In this week’s 6 Minute English – What are managers for? transcript video:
We have all experienced working for a manager – or a boss. There are so many of them! In the UK there are over 5 million of them.
Rob and Finn discuss what managers are for, ask if there are too many of them and wonder if some job titles make people look like a manager – when really they are not.
This week’s question:
Who was the world’s highest paid football manager in 2012? Was it:
a) Sir Alex Ferguson
b) Jose Mourinho
c) Fabio Copello
Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English from bbclearningenglish.com. My name is Rob and I’m joined in the studio by Finn.
Finn: Hello. Today, we’re talking about managers – they are the people who boss us around – in other words, tell us what to do. Don’t they Rob?
Rob: Well not our manager Finn – he is an example of a perfect manager – he is inspirational – he is someone to look up to and admire!
Finn: Oh, yes, that’s right Rob – he might be listening! So apart from our manager, we are discussing the question: what are managers for? And we’ll be looking at some related words and phrases.
Rob: I imagine being a manager is a demanding and stressful job.
Finn: Yes but it sometimes comes with good financial reward – some managers do get paid well.
Rob: Yes that’s probably why one demanding and stressful job – managing a football team – comes with a big financial reward in many countries. And for today’s question do you know who was the world’s highest paid football manager in 2012? Was it:
a) Sir Alex Ferguson
b) Jose Mourinho
c) Fabio Capello
Finn: I think Ferguson or Mourinho. Mourinho was managing Real Madrid in 2012 so I’ll say him.
Rob: We’ll find out if you’re right at the end of the programme. But now let’s talk more about everyday managers – the sort we work for or with – people who run our departments, companies or schools and colleges.
Finn: There are a lot of them Rob. It’s been reported that in the UK there are now five million managers – that’s ten times as many as there were 100 years ago. So what are they all doing?
Rob: I suppose they’re making important decisions for their businesses, and have good organisational skills. They have to manage their staff too – that’s people like you and me Finn.
Finn: Ah yes, a good manager needs good people skills – that’s where they can talk and listen to a variety of people who all have different needs and abilities.
Rob: A good manager is also approachable and they deal with problems quickly and fairly too. What do you think makes a bad manager Finn?
Finn: One that is concerned about hierarchy – so that’s their position in the company. They want to show who is boss but actually they achieve very little. Rob, you’ve been a manager, what was it like for you?
Rob: I was more of a middle manager, so I reported to the senior manager but was managing a small team of producers. It was like spinning lots of plates – so trying to do many things at the same time, speaking to different people, organising the rota and attending many meetings.
Finn: All important things Rob. Maybe managers are necessary to keep everything working smoothly – and let’s face it, someone has to take charge and make decisions.
Rob: True. But many of us think we are managers because of our job title – that’s the name we are given at work. It’s something the author and journalist Lucy Kellaway has been speaking about on BBC radio.
Finn: See if you can hear some of the job titles she mentions here:
Lucy Kellaway, author:
Even if you don’t actually manage anyone, your title pretends you do. So a conductor is a train manager. An administrator is an office manager. A technician is an IT manager. We’ve all become obsessed with management.
Rob: So Lucy Kellaway says some job titles are false – they are made up and pretend to be a managerial title when they are not. For example, we heard a train manager…
Finn: That’s someone who sells tickets – we call them a conductor. And we heard an office manager…
Rob: That’s an administrator – someone dealing with paperwork and the day-to-day running of the office. And what about an IT manager?
Finn: That’s really a technician. Other job titles have also been exaggerated or changed so that people worried about their status can feel happier – titles like executive, director or principal.
Rob: We could argue that everyone’s job involves some kind of managing: I’m managing this programme by moving the faders in the studio and asking you to read the script.
Finn: So instead of your normal job title – producer – what job title could you give yourself?
Rob: I’m the director of programme engineering! How does that sound?
Finn: Or creative director? That is perhaps taking the definition of manager too far. If we end up having too many managers who is going to do all the real work? Me I expect!
Rob: There’s no time Finn, it’s time to reveal the answer to today’s question. Earlier I asked you if you knew who is the world’s highest paid football manager?
Finn: And I said Jose Mourinho.
Rob: And you were right! He earned over £12 million in 2012.
Finn: That is a lot. Maybe it’s time for me to work my way up the career ladder, get a better job and earn some serious money!
Rob: It’s time to go now but do join us again for another edition of 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. Bye!
Vocabulary and definitions
to boss you around: to tell you what to do
inspirational: making you feel enthusiastic and encouraged in what you are doing
financial rewards: money/ pay
organisational skills: ability to plan and make decisions so that things go well
people skills: ability to deal with people in a friendly and fair way that achieves good results
hierarchy: the way people are arranged in a company according to their importance
middle manager: person whose position is in the middle of the management structure at a company
job title: the name that is given to your role at work
train manager: someone who sells tickets and deals with passengers on a train
office manager: someone who looks after the day-to-day administration and running of the office
IT manager: someone who deals with computers and computer systems
career ladder: a series of jobs that a person does through their working life, starting with the lowest paid jobs with least responsibility, moving job by job to increasingly senior positions
6 Minute English: What are managers for? Transcript Video
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