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Indispensable Employees?

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Have you ever had a manager who wanted to control everything? Have you ever had a manager who always offered advice, even when you didn't need it? To senior-level executives, it may seem like this sort of person is very important. It may seem like his staff would struggle without his help. However, it's an example of ineffective management, and it's surprisingly common. Almost as equally common, but which is an even greater problem, is a manager who causes problems in order to look like a hero when he fixes them.

For example, at a clinic in Pittsburgh, insurance checks weren't mailed as scheduled. The manager discovered a problem with the computer system, which she then fixed. However, there wasn't really a problem with the computers. She had instead printed the checks, placed them in her desk, and made up the computer problem. She had wanted praise and recognition from her bosses.

In this case, the manager acted deliberately. In general, though, people's actions aren't planned. Some employees get bored and others need to fix problems. As a result, these people unconsciously start fires. For example, they may not give important information, may not send out emails or schedule meetings, or even give tasks to people who can't do the job well.

As a result, managers should improve teamwork. Managers need good communication skills too. Lastly, managers must understand the needs and personalities of their employees.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. My boss is good at what he/she does.
  2. In the past, I have worked under a terrible boss.
  3. I have worked with someone who has caused problems.
  4. I have worked with someone who has deliberately caused problems.
  5. In the past month, I have caused at least one problem at work.

True or False?:Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.

  1. Employees who cause problems seem to be quite common.
  2. The manager in Pittsburgh broke the computer system and then fixed it.
  3. These people's actions are always planned.
  4. Employees cause problems because it's fun.
  5. According to the article, managers should encourage good communication.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Have you ever worked for (or with) someone that caused problems in the office?
  2. What would you do if you worked for (or with) someone as described in the article?
  3. How common a problem do you think this is in your home country? Please explain.
  4. What kind of problems are there in your home country with regards to work?
  5. What other problems have you experienced in the professional world?

Google Search: Type "workplace" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:

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