Read an email managing the problems faced by a member of an international team.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.

Reading text

From: Jo Backhouse
To: Karl Anderson
Date: 17 October
Subject: Support for Judy

Dear Karl,

I received a call from Judy a couple of days ago to discuss some of the issues that she was having and I thought I'd give you a heads-up on what was said, seeing that you are Judy's project team leader.

Judy really enjoys working with you and the team and finds the project very interesting, but I think she's feeling a bit lost and struggling to see the big picture. It seems that she's been given a fair amount of autonomy to carry out the tasks that you've given her, and of course this level of delegation is not uncommon in your branch. But I believe in her Tokyo office, she is used to a bit more managerial direction and guidance and so is finding this international project quite daunting.

When I asked her about meeting her deadlines, she mentioned that due to the recent changes to the project timeline, her goalposts have been moved, and she doesn't seem to really understand why this has happened. Bearing in mind that she's also facing simultaneous deadlines from her department in Tokyo, we can presume that she might be feeling a bit stretched.

Looking ahead, I was wondering if we could make it easier for Judy by offering her more direction when setting her tasks, at least until she learns the ropes and gets used to working unsupervised. I think she'd also appreciate you giving her a clearer idea on how her role in the team fits into the overview of things. Do you think you could maybe outline the group and individual targets at your next team meeting and that way, everyone not only gets a reminder of the end goal, but each team member, including Judy, might have a more holistic view of the whole project?

I was also thinking it might help to touch base with her every so often to make sure that she's up to date with any changes to the overall plan of attack. In the meantime, I'll write to her manager in the Tokyo office and see how aware they are of the deadlines you've given her, and if they could in some way review her responsibilities and co-ordinate her tasks so that she doesn't constantly feel pulled in both directions.

Judy is an extremely conscientious worker and is eager to contribute positively to the team. Personally, I think she is someone with high potential and will be an asset to our international projects if properly mentored. I'm keen to know your thoughts on the matter and am open to any suggestions on how we could better support Judy so that she has a more smooth-sailing experience on the team.

Best regards,

Jo Backhouse

Head of Department
International Projects



Language level

Advanced: C1


Dear Team,
I'd like to mention something I've noticed in Advanced c1 reading course.Many times it's too difficult or even impossible for me to do correctly, or understand exactly, the Preparation part, with its short or general definitions about different meanings in words or situations.Ιt's like a ''brain teaser'' for me.But, if I've read the texts first and got their key context and the ''speach flow '', all seem to be easier, and then, I can do correctly the Preparation task , as it were a usual Task. What could you say?
Ever grateful,

Hello nikoslado,

The order of the tasks on our pages is not fixed. We recommend that you do the tasks in a certain order, but if you find it more useful to do them in a different order then of course you may.

The preparation tasks are generally designed to pre-teach some useful vocabulary in order to help you to understand the text better. If you move this task to later and do it after the reading then it becomes more a vocabulary test (how much of the vocabular you understood) than a pre-teaching tool (helping you to prepare for the text).



The LearnEnglish Team

I used to deal a problem at work with a cook when I worked on a vessel. The cook was a brand new person, and that shift was his first one on the vessel. He was a kind of serious person and asked for a bit of high quality etiquette whereas I was young and stubborn. Once, when I was getting food from trays, he asked me for telling him something appreciatively, but I did not and threw my dish to garbage. I had to be off that shift after that and write a self assessment letter to my boss to tell him what occurred. I have not known what was next till now, but I had to move to another shift and never saw the cook again.
I have wrote many emails to my bosses, even bombarding him, but I have never written a polite, good email like that one in this task. Technically, my job was a kind of simple one relating to machines, so I had not to write much without some reports. Also, my knowledge of writing was short to know how to structure a good email. There was a thought that if you don't know how to write, write it short or don't write at all, because what you wrote could be a good proof at sometime.
I think writing an email to manage a problem as one in this task is very useful. Writing an email, we will be likely to think more carefully about issues and describe them with more details that we can't have with conversations. Besides, by emails, deals between senders and receivers are settled, that they can reread and follow mentioned information to work. The information should be clearly written, well structured and often gotten from good thinkers who know what should write and how to write, maybe managerial people.

In this sentence :

"When I asked her about meeting her deadlines, she mentioned that due to the recent changes to the project timeline, her goalposts have been moved, and she doesn't seem to really understand why this has happened. "

Shouldn't we use past-perfect "Had been moved and had happened" and past simple " she didn't seem to really unerstand"


Hello RobRoy,
Both forms are possible here. In reported speech, we often move the verb form one step into the past as compared with the original direct speech. However, if the situation is still true, then we can leave the verb form in the present.
For example:
>>Direct speech<<
"I love you."
>>Reported speech<<
She said she loved me. [maybe she still loves me, maybe not]
She said she loves me. [and she still loves me]

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks you for the explanation.

No, I haven't wrote a letter like that before. The letter is written very cool. The way all these idioms are used very naturel.

I would like to thank everyone in LearnEnglish team. It is a helpful and enjoyable site to learn English.
I have noticed that there is a missing word ( I ) in this sentence ( I'm keen to know your thoughts on the matter and am open to any suggestions on how ...)

Hello Ola Jamal

Thank you for telling us about this! It is actually correct -- it is OK to leave out subject pronouns in situations like this one, where it is clear that who the subject of the verb is.

All the best
The LearnEnglish Team

this is very helpful task.