of view, managers should focus on identifying workers who are confident to take the lead and are not afraid of responsibility.
T: I agree, Julie, but managers seem to find the concept of encouraging individuality too hard.
J: True, but one of the most important tasks for a manager is to balance the needs of the individual on the one hand, and group cooperation on the other. Managers need to be creative in their thinking to avoid stress building up in that kind of situation.
T: So, what kind of employees do you feel managers should be looking for when they hire?
J: I think HR needs to look for applicants who can think outside the box – who can think for themselves. What they tend to do in reality when hiring, is to use those psychological tests to try to find out whether a candidate is a problem solver or will simply do as they are told. I'm not sure that those are the most important qualities.
T: I see. So you think being a team player is overrated?
J: No, it's not that. Everyone needs to learn the rules when they join a new organization. But what's missing is the incentive. Rewards given when employees show the type of behaviour that management values. The important thing is that these are given right at the beginning so that new employees learn immediately what is expected. Of course, the incentive should be something the employee actually wants – but not always money.
T: Right. And to come back to you, Paul. You mentioned that identifying good performers was vital. What else should managers be looking for?
P: Well, managers not only have to understand their employees, they also have to recognise the culture of the company. Creativity and individuality may not always be what the company values – in fact that type of behaviour might be considered very inappropriate in some companies.
P: Managing people isn't easy at all, particularly when there's a change of some kind. It can be tricky if the company has to increase profit, for example. In that situation, the manager might have to give priority to profit over the needs of the individual staff members.
T: Right. And that's what makes it difficult.
P: Yes, that's why managers must be able to deal with high stress levels. During a period of change, they should not only be thinking about the stress on their staff but also think about themselves.
T: Absolutely, so…